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Publisher Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
A Wall Street Journal Top 10 Nonfiction Book of 2016

“As compelling and entertaining as a detective novel” (The Economist), the incredible true story—part art history and part mystery—of a Velázquez 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 found 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 whom the piece was attributed. Snare had found something incredible—but what?

His research brought him to Diego Velázquez, whose long-lost portrait of Prince Charles has eluded art experts for generations. Velázquez (1599–1660) was the official painter of the Madrid court, during the time the Spanish Empire teetered on the edge of collapse. When Prince Charles of England—a man wealthy enough to help turn Spain’s fortunes—proposed a marriage with a Spanish princess, he allowed just a few hours to sit for his portrait, and Snare believed only Velázquez could have been the artist of choice. But in making his theory public, Snare was ostracized and forced to choose, like Velázquez himself, between art and family.

A thrilling investigation into the complex meaning of authenticity and the unshakable determination that drives both artists and collectors of their work, The Vanishing Velázquez is a “brilliant” (The Atlantic) tale of mystery and detection, of tragic mishaps and mistaken identities, of class, politics, snobbery, crime, and almost farcical accident that reveals how one historic masterpiece was crafted and lost, and how far one man would go to redeem it. Laura Cumming’s book is “sumptuous...A gleaming work of someone at the peak of her craft” (The New York Times).

GENRE
Biographies & Memoirs
RELEASED
2016
April 12
LANGUAGE
EN
English
LENGTH
304
Pages
PUBLISHER
Scribner
SELLER
SIMON AND SCHUSTER DIGITAL SALES INC
SIZE
63.3
MB

Customer Reviews

superbellsam ,

Awesome story!

I love history but can never wrap my head around books relating to art. Cummings weaves a wonderful narrative between the two: interspersing her love of art throughout a fascinating detective story set across five centuries and three entirely different time periods. The only common thread - the great master Velazquez and his incredible visual and artistic gifts. Probably the only book about art I'll ever read in my life but I am so glad I did!!

More Books by Laura Cumming