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5 books for art lovers

5 books for art lovers? Hi guys and welcome back! Today, I’m gonna talk about 5 books for art lovers. If you’re interested in the topic, I recommend you to stay so you don’t miss anything.

Finally, I was able to start reading some books again. It sounds incredible to me! I don’t know if it also happens to you but there are some times of the year when I have time to read a little bit more.
Lately, I’ve managed to make some space around a busy schedule and read for an hour on the subway and I’m so happy about it.

Like for movies, also for books, I always have to choose carefully to keep me interested in the book. But there are plenty of beautiful books dedicated to art. And they can be essays, novels or biographies, the choice is wide.


5 books for art lovers. The Critic as Artist

The first book is The Critic as Artist by Oscar Wilde. It is neither a novel nor an essay.

But it’s more a dialogue between two lovers. And it talks about topics that are still very current: the role of the artist, the role of the art critic and the meaning of the artwork. But above all, it talks about the relationship between these three elements.

Consider that Wilde wrote it at the end of the nineteenth century. But even so, it kept me interested just like a contemporary book. I read it overnight and for me, as a slow reader, it was a real record.

The two main characters mix their ideas. And when reading the book I’ve found myself taking the parts of one or the other character. I would recommend this book to think about our relationship with artworks. And also about their meanings and the emotions they provoke.

Oscar Wilde, The Critic as Artist:


5 books for art lovers. The 12$ Million Stuffed Shark


Today’s second pick is an essay: The 12$ Million Stuffed Shark by Don Thompson. It’s one of those books that you should read, read again and give as a present.

The title comes from the famous Damien Hirst’s artwork. But it doesn’t refer only to that. The book analyses the art market and many auction records and every chapter is on a different topic. Such as the figure of the art dealers and the role of auction houses. There are interesting stories about Warhol, Bacon, Klimt, Koons, Hirst and many others.

Thompson’s message is that to better understand the art market you should study and analyze all the relationships behind it. You need to have an open mind. And get informed, even through books like this.

Don Thompson, The 12$ Million Stuffed Shark:


5 books for art lovers. Luncheon of the Boating Party


The next book is a Susan Vreeland’s one. Her books are always so exciting for me and I’m lucky because there are so many. Each one is dedicated to a character from the history of art. For example Picasso, Tiffany or Vermeer.

My choice for today is Luncheon of the Boating Party that talks about the life and activity of Auguste Renoir. And the main protagonist his most beautiful works: Luncheon of the boating party.

Today the work is on display at the Phillips Collection in Washington. The first modern art museum in the history of the United States.

Back to the book, the magic is in the writing, which flows and makes the reader passionate. But the plot is also super interesting. The story is simple: it’s a Sunday on the terrace of a hotel on the Sein. But it turns into a tangle of lives and love stories. The characters have really lived but their stories are not 100% true in the book. And in the novel, you lose this vision and their emotions catch you.

Being one of my favourite stories, of course, it’s super recommended!

Susan Vreeland, Luncheon of the Boating Party:


5 books for art lovers. The history of Art


The history of art by Ernst Gombrich. It is often used in university courses. And it is considered a manual of the history of art. Instead, it should be read and considered as the story of a story. It starts from ancient art with the description of cave paintings until the twentieth century.

And this is one of those readings that I wouldn’t recommend all in one breath. I would let myself be carried away by a curiosity for a certain historical period or a nation. And then I would go into it further thanks to other books.

Ernst Gombrich, The history of art:

5 books for art lovers. Artemisia

The last book that I recommend is Artemisia by Alexandra Lapierre. From the title, you will have understood that’s the story of Artemisia Gentileschi, Orazio Gentileschi’s daughter.

From her first years of life, Artemisia follows her father everywhere and thus learns the job. Above all, the book tells of her passions. But also of the injustices that she had to suffer as a woman and an artist. First of all the violence by the painter Agostino Tassi.

I liked how the love/hate relationship between father and daughter is explained in the book. And as Artemisia will be able, with time, to affirm herself. But the book really makes us think about Artemisia. And it makes us wonder: without her, today, would there have been female artists free to express their emotions?

If you wanna go deeper into her history go and take a look at my post on women in art.

Alexandra Lapierre, Artemisia:


Some other books for art lovers

These are 5 books that I recommend you as an art lover. They are all different from each other: novels, essays or biographies. I always prefer to change and, based on the period of the year, choose my reading.

Right now, for example, I’m about to finish an essay on selling artworks with many interesting stories. I’m enjoying it a lot. But I would like to finish it and then start Artwash by Mel Evans. Another essay that I found in a bookstore here in London. A book on international museums sponsorships by oil multinationals.

If you are also reading a book related to the art world that you want to share with me or others, leave a comment down below. So we can create a virtual list of books for art lovers to read over and over again.

See you next time! Ciao ciao

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