As this wonderful holiday approaches and the excitement starts to take over, you can’t help but anticipate the gathering of your dearest friends and family members, everyone coming together to eat splendid food, laugh until their cheeks are sore, share stories about the simple joys of life, and most important be thankful for what we have.
One of my simple joys in life is a good book. During the holidays I get excited about having the rare quiet moment outside the office where I can sit by the fire, wrapped in a cozy blanket, and read an unforgettable book. And so if you are like me and plan to have a relaxing holiday suffused with enthralling stores, I have a few art historical novels that are sure to educate you and entertain you all at once.
Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier
Girl with a Pearl Earring is a novel about one of the most loved paintings in the world. This book answers the mystery everyone wants to know when admiring the portrait of the beautiful female- who is this girl? The Dutch girl is a house maid for the famous painter Johannes Vermeer, and after admiring her furthermore Vermeer starts to add her into his paintings.
My Name is Red by Orhan Pamuk
My personal favorite, this historical novel takes place in Istanbul during the reign of Ottoman Sultan Murat II. A time when miniature paintings were dying, and the influence of Renaissance infidel art takes over- with the Renaissance art changes forever away from the art of the East. This novel incorporates mystery, love, and the incredible power of art.
The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco
The Name of the Rose is a murder mystery written by a medievalist. In order to solve the mystery of the novel one of the characters gathers a collection of evidence in which includes coded manuscripts. While reading this novel you will get an insight to the detail of medieval manuscripts from the time.
Once you have finished the novel you can watch the movie by Jean-Jacques Annaud which features Sean Connery and Christina Slater.
Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
Pillars of the Earth is a novel set around the building of a cathedral in the 12th century England. During this time in history the development of Gothic architecture takes over the previous style of the Romanesque. This novel takes you back in history to the time when the greatest gothic cathedral in history was being constructed.
Artemisia by Alexandra Lapierre
This novel takes place during the time of master artists such as Caravaggio, Velasquez, and Van Dyck. It is about the 17 year old daughter of the artist Orazio Gentileschi, Artemisia. Artemisia was striving to be an artist herself which was very uncommon at the time. While working alongside the artists Agostino Tassi, Artemisia became his victim of rape. The rape caused a lot of controversy during the time; therefore causing Artemisia to became the talk of the town, and put her in the public eye. Through scandal, love and heartbreak, this novel will take you on a journey of the life of a young girl who simply wanted to be an artist.
Another novel that has a great movie to follow, watch the movie Artemisia directed by Agnes Merlot.
I Am Madame X by Gioia Diliberto
I Am Madame X is about the famous painting Madame X by John Singer Sargent. When the artist revealed this painting for the first time at the Paris Salon in 1884, it caused a tremendous amount of controversy. This new pose and provocative attire was like nothing Paris had ever seen before. This novel will take you into the life of the portrait sitter, Virginie Gautreau. Virginie was an American known for her beauty, she fled to Paris in search of a life of glamor but instead her sultry aurora caused her to instantly become the talk of the time and a victim of Paris gossip. This novel will take you through the struggle of the artist and prove the power art had on the people of the time.
The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone
The Agony and the Ecstasy is a biographical novel about Michelangelo. The writer takes you back in time during the unstable Renaissance, a time when the all so powerful de’ Medici family took over, and the world’s greatest artist was revealed.
I hope you enjoy my selection of novels. If you have read and or are reading any please share your comments, we would love to hear what you have to say.