From artworks to artists to art thefts.
♦ Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Based on a painting of the same name by Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer, Girl with a Pearl Earring offers more than a glimpse into the life and work of the famous artist. A historical figure shrouded in mystery, Vermeer’s story is given a voice in this novel through an unexpected narrator. The sixteen-year-old Griet is originally hired as a housemaid in the painter’s house, buther love for artand her increasing closeness to her master bring unexpected consequences. The novel depicts not only Griet’s journey, but also explores the relationship between Vermeer and his family and patron. The life of an artist, easy it is not.
♦ My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
On the surface, My Name is Red might look like a regular historical whodunit dressed in slightly more exotic colors—in this case,16th century Istanbul under the reign of Sultan Murat III of the Ottoman empire. Yet the first chapter will immediately prove you wrong. The novel opens with a murder with the victim himself taking the chair of the first narrator (yes, from the grave). Before his death, he was one of many well-known artists employed by the Sultan on a great project: a book celebrating the Sultan’s life, illuminated in the European style. A thoroughly unorthodox project to begin with, its continuance is further threatened by the artist’s sudden disappearance. As the story unfolds, the book proves itself to be more than just a murder mystery, floweringamidst religious intrigues, the clashing of cultures, and, ultimately, the triumph of art.
♦ The Art Forger by Barbara A. Saphiro
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum theft in 1990 remains one of the most infamous—and successful—art heists in history. Two men, posing as police officers, managed to make away with $500 million worth of artworks. The Art Forger takes place twenty-five years later, when one of the stolen Degas paintings arrives at the studio of a struggling young artist.Tired of making a living by reproducing famous artworks, Claire Roth enters into an agreement with a powerful gallery owner, Aiden Markel. She will forge the Degas painting, and in exchange, he will host an exclusive exhibition for her works in his well-respected gallery. Once she begins the work, however, Claire begins to suspect that the painting itself might not be what it seems.