Description : An epic quest exposes hidden truths about Leonardo da Vinci’s Salvator Mundi, the recently discovered masterpiece that sold for $450 million—and might not be the real thing. In 2017, Leonardo da Vinci’s small oil painting the Salvator Mundi was sold at auction. In the words of its discoverer, the image of Christ as savior of the world is “the rarest thing on the planet.” Its $450 million sale price also makes it the world’s most expensive painting. For two centuries, art dealers had searched in vain for the Holy Grail of art history: a portrait of Christ as the Salvator Mundi by Leonardo da Vinci. Many similar paintings of greatly varying quality had been executed by Leonardo’s assistants in the early sixteenth century. But where was the original by the master himself? In November 2017, Christie’s auction house announced they had it. But did they? The Last Leonardo tells a thrilling tale of a spellbinding icon invested with the power to make or break the reputations of scholars, billionaires, kings, and sheikhs. Ben Lewis takes us to Leonardo’s studio in Renaissance Italy; to the court of Charles I and the English Civil War; to Amsterdam, Moscow, and New Orleans; to the galleries, salerooms, and restorer’s workshop as the painting slowly, painstakingly emerged from obscurity. The vicissitudes of the highly secretive art market are charted across six centuries. It is a twisting tale of geniuses and oligarchs, double-crossings and disappearances, in which we’re never quite certain what to believe. Above all, it is an adventure story about the search for lost treasure, and a quest for the truth. Praise for The Last Leonardo “The story of the world’s most expensive painting is narrated with great gusto and formidably researched detail in Ben Lewis’s book. . . . Lewis’s probings of the Salvator’s backstory raise questions about its historical status and visibility, and these lead in turn to the fundamental question of whether the painting is really an autograph work by Leonardo.”—Charles Nicholl, The Guardian “As the art historian and critic Ben Lewis shows in his forensically detailed and gripping investigation into the history, discovery and sales of the painting, establishing the truth is like nailing down jelly.”— Michael Prodger, The Sunday Times
Description : From Marilyn to Mussolini, people captivate people. A&E's "Biography, " best-selling autobiographies, and biographical novels testify to the popularity of the genre. But where does one begin? Collected here are descriptions and evaluations of over 10,000 biographical works, including books of fact and fiction, biographies for young readers, and documentaries and movies, all based on the lives of over 500 historical figures from scientists and writers, to political and military leaders, to artists and musicians. Each entry includes a brief profile, autobiographical and primary sources, and recommended works. Short reviews describe the pertinent biographical works and offer insight into the qualities and special features of each title, helping readers to find the best biographical material available on hundreds of fascinating individuals.
Description : The unforgettable, unknown history of colors and the vivid stories behind them in a beautiful multi-colored volume The Secret Lives of Color tells the unusual stories of seventy-five fascinating shades, dyes and hues. From blonde to ginger, the brown that changed the way battles were fought to the white that protected against the plague, Picasso's blue period to the charcoal on the cave walls at Lascaux, acid yellow to kelly green, and from scarlet women to imperial purple, these surprising stories run like a bright thread throughout history. In this book, Kassia St. Clair has turned her lifelong obsession with colors and where they come from (whether Van Gogh's chrome yellow sunflowers or punk's fluorescent pink) into a unique study of human civilization. Across fashion and politics, art and war, the secret lives of color tell the vivid story of our culture. “A mind-expanding tour of the world without leaving your paintbox. Every color has a story, and here are some of the most alluring, alarming, and thought-provoking.” —Simon Garfield, author of Just My Type
Description : A New York Times Bestseller For almost a century, Americans have been losing their hearts and losing their minds in an insatiable love affair with the American musical. It often begins in childhood in a darkened theater, grows into something more serious for high school actors, and reaches its passionate zenith when it comes time for love, marriage, and children, who will start the cycle all over again. Americans love musicals. Americans invented musicals. Americans perfected musicals. But what, exactly, is a musical? In The Secret Life of the American Musical, Jack Viertel takes them apart, puts them back together, sings their praises, marvels at their unflagging inventiveness, and occasionally despairs over their more embarrassing shortcomings. In the process, he invites us to fall in love all over again by showing us how musicals happen, what makes them work, how they captivate audiences, and how one landmark show leads to the next—by design or by accident, by emulation or by rebellion—from Oklahoma! to Hamilton and onward. Structured like a musical, The Secret Life of the American Musical begins with an overture and concludes with a curtain call, with stops in between for “I Want” songs, “conditional” love songs, production numbers, star turns, and finales. The ultimate insider, Viertel has spent three decades on Broadway, working on dozens of shows old and new as a conceiver, producer, dramaturg, and general creative force; he has his own unique way of looking at the process and at the people who collaborate to make musicals a reality. He shows us patterns in the architecture of classic shows and charts the inevitable evolution that has taken place in musical theater as America itself has evolved socially and politically. The Secret Life of the American Musical makes you feel as though you’ve been there in the rehearsal room, in the front row of the theater, and in the working offices of theater owners and producers as they pursue their own love affair with that rare and elusive beast—the Broadway hit.
Description : The plans are drawn up, a site is chosen, foundations are dug: a building comes into being with the expectation that it will stay put and stay for ever. But a building is a capricious thing: it is inhabited and changed, and its existence is a tale of constant and curious transformation. In this radical reimagining of architectural history, Edward Hollis tells the stories of thirteen buildings, beginning with the 'once upon a time' when they first appeared, through the years of appropriation, ruin and renovation, and ending with a temporary 'ever after'. In spell-binding prose, Hollis follows his buildings through time and space to reveal the hidden histories of the Parthenon and the Alhambra, Gloucester Cathedral and Haghia Sofia, Sans Souci and Notre Dame de Paris, Malatesta's Tempio and Loreto, and explores landmarks of our own time, from Hulme's legendary crescents to the Berlin Wall and the fibre-glass theme parks of Las Vegas.