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The Vanishing Man By Laura Cumming

The Vanishing Man by Laura Cumming

New RRP £18.99
Condition - Very Good
£7.19
5 in stock

Summary

In 1845, a Reading bookseller named John Snare came across the dirt-blackened portrait of a prince at a country house auction. Suspecting that it might be a long-lost Velazquez, he bought the picture and set out to discover its strange history. A fusion of detection and biography, this book pays homage to the Spanish master Velazquez.

The Vanishing Man Summary

The Vanishing Man: In Pursuit of Velazquez by Laura Cumming

*BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week*

The Vanishing Man is a riveting detective story and a brilliant reconstruction of an art controversy, but it is also a homage to the art of Velazquez, written by a critic who remains spellbound by his genius, as readers will be spellbound by this book - Colm Toibin

In 1845, a Reading bookseller named John Snare came across the dirt-blackened portrait of a prince at a country house auction. Suspecting that it might be a long-lost Velazquez, he bought the picture and set out to discover its strange history. When Laura Cumming stumbled on a startling trial involving John Snare, it sent her on a search of her own. At first she was pursuing the picture, and the life and work of the elusive painter, but then she found herself following the bookseller's fortunes too - from London to Edinburgh to nineteenth-century New York, from fame to ruin and exile.

An innovative fusion of detection and biography, this book shows how and why great works of art can affect us, even to the point of mania. And on the trail of John Snare, Cumming makes a surprising discovery of her own. But most movingly, The Vanishing Man is an eloquent and passionate homage to the Spanish master Velazquez, bringing us closer to the creation and appreciation of his works than ever before.

The Vanishing Man Reviews

The Vanishing Man is a riveting detective story and a brilliant reconstruction of an art controversy, but it is also a homage to the art of Velazquez, written by a critic who remains spellbound by his genius, as readers will be spellbound by this book -- Colm Toibin
Sumptuous...A gleaming work of someone at the peak of her craft * New York Times *
An extraordinary story ... This terrific book is many things, a study in obsession, a paean of praise to an artist of genius, a detective story and, for the author, an exorcism of grief. Writing like Helen Macdonald in H is for Hawk, in the wake of the death of her father, Cumming pours heart and soul in The Vanishing Man and she has produced something of which her artist father, James Cumming, would be more than proud * Spectator *
Laura Cumming twists several genres around her supple fingers in order to tell the extraordinary story of how Snare fell under the spell of a painting and sacrificed everything - prosperity, reputation, a respectable death surrounded by loving family - so that he might live with it like a love ... The detective story [...] gusts the plot along at a cracking pace... You put down The Vanishing Man not quite sure how Cumming has been able to bring off this particular magic trick, but happy and grateful that she has. * Guardian *
In this superb and original book, Cumming interweaves the gripping story of Snare with that of Diego Velazquez himself, painting at the court in Madrid in the 17th century.. Like Donna Tartt's novel The Goldfinch, this is about the particular forms of obsession that only art can generate... This enthralling book is about what it means to create art so luminous that others would fight just to get close to it * Sunday Times *
This is an absorbing dual biography inspired by the author's passion for Velazquez... Cumming brings her subject alive and writes with empathy and insight * Tatler *
A real-life detective story involving an Old Master portrait of an ill-fated English king and an art obsession that would lead to the ruin of one of the book's two mysterious protagonists: one a humble 19th-century printer and bookseller from Reading, John Snare; the other the great 17th-century Spanish court painter named in the title ... Interwoven into the narrative of Snare's tribulations, and of beautifully compelling accounts of Velazquez's paintings, are moving snippets of biography that reveal Cumming's own relationship to the great Spanish master * Independent *
Simultaneously art historian and detective, Cumming skilfully weaves together the lives not only of Velazquez and Snare, but also of the ill-fated king and of the man who unknowingly sparked her interest in the Spanish artist - her late father, the painter James Cumming. -- Anna Godfrey * Financial Times *
Ingenious... intriguing... [Cumming] subtly interweaves the two narratives - that of Snare and that of Velazquez - so that they illuminate each other in surprising ways. -- Mark Hudson * Daily Telegraph *
The painter, writes Cumming, allowed every sitter 'his privacy, his secrecy, his full mystery' even when revealing them for all to see and in this accomplished and touching book she allows her two subjects theirs -- Michael Prodger * Evening Standard *

About Laura Cumming

Laura Cumming has been chief art critic of the Observer since 1999. Her book, The Vanishing Man: In Pursuit of Velazquez, was Book of the Week on Radio 4, Wall Street Journal Book of the Year and a New York Times bestseller. It won the 2017 James Tait Black Biography Prize and was published to critical acclaim ('A riveting detective story: readers will be spellbound' Colm Toibin). Her first book, A Face to the World: On Self-Portraits, was described by Nick Hornby as 'Brilliant, fizzing with ideas not just about art but human nature' and by Julian Barnes as 'that rare item: an art book where the text is so enthralling that the pictures almost seem like an interruption'.

Additional information

GOR007214995
9780701188443
0701188448
The Vanishing Man: In Pursuit of Velazquez by Laura Cumming
Used - Very Good
Hardback
Vintage Publishing
20160107
304
Winner of James Tait Black Memorial Prize 2017 (UK) null null null null null null null null null
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us

Customer Reviews - The Vanishing Man