Lives of the Artists: Masterpieces, Messes (and What the Neighbors Thought)

Overview

Most people can name some famous artists and recognize their best-known works. But what's behind all that painting, drawing, and sculpting? What was Leonardo da Vinci's snack of choice while he painted Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile? Why did Georgia O'Keeffe find bones so appealing? Who called Diego Rivera "Frog-Face"? And what is it about artists that makes both their work and their lives so fascinating—to themselves, to their curious neighbors, and to all of us? This book presents the humor and the tragedy in ...

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Overview

Most people can name some famous artists and recognize their best-known works. But what's behind all that painting, drawing, and sculpting? What was Leonardo da Vinci's snack of choice while he painted Mona Lisa’s mysterious smile? Why did Georgia O'Keeffe find bones so appealing? Who called Diego Rivera "Frog-Face"? And what is it about artists that makes both their work and their lives so fascinating—to themselves, to their curious neighbors, and to all of us? This book presents the humor and the tragedy in twenty artists' lives as no biography has done before.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Fresh, spirited, and unconventional."—Kirkus Reviews
 
"A lively, entertaining presentation."—Booklist
 
"Kids will enjoy this brush with greatness."—Bulletin
 
"Krull's brief biographies provide basic facts as well as intriguing details. The subjects chosen range from the famous (Michelangelo Buonarroti) to the infamous (Andy Warhol) to the less well known. Hewitt's caricaturelike illustrations reflect and extend the lively text."—Horn Book
From the Publisher

"Fresh, spirited, and unconventional."—Kirkus Reviews
 
"A lively, entertaining presentation."—Booklist
 
"Kids will enjoy this brush with greatness."—Bulletin
 
"Krull's brief biographies provide basic facts as well as intriguing details. The subjects chosen range from the famous (Michelangelo Buonarroti) to the infamous (Andy Warhol) to the less well known. Hewitt's caricaturelike illustrations reflect and extend the lively text."—Horn Book

Children's Literature - Kathleen Karr
Although billed by its publishers for ages 8 to 12, this compendium of background and gossip (that Vasari never would have dared to write) is vastly entertaining for adults, too. Not only do we get the sexual preferences of such greats as da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Mary Cassatt, we even learn what they ate and the pets they loved or despised. We also learn that Hokusai changed his residence no less than 93 times (so he wouldn't have to clean his messy studios), and that Van Gogh's paintings were used to patch up outhouses and chicken coops. Who wouldn't love browsing through such fascinating stuff? Along the way, a lot of standard information is also exchanged. Hewitt's individual portraits are humorous and evocative of each artist's style. Great fun.
Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
This entertaining, informative collection introduces readers to the idiosyncrasies (sometimes humorous, sometimes tragic) of twenty famous artists including Michelangelo, Cassatt, Rembrandt, Kahlo, Breugel, O'Keeffe, and Warhol. Youngsters will enjoy finding out what Leonardo da Vinci ate for a snack when he painted the Mona Lisa and why Georgia O'Keeffe found bones so appealing.
School Library Journal
Gr 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
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780544252233
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/1/2014
  • Series: Lives of... Series
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 96
  • Sales rank: 334,261
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Krull has written much innovative nonfiction for young people, including all of the books in the Lives of . . . series, and has made a chatty, accessible approach to biography her hallmark. She lives in San Diego, California. Visit her website at www.kathleenkrull.com .

Kathryn Hewitt's caricatures of famous figures led kids to dub the Lives of . . . series the "Big Head" books. She has illustrated many books for young readers, some of which she also wrote. She lives in Santa Monica, California. Visit her website at www.kathrynhewitt.com .

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2007

    A reviewer

    Michelangelo Buonarroti, Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, everyone has heard of them. Maybe not everyone has heard of Sofonisba Anguissola, Katsushika Hokusai, or Isamu Noguchi. Lives of the Artists is all about the people that went from rags to riches or stayed poor and had to sell paintings for necessities, but no one wanted to buy them because they weren¿t very good. It tells about their life before they became famous, their life being famous, and some little details in between. Even if nobody liked their paintings and they weren¿t being sold, after their death, someone would finally realize how the paintings changed the way people draw today. I would highly recommend this book because it is filled with very interesting details about the different artists and how their lives were filled with unpredictable events. Most of the artists in the book knew another artist and was good friends with him/her. Michelangelo was good friends with Leonardo Da Vinci and sometimes they were even enemies, but they had some good times together. Isamu Noguchi knew Frida Kahlo, but Diego Rivera, her partner, didn¿t like it and actually threatened Noguchi with a gun involved. Many of the artists went to France to study art and died there. Mary Cassatt moved there early in her life, and died there in 1926. Leonardo Da Vinci moved to France to paint a picture for the King of France and died in 1519. Vincent Van Gogh moved to France and lived in a four-room apartment, he died there in 1890. Almost all of the artists lived somewhere other than the United States. Rembrandt Van Rijn was born in Leiden, Holland and he also died there in 1669. Marc Chagall was born in Pestkovatik, Russia, but moved to France and died there in 1985. Michelangelo Buonarroti was born and died in Italy. These people didn¿t become famous the first time they picked up a brush they practiced until they were good enough for art dealers to sell their art. Lives of the Artists is all about the interesting lives of famous artists that people may or may not have heard of. I recommend this book to anyone interested in famous artists such Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, Vincent Van Gogh, or maybe even Katsushika Hokusai. E. Gray

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