A couple of months ago, I read a lovely review of The Madonnas of Leningrad on a friend’s blog (Lesley’s Book Nook), and knew I wanted to read this book. It seemed a perfect fit for Sarah G’s 2009 Art History Reading Challenge. Being snowbound last week, I couldn’t resist starting it, even though the challenge hasn’t officially started. I hope I’ll be forgiven for not having any self-control and starting the challenge early, but I’m so glad I did! It was a wonderful book to read while snowbound!
In Lesley’s review of the book, she mentioned that she wished she could have clicked on the names of each painting mentioned in the book, to look at the image as she went through the book. I felt exactly the same way, and decided to take the time to write down each reference as it came up in the book. Then, I looked up each one on the internet, and also spent a lot of time at the Hermitage Museum web site (where you can literally spend hours and hours looking at the paintings, the history of the museum itself, the story of the siege, the renovations after the war, etc.). I enjoyed the story very much, and loved that the modern day parts of the book were set in the very familiar Northwest. But I was completely transported by the art!
I decided that my review of this book should be a visual review, so I started putting together a slideshow of the art pieces Debra Dean referenced in her book. But I soon got overwhelmed by the sheer numbers of paintings she referenced, (I’ve already looked up 50 art pieces on the internet and there are even more on my list!) and didn’t really know how to manage the technology of my idea. So, I’ll leave the idea open for anyone who is more technology savvy and would be willing to put it together. It would be an incredibly beautiful slideshow to watch, and would add a tremendous depth of understanding of the book!!
So I’ll just leave you with my little Photoshop montage of some of the art work and photos I’ve enjoyed while reading this lovely book, and urge you to read it and experience the art!