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

( 2 )


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 ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$8.99 price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (13) from $4.77   
  • New (11) from $4.77   
  • Used (2) from $5.29   
Note: Kids' Club Eligible. See More Details.
Sending request ...


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.

Read More Show Less

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

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
Read More Show Less

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: 314,978
  • Age range: 9 - 12 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Krull is well known for her innovative, award-winning nonfiction for young people, including Lives of the Explorers, Lives of the Musicians, and all other books in this popular series illustrated by Kathryn Hewitt. She is also the author of Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, illustrated by Yuyi Morales, as well as The Beatles Were Fab (and They Were Funny) and Lincoln Tells a Joke: How Laughter Saved the President (and the Country), both co-written with Paul Brewer and illustrated by Stacy Innerst. She lives in San Diego, California. Visit her website at

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

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 2 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 2 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

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)