Painting

Told with consummate skill by the writer of the bestselling, award-winning A Civil Action, The Lost Painting is a remarkable synthesis of history and detective story. 

An Italian village on a hilltop near the Adriatic coast, a decaying palazzo facing the sea, and in the basement, cobwebbed and dusty, lit by a single bulb, an archive unknown to scholars. Here, a young graduate student from Rome, Francesca Cappelletti, makes a discovery that inspires a search for a work of art of incalculable value, a painting lost for almost two centuries.

The artist was Caravaggio, a master of the Italian Baroque. He was a genius, a revolutionary painter, and a man beset by personal demons. Four hundred years ago, he drank and brawled in the taverns and streets of Rome, moving from one rooming house to another, constantly in and out of jail, all the while painting works of transcendent emotional and visual power. He rose from obscurity to fame and wealth, but success didn’t alter his violent temperament. His rage finally led him to commit murder, forcing him to flee Rome a hunted man. He died young, alone, and under strange circumstances.

Caravaggio scholars estimate that between sixty and eighty of his works are in existence today. Many others–no one knows the precise number–have been lost to time. Somewhere, surely, a masterpiece lies forgotten in a storeroom, or in a small parish church, or hanging above a fireplace, mistaken for a mere copy.

Prizewinning author Jonathan Harr embarks on an spellbinding journey to discover the long-lost painting known as The Taking of Christ–its mysterious fate and the circumstances of its disappearance have captivated Caravaggio devotees for years. After Francesca Cappelletti stumbles across a clue in that dusty archive, she tracks the painting across a continent and hundreds of years of history. But it is not until she meets Sergio Benedetti, an art restorer working in Ireland, that she finally manages to assemble all the pieces of the puzzle.

Praise for The Lost Painting

“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. . . . If you're a sucker for Rome, and for dusk . . . [you'll] enjoy Harr's more clearly reported details about life in the city.”—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
#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A vibrant collection of oil paintings and stories by President George W. Bush honoring the sacrifice and courage of America’s military veterans.
 
With Forewords by former First Lady Laura Bush and General Peter Pace, 16th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Growing out of President Bush’s own outreach and the ongoing work of the George W. Bush Institute's Military Service Initiative, Portraits of Courage brings together sixty-six full-color portraits and a four-panel mural painted by President Bush of members of the United States military who have served our nation with honor since 9/11—and whom he has come to know personally.  
 
Our men and women in uniform have faced down enemies, liberated millions, and in doing so showed the true compassion of our nation. Often, they return home with injuries—both visible and invisible—that intensify the challenges of transitioning into civilian life. In addition to these burdens, research shows a civilian-military divide. Seventy-one percent of Americans say they have little understanding of the issues facing veterans, and veterans agree: eighty-four percent say that the public has "little awareness" of the issues facing them and their families.
 
Each painting in this meticulously produced hardcover volume is accompanied by the inspiring story of the veteran depicted, written by the President. Readers can see the faces of those who answered the nation’s call and learn from their bravery on the battlefield, their journeys to recovery, and the continued leadership and contributions they are making as civilians. It is President Bush’s desire that these stories of courage and resilience will honor our men and women in uniform, highlight their family and caregivers who bear the burden of their sacrifice, and help Americans understand how we can support our veterans and empower them to succeed. 
 
 
President Bush will donate his net author proceeds from PORTRAITS OF COURAGE to the George W. Bush Presidential Center, a non-profit organization whose Military Service Initiative works to ensure that post-9/11 veterans and their families make successful transitions to civilian life with a focus on gaining meaningful employment and overcoming the invisible wounds of war.
Whistler's Gentle Art, a classic in the literature of insult and denigration, might well be subtitled "The Autobiography of a Hater," for it contains the deadly sarcasm and stinging remarks of one of the wittiest men of the nineteenth century. Whistler not only refused to tolerate misunderstanding by critics and the so-called art-loving public — but launched vicious counterattacks as well. His celebrated passages-at-arms with Oscar Wilde and Swinburne, the terse and penetrating "letters to the editor," his rebuttals to attacks from critics, and biting marginal notes to contemptuous comments on his paintings and hostile reviews (which are also reprinted) are all part of this record of the artist's vendettas.
Whistler's most famous battle began when critic John Ruskin saw one of the artist's "Nocturnes" exhibited in Grosvenor Gallery. "I have seen, and heard," wrote Ruskin, "much of cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face." Whistler was incensed with this criticism, and initiated the famous libel case "Whistler vs. Ruskin." Extracts from the resultant trial record are among the highlights of this book, with Whistler brilliantly annihilating his Philistine critics, but winning only a farthing in damages.
The Gentle Art, designed by Whistler himself, is a highly entertaining account of personal revenges, but it is also an iconoclast's plea for a new and better attitude toward painting. As a historical document, it is the best statement of the new aesthetics versus the old guard academics, and it helped greatly in shaping the modern feeling toward art.
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