Thriller set in Hamburg (with a side trip to Cartagena)
Visiting world locations through the eyes of iconic artists (Artistic Places)
7th April 2021
Artistic Places by Susie Hodge, illustrations by Amy Grimes. Visiting world locations through the eyes of iconic artists.
I first came across the “Inspired Traveller’s Guide” series when I came across Literary Places by Sarah Baxter, also beautifully illustrated by Amy Grimes. The books are just superbly produced, there is a real sense of quality and elegance to both content and presentation and it is a real pleasure to peruse the pages.
The book explores 25 places and the author acknowledges what a hard task it was to choose the artists and their evocative paintings from the millions of artworks that represent place so well and across all the centuries.
The book opens with “Nocturne: Blue and Gold” by J A M Whistler and the accompanying text explores the city and the context of his work. The images of the city created by Amy Grimes are really stunning. Having studied art history myself, I had a notion of the art he produced but moving on to Cascais & Estoril, Portugal, I haven’t come across Paula Rego and The Dance because that work was created after my period of study in 1988. The author explores her painting and that Boca do Inferno can still be seen both in real life and in the painting and she goes on to describe the preparatory ink drawings (not forgetting the local speciality of Tarte de Natas!).
Guernica is featured, along with Amy’s interpretations and I was privileged to see Picasso’s work in the original, now housed at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia in Madrid.
Of course on the cover page is featured one of the iconic water lily series (The Water Lily Pondsotl: Green Harmony) by Claude Monet, which is just so recognisable, even when interpreted by another artist. It was painted at Giverny, Monet’s home for 43 years. Moving on to Florence – the treasure chest of art – the author suggests a few places to visit after she has spent time looking at some of the artists for whom the city is known and above all “Il Divino” and his iconic contribution the the city’s art and culture.
Featured in the book, too, is a little about the Bauhaus movement, which emerged to improve people’s living conditions, founded in 1919 by Walter Gropius in Germany, in Dessau. (if you fancy exploring the principles and people behind the movement, then The Hiding Game by Naomi Wood will delightfully transport you to the era).
I absolutely love the work of Amy Grimes and her illustrations throughout the book are really eye-catching and uplifting, they are so full of colour and good design.
I think as a concept this book works well on many levels, it is well put together and the idea is fantastic; but I did so miss not being able to conjure in my mind’s eye the original artworks to which the author refers, as they are not included anyere in the book. As each chosen painting was the raison d’être for each piece of text and the accompanying illustrations, it felt like the star guest at the party was missing. One can always access an image of each artwork on the internet whilst reading the book.
Tina for the TripFiction Team
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