BOOK REVIEW: THE LOST PAINTING
From the crowded streets of Central Rome, to libraries in London and Scotland, to a small art gallery in Dublin, a group of art researchers and restoration experts all share a fascination with Caravaggio, a rather unlikely candidate for immortality. He lived in Italy in the 17th century, kept company with ruffians and prostitutes, disregarded sanitary niceties, and eventually died as a result of injuries inflicted on him by the contemporary version of a street gang.
Yet the handful of paintings attributed to him create lifelong fascinations for those who study art, and the challenges to locate and authenticate them all have occupied researchers for decades.
Harr's book follows the quest to locate and identify "The Taking of Christ" a vivid work portraying Judas approaching Jesus with his telltale kiss, while Roman soldiers surround them.
A reader needs to know almost nothing about art to enjoy Harr's relating of the search. The best qualities of suspense literature are here in spades, and the steps followed by researchers and restorers rival the best police procedural and crime scene analysis tales.
There is a happy ending waiting, but not all enigmas are solved.
REVIEWED BY WOODSTOCK
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