Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books for Art Lovers

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and The Bookish, and this week’s topic is Top Ten Books for Readers Who Like ‘X’. My arty books are a mix of children’s, YA and adult titles for my fellow gallery fans.

1) The Hare With The Amber Eyes – Edmund de Waal (Adult/Non Fiction)

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Image from Goodreads

This is a fascinating tale of the history of netsuke (Japanese objects, typically carved from ivory or wood, used to suspend objects from the obi (belt) of traditional costume. They also functioned as status symbols and art objects) in the author’s family. It gives a wonderful insight into the world of the Impressionists, and is a rich and evocative tale.

2) Wings Over Delft – Aubrey Flegg (YA)

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Image from Goodreads

In seventeenth-century Delft, Louise Eeden is having her portrait painted by Master Haitnik. In the studio she finds a respite from the stresses of her life and a freedom to be herself. She also feels a growing attraction for the apprentice, Pieter. A fascinating historical novel, the first in a trilogy about the painting of Louise.

3) To The Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf (Adult)

To the Lighthouse

Image from Goodreads

Artist Lily Briscoe is one of the central characters in this fantastic modernist novel, and there is much exploration of what it means to be an artist and to create in this novel. Interestingly, Virginia Woolf’s sister was an artist. Woolf is one of my favourite writers, and this book showcases her experimental and inventive style.

4) Chasing Vermeer – Blue Balliett, illustrated by Brett Helquist (Children’s)

Chasing Vermeer (Chasing Vermeer, #1)

Image from Goodreads

When a famous Vermeer painting disappears, Petra and Calder find themselves caught up in the mystery. They must solve the clues, and find the artwork. This is a fun read, with interactive elements such as codes to work out. There are a number of sequels which I really want to read!

5) From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler – E.L. Konigsburg (Children’s)

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Image from Goodreads.

Two children run away from home, and decide to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. While there, they make some important discoveries about a Michelangelo statue. A wonderfully funny children’s book, those kids were living the dream!

4) The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt (Adult)

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Image from Goodreads

Donna Tartt’s much anticipated novel takes its title from Carel Fabritius’ famous painting. The novel opens with Theo and his mother visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art, when terrorists strike. His mother is killed, and Theo’s life is altered completely. A complex and wonderfully written book.

7) The Girl With The Pearl Earring – Tracy Chevalier (Adult)

Girl With a Pearl Earring

Image from Goodreads

While I have my quibbles with the ending of this book, there is no doubt that it gives a fascinating glimpse of Vermeer’s life and has captured the imagination of many readers as it explores one of the artist’s most enigmatic works.

8) Girl Reading – Katie Ward (Adult)

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Image from Goodreads

A collection of short stories, each focusing on a depiction of a girl reading – be it in a Renaissance altarpiece, or a Victorian photograph.A compelling read.

9) The Swan Thieves – Elizabeth Kostova (Adult)

Image from Goodreads

While I did not find this book as gripping as Kostova’s debut novel The Historian (which everyone should read!) I enjoyed the art side. There is the modern day tale of a man gripped by the beautiful woman he paints, but also a love story between two painters in the Impressionist era.

10) Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy – Michael Baxandall (Non Fiction)

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Image from Goodreads

This is an art history book, but it is one I found so fascinating that I have read it many times. It offers a wealth of information about the creation of art in the Renaissance, and has been invaluable in my study of art history.

Any recommendations of arty books I have missed would be greatly appreciated! And if you’ve taken part in Top Ten Tuesday post a link to your list in the comments 🙂

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9 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books for Art Lovers

  1. Cool idea for a list… girl with a pearl earring and Goldfinch great choices. I’m going to throw in The Da Vinci code. It certainly made me re-think great paintings and artists!

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