Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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*****= An all-time favorite
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***The Lost Painting

The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece

by Jonathan Harr 

Reviewed December 17, 2006.
Random House, New York, 2005.  271 pages.

The Lost Painting tells the story of the discovery of an original painting by Caravaggio, The Taking of the Christ.  Many copies existed, but no one had found a painting with evidence that Caravaggio himself had painted it.

First, we learn about two graduate students who got an opportunity to research in the archives of a family which Caravaggio had worked for.  They got an important lead on the painting, but then the trail vanished.

Later, we learn about a restorer who was asked to restore an old painting from a monastery, and how he deduced this was the missing masterpiece.

The story is somewhat slow and meandering, weaving in details about the lives of all the people involved, including Caravaggio himself.  However, it’s surprisingly absorbing.  It gives you a glimpse of the world of art history, and it’s amazing to read how everything came together to verify this painting was the original.

Copyright © 2006 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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