Making A Masterpiece
The stories behind iconic artworks
by Debra N. Mancoff
This lavishly illustrated title tells the stories behind twelve well-known artworks. The paintings include everything from Botticelli’s Birth of Venus to Amery Sherald’s portrait of Michelle Obama. Interestingly to me, many are paintings of or by women. There are the Mona Lisa, Judith Beheading Holofernes and Woman in Gold, for example.
Each featured art work is labeled a masterpiece, a term that is defined in this title’s introduction. The history of the word is also discussed. The author also talks about the current plurality in the art world and questions how masterpieces may (or may not) fit within this framework.
Each of these works is discussed in depth. Ways in which a given painting has influenced more contemporary artists is also included here. Read in any order and come away with a deeper understanding of these treasures.
Recommended for both the serious art historian and a reader who would like to take a deep dive into works with which they may already be familiar.
Many thanks to NetGalley and Quarto Publishing Group. All opinions are my own.