This biography is as much about a bookseller, John Snare, who in the 19th century discovered what he believed to be a lost portrait by the artist as it is about the painter Velázquez and his circle.  His efforts to get it authenticated and the battle he went through to keep it make it read almost like a novel.  It also has interesting things to say about the nature of portraiture and the artist, Spanish court life and the vanity of the young Charles I as Prince of Wales.  The publisher has taken great care with its production and there are no fewer than three sections of colour plates as well as black and white reproductions throughout the book.  The moving introduction, where the author describes her initiation to the painter’s work, is worth the price alone.

 Laura Cumming The Vanishing Man: In Pursuit of Velázquez
Hardback £18.99 (304pp)

To order this book, please email vv@venetiavyvyan.com

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