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Set against the dramatic backdrop of the “golden age” of Dutch culture, the story of one of the world’s most beloved—and most elusive—painters.
In the seventeenth century, industry and commerce thrived in the Dutch city of Delft, as did art and culture. In 1653, the twenty-one-year-old son of an innkeeper, the artist Jan Vermeer, registered as a master painter with the city’s Guild. Vermeer married well, had many children, and enjoyed a respectable local reputation as a painter until his death in 1675. But it was not until the mid-nineteenth century that his genius was widely appreciated. Today, Vermeer’s thirty-five paintings are regarded as masterpieces.
In Vermeer, Anthony Bailey presents a compelling portrait of Vermeer’s life and character, long lost in history.…[more]
Joseph Mallord William Turner, Britain’s greatest and most mysterious artist, was the son of a Convent Garden barber and a woman who died in Bethlehem mental hospital. During his lifetime (1775-1851), Turner achieved fame and fortune for a range of work encompassing seascape and landscape, immensely powerful oil paintings and intimate watercolors. His friend and colleague C. R. Leslie remembered him thus: “Turner was short and stout, and had a sturdy, sailor-like walk. He might be taken for the captain of a steamboat at first glance; but a second would find more in his face than belongs in any ordinary mind. There was the peculiar keenness of expression in his eye that is only seen in men of constant habits of observation.”
For this new biography, the first comprehensive narrative of Turner’s life in a generation, Anthony Bailey has searched through the archives, studied the scholarly literature, made use of much research done in the last thirty years, and looked at…[more]