The Eye: An Insider's Memoir of Masterpieces, Money, and the Magnetism of Art
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About the Author
Philippe Costamagna is a specialist in sixteenth-century Italian painting and director of the Musee des Beaux-Arts in Ajaccio, Corsica. He is the author of a book on the Florentine Renaissance painter Pontormo.
"Exhilarating and informative ... Mr. Costamagna is catholic in his enthusiasm and is open to the new. He tells delicious stories."
--The Wall Street Journal
"An informative yet gripping and seductively gossipy memoir ... pulls back the curtain on connoisseurship at its most powerful ... Costamagna whirls his reader through a world where the forgotten masterpieces of provincial museums matter more than the known stars of grand institutions, and where a Raphael comes to light in the apartment of a Strasbourg taxi driver rather than the palace of a duchess."
--The Financial Times
"Rollicking and erudite ... Costamagna's candor and well-earned hubris make for an entertaining foray into the high-stakes art world."
"Who decides what's real and what's fake? How do they determine it? Who can be trusted? In an anecdote- and evidence-rich book, Italian Renaissance art historian Philippe Costamagna reveals how he unravels truth and fiction through close observation, teamwork, accident, and good fortune. Here is a brave, hearty defense of connoisseurship presented in a straightforward, frank, and even generous manner--and without jargon."
"Page-turner ... Lifting the veil on the shadowy world of art insiders, Costamagna delivers an entertaining reflection on the dealers, devotees, and decision makers who define the art market."
--Town & Country Magazine
"A marvelous storyteller and gifted writer, Costamagna describes ... [how] ultimately art matters, he claims, not because it teaches us about social history or other cultures, but because it is the source of ecstatic aesthetic pleasure."
"Philippe Costamagna offers an intimate view of the art world's most compelling figures--the connoisseurs who combine antenna-tingling intuition with encyclopedic erudition and immaculate visual recall. We also get a valuable and highly entertaining lesson in art history, deliciously spiced with gossip, anecdotes and art world politics."
--Ross King, author of Brunelleschi's Dome and Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling
"Enthralling ... A young art historian seeing what fun Costamagna has had in this field may feel inspired to follow."
--James Stourton, author of Kenneth Clark: Life, Art and Civilization and former chairman of Sotheby's UK in The Spectator
"Costamagna fills his lushly entertaining book with a delicious variety of anecdotes ... As an insider, Costamagna has much to convey to the public and even experts."
--Art History Today
"This exuberant, astute and vividly written account of the world of the art connoisseur is by turns autobiographical and historical, scholarly and anecdotal, offering a unique insight into a fascinating though often concealed realm, inhabited by larger-than-life characters, not least the author himself."
--John Brewer, author of The American Leonardo and The Pleasures of the Imagination
"Gives thoughtful consideration to how a keen visual sense plays out in various fields -- art history, photography, cinema, fashion ... One comes away feeling somewhat re-sensitized to beauty and somewhat nostalgic for an era when museums weren't the selfie-stick madhouses they are today."
--The Washington Post
"Philippe Costamagna is a respected art historian of substantial accomplishments ... One would be hard put to find Costamagna's position expressed in such forceful terms in the realm of contemporary art criticism."
--The New Criterion
"The Eye offers something for a variety of audiences ... The author's candor and wit help the reader along the way, but his real secret is taking his reader seriously."
"An insider's look at the dramatic world of attributing and dating art ... This art world Sherlock Holmes travels the globe ... Delightful."
"By placing connoisseurship back at the very center of art history, Philippe Costamagna weaves a fascinating tale and brilliantly highlights the enduring power of intuition and expertise in the visual arts today."
--Salvatore Settis, chairman of the Louvre Museum Scientific Council and author of If Venice Dies
"A must read for every art lover. Highly entertaining. A fascinating look into the intricate workings of the art world."
--Ken Perenyi, author of Caveat Emptor: The Secret Life of an American Art Forger
"Initiates us with quiet elegance ... part historical essay, part autobiographical account, enriched by a thousand anecdotes, The Eye follows its meandering path to our great delight."
"Passionate and often funny ... This work is very rich."
--La Tribune de l'Art
"As thrilling as a police novel."
"Chapters full of tasty anecdotes."