Pieter Van de Graeff had no idea that his life as an affluent bachelor and art dealer would change overnight with the discovery of a memoir by Bartholomaeus Spranger (1546-1611), a gifted Flemish-born artist known for centuries for his erotic paintings. Pieter's chance encounter with Karolina Sv?tlá, a history student in Prague, gradually blends their lives with Spranger's as she translates the manuscript. While meeting in New York for the first major exhibition of his art, Splendor and Eroticism in Imperial Prague (Metropolitan Museum of Art, November 2014-January 2015), two people from dissimilar walks of life strive to understand each other. Spranger's vibrant vignettes from the imperial court of Rudolf II Habsburg, a melancholy ruler isolated in a dazzling world of art, color Pieter and Karo's relationship four hundred years later. The plot explores human passions in which lust, man's oldest obsession, often reigns over affairs of heart and reason. Eva Jana Siroka, an art historian and artist born in Bratislava, Slovakia, received her doctorate at Princeton University. A Renaissance scholar with interest in princely patronage, especially Rudolfine Prague, she has been drawn to Spranger's art for decades. In 2005, she published her novel Maddalena with the artist as a central character. Since 1971 (B.F.A, Hunter College, CUNY), her training in art history and fine arts has merged together with her academic and creative writing, and her art. A professional artist with works in North America and Europe, the author is currently preparing exhibitions in Princeton and Toronto. Inspired by Spranger's original drawings and period prints, she has illustrated the current book and designed its cover.
Midwest Book Review
“Erudite, deftly crafted, and an inherently fascinating read from first page to last, "My Life with Berti Spranger" is one of those novels that will linger in the mind and memory long after it is finished and set back upon the shelf. Certain to be an enduringly popular addition to personal, community and academic library Literary Fiction collections, "My Life with Berti Spranger" is enthusiastically recommended reading.”
|Publisher:||Jorge Pinto Books|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.37(d)|
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
With a new round of 50 Shades versions on the book market, I wondered whether to pick up a title with an out-of-date erotic painting on its cover. After page nine, I couldn't put the book down, especially since it's exciting with the author's illustrations after Spranger's own drawings. I once visited Vienna and shopped for clothes, but people like the art dealer Pieter Van de Graeff apparently poke around dusty antique stores instead, looking for treasures. And when he finds Spranger's memoir, which turns out to be a priceless discovery and meets Karo, a much younger history student and wants her to translated it, I got completely hooked. They had little in common, except that she needed a job, and his money could buy anything he wanted, women included. He was conservative and she goofy and anything but traditional. Surely they couldn't make a pair? Spranger's fancy memoir turns out to be an old man's apology for sleeping around with women while married to girl whom he adored. He also worked for a raunchy bachelor emperor who loved women and men, and his erotic paintings. There are a few too many historic bits in his memoir, but the intimate tales of Berti's life at Rudolf's court make E.L. James' novel seem like a tedious sex babble of an author who has little else to say. Instead, My Life with Berti brings to mind Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code, although it's not a crime story, but has a solid hook on Pieter's and Karo's unusual relationship. I kept racing through the book, only to realize that the ending was a totally unexpected surprise!