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Thursday, January 29, 2009

Caravaggio's Angel by Ruth Brandon

Whoa... I've never feel so ignorant reading a book until this.
Dr. Reggie Lee, a new arrival at the National Gallery, is organizing a small exhibition around three Caravaggio paintings depicting "St. Cecilia and the Angel". One is at the Getty, one at the Louvre, and she assumes it won't be too hard to track down the third. But inexplicable obstacles keep getting in her way -- and then, unexpectedly, a fourth Caravaggio turns up. One of them must be a fake. But which?When people start to die, it's horribly clear that someone doesn't want Reggie's show to go ahead. Why, she can't imagine. But her career is at stake, and she's damned if she'll let herself be intimidated by these unseen forces. So Reggie sets out to discover the truth, on a trail that leads her from Surrealist suicides to Italian art dealers, from 17th-century painting techniques to modern French politics. By the end it seems as though nobody in the world of international art can truly be deemed incorruptible -- perhaps not even Reggie herself.
Ok. When I got passed reading the first chapter I know this books will be a hard read and that I need to do a lot of research so I can keep up on what the heck they are talking about. The only classical painters that I know are the big ones, because, well they are highly studied. Monet, Picasso, Klimt, Von Gogh, Da Vinci, et al. So it's safe to say that I don't know much about the art world. Reading this isn't the same as reading the Da Vinci code. Dan Brown was very Layman's term (no pun intended, as It was educational in some sort) compared to Ruth Brandon, that's for damn sure.I have heard of Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio before because one of his painting is housed at the Getty, I think it is/was The Supper at Emmaus but I have never paid so much attention to him. So anyway at the end of chapter one I found myself closing the book and googl-ing him. Then I've looked at the "St. Cecilia and the Angel" painting online for a good 15 minutes to make sure that it's well embedded in my mind. I'm telling you I've never scratched my head so much this was harder than solving a physics problem. Art and politics entwined is very complex. I am very fond of the main character Reggie, she have that kick ass attitude and very likeable personality and she's too damn knowledgeable on the subject matter. Even though I know that is what's supposed to be expected because after all she is a curator. I had come across to a lot of obstacles reading this book but that doesn't change that fact that I was very fascinated with the secret world of art treasure. The whole plot was endearing too (amateur art detective kind of deal). The part that I got so annoyed was the french lingo, I feel that it was rather pretentious that Ms. Brandon has to do that, I mean seriously after reading Partir, c'est mourir un peu, Martyr, c'est pourir un peu; (and other french phrases) I have to set my itouch wifi's setting to find the meaning. Then later after a chapter I found the meaning. I mean there must be a better way of giving the book it's international flavor. That part kind of kills the excitement a little bit.

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