The Vanishing Velázquez

The Vanishing Velázquez

A 19th-Century Bookseller's Obsession With A Lost Masterpiece

Book - 2016
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From one of the world?s most expert art critics, the incredible true story?part art history and part mystery?of a Velazquez portrait that went missing and the obsessed nineteenth-century bookseller determined to prove he had found it. When John Snare, a nineteenth-century provincial bookseller, traveled to a liquidation auction, he stumbled on a vivid portrait of King Charles I that defied any explanation. The Charles of the painting was young?too young to be king?and yet also too young to be painted by the Flemish painter to which the work was attributed. Snare had found something incredible?but what?
Publisher: New York : Scribner, 2016.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781476762159
Characteristics: viii, 296 pages, 10 color plates : illustrations ; 24 cm

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SRZ37
Jun 26, 2017

This is a feast for art lovers, a biography of the great Spanish artist Diego Velazquez (1599-1660), intense description and criticism of his works, plus the added intrigue of a supposed lost early Velazquez painting of Charles I, painted in 1623 when Charles spent a brief time in Madrid at the court of Philip IV, where Velazquez was both court painter and government functionary. It's also the story of John Snare, an antiquarian printer and book dealer, who finds the painting in mid-19th century England and spends the rest of his life fighting to prove it's a genuine Velazquez, dying in poverty in New York City. This feast of a book can be hard to read and make sense of sometimes because of its inter-threading of Velazquez biography, art analysis, Hapsburg history and politics. But if you like a good story, it's worth it.

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