The 16th-century painting ``Wisdom and Strength,'' an allegory by the Venetian Paolo Veronese, passed through the hands of the Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II, Queen Christina of Sweden, the Duke of Orleans, and Thomas Hope, and survived war looting, art market fluctuations, and numerous journeys across Europe before reaching its current home at the Frick Collection in New York. British journalist Watson traces the colorful lives and times of the painting's owners, interjecting nontechnical discussions of patronage, the history of pigment, and similar art historical topics. The color plates that would have helped to show why collectors so coveted this luminous masterpiece are notably absent--the painting being reproduced in color only on the book jacket. Still, this is an unusual book that makes for good reading. Recommended for public libraries.-- Annette Melville, Research Lib . Group, Stanford, Cal.