Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Good Reads for Artists

The folks over at Online College Courses have come up with a list of the 50 greatest novels for art students to read, along with their descriptions:

Here are four from that list.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon:
If you have any interest in the creation, origin or work that goes into comic books, this novel is an absolute must-read. Following two friends as they come from nothing to be some of the biggest names in the comic industry, it offers not only a compelling story, but an amazing amount of historical information as well.

Girl with a Pearl Earring by Tracy Chevalier:
Now a major motion picture, this book offers insights into the life and work of Dutch painter Vermeer, suggesting that the model for one of his most famous works was his own beloved housemaid.

The Agony and the Ecstasy by Irving Stone:
Based on the biographical events of Michelangelo’s life, this novel showcases the artist in his full brilliance, passion and even, at times, fury.

Lydia Cassatt Reading the Morning Paper by
Harriet Scott Chessman: Get a peek into the life of Mary Cassatt, one of the biggest names in Impressionist painting, through the eyes of her sister Lydia in this compelling fictionalized take on art history.

50 novels for art students to read


draigstudio said...

I love Kavalier and Clay. It is such a great introduction to comics creation. I was surprised that this wasn't on the list however for a fun fantasy look into painting:

Anonymous said...

thanks for the link to the GREAT list. I've put 6 of them on my reading list, and I've already read many of them.

Steve said...

I agree, Kavalier and Clay is a great read.

Lists like these always seem to invite what to leave in and what to take out. I would swap out Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead and replace it with Susan Vreeland's The Forest Lover. It's a biography of the Canadian painter, Emily Carr. Still, it was good to see Vreeland represented on the list.

Julia L. Powell said...

Oooh I was looking for some good new stuff to read!! I LOVE the Charles de Lint book Memory and Dream - What a great list! Thanks!

Micah said...

My parents-in-law bought me Kavalier & Clay as a gift. The subject matter seemed to them a good fit for this comic book geek. Boy, were they Right! In addition, I never read the book, but the movie "The Agony and the Ecstasy" which is based upon the book is one of my favorites. GREAT STUFF!

Steven Belledin said...

The Agony and the Ecstasy is a really great read. I think it's the only book I've read more than once. It puts the film to shame.

Unknown said...

One of my profs in college recommended Irving Stone's books. That was one of the best favors anyone ever did for me. It kindled a fascination for art history. I did not see listed the best of his books, "Depths of Glory" about Camille Pissarro, Father of the Impressionists.

My Pen Name said...
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My Pen Name said...

no "Month in the country"?
not fiction but strapless, about Madame x/Sargent and the world they inhabited is a great read,
as is the current McCullough book about Americans in Paris in the 19th century. _ Goes into the lives of Sargent, Cassat, Saint-Gudens.

Willa Cather has some great short stories about artists.

also, these stories are a bit pollyanna, but "color studies" :
by Thomas Allibone Janvier - a bunch of short stories about artists in Greenwich Village in the 19th century (written in the 19th century)

I actually like the movie version of Agony & Ecstasy
There was something missing in Stone's depiction of Michaelangelo

Ravi Gupta said...
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Ravi Gupta said...

thanks a lot for the post!! i m gonna have them sooon....
I have been reading Lust for Life by Irwine Stone.. i must say its awesome...

velocityofme said...

Hilariously enough, the main character in Of Human Bondage quits being an artist because he's told by a famous artist that struggling for decades before getting a break is a pain in the ass.

Roberto said...

Irving Stone’s ‘Lust for life’ was made into a fun movie (1956), shot in early Technicolor and with fantastic sets based on Vincent’s paintings. The movie stars Kirk Douglas as Vincent, and Anthony Qinn as Paul Gaugan.
Hermann Hesse’s ‘Narcissus and Goldmund’ is also high on my list.
I would also add Barbara Kingsolver’s ‘The Lacuna’ to the list. It’s about a young writer, growing up in two worlds, Mexico and the U.S., who finds himself employed as a plasterer by Diego Rivera and then becomes a confidant of Frida Khalo. Barbara is an excellent writer, but I would strongly suggest her audio-book, in which she not only reads but also performs all of the charactors!
Finally I strongly recommend the book: ‘ART & PHYSICS, Parallel Visions in Space, Time and Light’ by Leonard Shlain. While it is not a novel, it is a wonderful narrative and philosophical exploration into the parallels between modern art and the new physics. A very enlightening and fun read.
The book currently open on my reading table is: ‘VISION, A Computational Investigation into the Human Representation and Processing of Visual Information’ by David Marr(MIT) 1982. Definitely not ‘lite reading,’ but an informative exploration into the problems of understanding what it is to see.
Oh and… ‘The Pirates. True Accounts of the Lives, Exploits, and Executions of the World’s Most Famous Buccaneers.’ By Charles Elms (just in case this artist thing doesn’t work out.) -RQ

Ravi Gupta said...

i did'nt knew about the movie.!! but the book is awesome and inspirational !