The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece

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Product Details

$18.00  $16.74
Random House Publishing Group
Publish Date
5.34 X 8.09 X 0.72 inches | 0.56 pounds

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About the Author

Jonathan Harr is the author of the national bestseller A Civil Action, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction. He is a former staff writer at the New England Monthly and has written for The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine. He lives and works in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he has taught nonfiction writing at Smith College.

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"Jonathan Harr has gone to the trouble of writing what will probably be a bestseller . . . rich and wonderful . . .in truth, the book reads better than a thriller because, unlike a lot of best-selling nonfiction authors who write in a more or less novelistic vein, Harr doesn't plump up his tale. He almost never foreshadows, doesn't implausibly reconstruct entire conversations and rarely throws in litanies of clearly conjectured or imagined details just for color's sake. . . . If you're a sucker for Rome, and for dusk . . . [you'll] enjoy Harr's more clearly reported details about life in the city, as when--one of my favorite moments in the whole book--Francesca and another young colleague try to calm their nerves before a crucial meeting with a forbidding professor by eating gelato. And who wouldn't in Italy? The pleasures of travelogue here are incidental but not inconsiderable."--The New York Times Book Review

"Jonathan Harr has taken the story of the lost painting, and woven from it a deeply moving narrative about history, art and taste--and about the greed, envy, covetousness and professional jealousy of people who fall prey to obsession. It is as perfect a work of narrative nonfiction as you could ever hope to read."--The Economist

"Harr's lean, observant prose provides sensory intimacy without sensory overload. . . . The result is a revealing portrait of a world seldom seen by ordinary folks. . . . At its best, Harr's magnetic storytelling recalls Cappelletti's first encounter with the work of Caravaggio. To her, his paintings seemed 'to pulse with heat and life, capturing a moment in time like a scene glimpsed through a window.'"--The Washington Post Book World

"[The Lost Painting] reads like a whodunit, romantic thriller and scholarly monograph rolled into one. . . . A colorful cast of real-life charmers, dreamers and oddballs worthy of a novelist's vivid imagination."--Baltimore Sun

"With The Lost Painting . . . [Harr] bestows on it all of his narrative gifts. . . . Cappelletti . . . notes that 'nowadays almost every art historian with an interest in the seicento [17th century] had a Caravaggio article in the works, and museums everywhere wanted to put on a Caravaggio exhibition. . . .' She called it 'the Caravaggio disease.' . . . Readers of The Lost Painting may well find themselves similarly afflicted."--Newsday

"Riveting . . . Harr [is] a consummate storyteller. . . . An effortlessly educational and marvelously entertaining mix of art history and scholarly sleuthing."--Booklist

"Part detective story, part treasure hunt, this book takes us from dusty basement archives to the ornate galleries of Europe's finest art museums. . . . Harr provides a fascinating glimpse into the insular world of art history and restoration. . . . Art lovers and mystery fans should find plenty to ponder and enjoy."--Kirkus Reviews