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Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought) Hardcover – Jan 11 2001

4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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99 by Wayne Gretzky 99 by Wayne Gretzky

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 96 pages
  • Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers; 1 edition (Feb. 1 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152001034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152001032
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 1.5 x 26 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #858,152 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 6 Up-Judging from the popularity of television talk shows and supermarket tabloids, Americans love gossip. As the title suggests, this collection of anecdotes about 15 famous artists of European heritage (and Hokusai) is gossipy. Tidbits flood the brief biographies: Leonardo's and Michelangelo's homosexuality, Van Gogh's "ear episode," Bruegel's fondness for practical jokes, Cassatt's support of women's suffrage, etc. These morsels are integrated into chapters with an easy-flowing sequence of short paragraphs, and supplemented with an "Artworks" section that adds a few pithy comments about several specific pieces, such as O'Keeffe's bone paintings or Kollowitz's large granite memorial for her son Peter. Hewitt supplies a full-page watercolor and colored-pencil portrait and vignette for each artist. These are friendly representations that also include personal objects like Matisse's fiddle, Chagall's village, Duchamp's snow shovel, etc. They add pleasant visual attractions to the lighthearted approach in this inviting introduction to a few of the Big Names in our artworld. A page of artistic terms is also included.
Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Gr. 4^-6. From the eclectic series that began with Lives of the Musicians: Good Times, Bad Times (and What the Neighbors Thought) (1993) comes a volume devoted to visual artists. The subject seems well suited to Krull's format: informative short biographies that focus on the subjects' personal lives and eccentricities rather than chronologies of their masterpieces. A few notes on major artworks follow each biography. Among the 19 artists discussed are Leonardo, Bruegel, Cassatt, Van Gogh, Picasso, O'Keefe, Dali, Noguchi, Rivera, Kahlo, and Warhol. Each chapter begins with one of Hewitt's distinctive portrait paintings, handsome caricatures of the artists and a few significant or distinctive objects indicating their interests and individual traits. A lively, entertaining presentation. Carolyn Phelan

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Format: Hardcover
Most people can name at least a couple famous artists and cite some examples of their best-known works. But have you ever wondered what's really behind all that painting, sculpting, and drawing? Kathleen Krull's book Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought) gives an in-depth view into the humor, tragedy, and mystery in twenty artists' lives, as well as the gossip inspired by their peculiar lifestyles. Carefully researched, this humorous biography travels throughout the centuries, offering basic facts along with interesting tidbits and anecdotes about artists from Leonardo Da Vinci to Georgia O'Keeffe and beyond. It also includes interesting backround information behind each one's artistic works as well as creative and eye-catching illustrations by Kathryn Hewitt. This entertaining book allows readers to get to know the world's greatest artists and their artworks through each one's unique and engaging story.
The book is well organized into chapters each focusing on the life of one individual artist. The author skillfully and humorously connects information about artists' personalities, preferences, and lifestyles with how they affected their most well known artworks. It recreates each one's position in history, telling how the artists were seen by the general population in their day, or even their reputation among curious or superstitious neighbors. Readers will be able to see for themselves that famous artists were real people who did mess up once in a while. The author explains a time when Leonardo Da Vinci decided to try out a new painting method, saying, "The technique resulted in disaster...(he hadn't read all the way through to the part that said "don't try this on walls").
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Format: Paperback
Have you ever wondering how a famous artist became known? Or what was his youth looked like? This book will help you discover numerous artists and learn more about them at the same time. It could become a great springboard to a more in-depth study on a specific artist like Leonardo Da Vinci for example. The book present the following artists: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Peter Bruegel, Sofonisba Anguissola, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Katsushika Hokusai, Mary Cassat, Vincent Van Gogh, Kathe Kollwitz, Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Marc Chagall, Marcel Duchamp, Georgia O'Keeffe, William H. Johnson, Salvador Dali, Isamu Noguchi, Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo, as well as Andy Warhol.

Each artist will be presented with his/her birth date and death date as well as some historical information about his/her life. At the end of the few pages, you can also learn more about some of the artworks done by that artist. The book presents the artists as they probably never been presented before. While reading this book I have discover that there was a time when people paid to see dissections at anatomy theaters, which were unheated to prevent the corpse from decaying too fast (this was during the time of Rembrandt!). This is only a sample of the kind of fascinating information you would find throughout the book.

My only disappointment is that the book doesn't present some of the most famous painting/sculpture of these artists. There are illustrations within the book but no photographs of the actual work of the artists presented. I think it would have made the book more complete. On another hand, why not used the information from in the artwork section of each artist and go on a hunt on the internet to see why these particular works are mentioned in the book?
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Format: Hardcover
"It's not what an artist does that counts, but what he is" - Picasso, p. 56
The book contains 16 Chapters on the following 17 artists in birth year order: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564), Peter Bruegel (1525?-1569), Sofonisba Anguissola (1532-1625), Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Katsushika Hokusai (1760-1849), Mary Cassatt (1845-1926), Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Kathe Kollwitz (1867-1945), Henri Matisse (1869-1954), Pablo Picasso (1881-1973), Marc Chagall (1887-1985), Marcel Duchamp (1887-1968), Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986), William H. Johnson (1901-1970), Salvador Dali (1904-1989), Isamu Noguchi (1904-1988), Diego Rivera (1886-1957) & Frida Kahlo (1907-1954), Andy Warhol (1928-1987).
It contains a variety of gossipy tidbits about the artists' lives. The cross selection of artists is an interesting combination. Krull introduced me to three artists of which I was not familiar (Anguissola, Kollwitz and Johnson). As a result Krull has whet my appetite and I will now seek out further information. Hewett"s illustrations are entertainly and cleverly done. I am especially particular to her rendition of Hokusai (he is wearing a kimino with both "The Wave" and "Mt. Fuji" on it).
I'm not convinced that the book is intended for young readers (ages 9-12). The gossip is on occasion adult in content. No actual prints of any of the artist's paintings are included, which was a surprise given the high cost of the book. This proves cruelly aggravating given that Krull references select paintings with accompanying notes.
Additional tidbits missing from the book: Dali did the dream sequence in Alfred Hitchcock's "Spellbound" starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman.
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