Art and Artists in Fiction

I’m currently reading a book by Christopher Moore entitled Sacre Bleu: A Comedy ‘Art and started thinking about other novels that I have read with art and artists as the subject matter. I appreciate art and love learning about art and even sometimes making art, but I am by no means an expert on the subject. Working in the Art Division has helped me gain more knowledge but so has reading fictionalized accounts of art and artists like in Moore’s book. Yes it is a farce, but the characters are real artists (Henri Toulouse-Lautrec and Vincent van Gogh among many,) the paintings do exist and the history of art during the time when the novel is set is accurate. The story is fun and it makes the artists seem like they are real people, not just dead artists. There are many writers that have found inspiration in art, artists and often times one particular work of art.

Tracy Chevalier has found success with Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Lady and the Unicorn. Both books with art themes; the former’s inspiration being the Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer’s great enigmatic artwork of the 17th-century and the latter celebrates the lavish French tapestries of the late 1400’s.

Susan Vreeland is another author who has been inspired by art. In her novel Clara and Mr. Tiffany Louis Comfort Tiffany makes his debut with a luminous exhibition of innovative stained-glass windows, which he hopes will honor his family business and earn him a place on the international artistic stage. But behind the scenes in his New York studio is the freethinking Clara Driscoll, head of his women’s division. Publicly unrecognized by Tiffany, Clara conceives of and designs nearly all of the iconic leaded-glass lamps for which he is long remembered. Her debut, The Girl in Hyacinth Blue, is not just for art lovers; read it if you enjoy love, human drama, and American cultural history.

For a full list of works of fiction about art, paintings, artists, sculptors, painters,etc. you can go to Goodreads.-JS


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