Painter to the King (Hardback)
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Painter to the King (Hardback)

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£14.99
Hardback 336 Pages
Published: 05/04/2018
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Waterstones Says

Hailed as ‘one of the finest historical novels of recent years’ by Sarah Perry, this is an unmissable exploration of art and time shot through with a contemporary narrative of search and discovery.

'Novels about art and artistry are plentiful; many are very good. But in Painter to the King Sackville has written not only by far the finest novel of its kind that I have ever read, but one of the finest historical novels of recent years.' - Sarah Perry, The Guardian

It is 1622. Summoned by his king, Philip IV of Spain, painter Diego Velázquez departs his native Seville to attend the royal court of Madrid. Velázquez’s arrival marks the beginning of a complex relationship between artist and subject that will endure over the next 38 years. Over that time, the painter bears witness to the shifting fortunes of a court gradually collapsing under the weight of its own excess.

At storm's centre sits the king, a man entombed by responsibilities to his people and his own growing grief. The years pass and still no heir, his sadness submerged in a sea of advisers and courtiers. Through it all Velázquez observes and paints, recording the king and the daily drama of the court. His position is unique, existing just outside the maelstrom of kingship but still seeing all.

A portrait both of an artist and the act of art-making, the author of the award-winning The Still Point and Orkney presents a brilliantly-realised exploration of art and time, shot through with a contemporary narrative of search and discovery.

Publisher: Granta Books
ISBN: 9781783783908
Number of pages: 336
Weight: 418 g
Dimensions: 216 x 135 x 20 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

What especially thrills is Sackville's style, which revels in risk and play ... In Painter to the King Sackville has written not only by far the finest novel of its kind that I have ever read, but one of the finest historical novels of recent years. For her skill and daring, her grasp of both subject and form, and her masterly chiaroscuro of human failure and endeavour, she is as distinct among her peers as Velázquez was among his - Sarah Perry, Guardian

Working in luminous and meticulous prose, Sackville achieves an almost miraculous intimacy with her subject. Painter to the King is the most engrossing fictional study of visual art I have ever encountered, giving us not only a persuasive account of Velázquez's formation and milieu but a ravishing survey of the very substances and textures of his sensory world. It is, in its own right, an astonishing work of art - Paraic O'Donnell

Sackville writes beautifully, imagining the court in painterly detail: its fashions, its stultifying formalities, its hierarchies and petty, poisonous rivalries. She has the art os weaving Velázquez's works [...] through the developing relationship, even friendship, of Diego and Felipe... Painter to the King is stately, [...] Sackville's summoning of time and place is exquisitely done - Laura Freeman, Spectator

Sackville's sumptuous verbal artistry both fills history's gaps, and offers via its kaleidoscopic language a response to the paintings' ever-shifting qualities... The novel flecks its pursuit of the artist, across paintings and documents, with the shimmer and dazzle of its rhapsodic prose - Boyd Tonkin, Arts Desk

The kind of novel that makes you fall in love with reading all over again: rich, kaleidoscopic, evocative and hugely moving. Painter to the King renders the past in intimate, exquisite, enthralling detail - Alex Preston

For some years now, Amy Sackville has been known for the exquisite quality of her prose. With her third novel, she has tried something different, something more audacious, perhaps, and proves more than equal to the challenge. A work of great subtlety and sophistication, Painter to the King is a surprisingly tender portrait of a genius - Rupert Thomson

An authentic glimpse into the painter's methods... Superb - Antonia Senior, The Times

Through Velazquez's eyes, we are shown the splendours and the miseries of Philip's life and court. We watch the unfolding of the artist's genius for depicting the physical reality of that world and its inhabitants. Sackville's prose summons up the Spanish past in rich and appropriately visual detail - Nick Rennison, Sunday Times

Sackville - a talented stylist - [shows us] the world as Velázquez does... where tiny details are always as significant as the whole picture... Rewarding - Claire Allfree, Daily Mail

Sackville triumphs... Stately, lush prose is interspersed with descriptions [and] Sackville uses language that is at once meticulous and rhapsodic - Elizabeth Wassell, Irish Times

Sackville's quick and lyrical style captures the heft and shape of seventeenth-century Spain without sacrificing lightness of touch, a quality she shares with Velázquez's - Ben Eastham, TLS

Painter to the King by Amy Sackville is one of the best - Vanity Fair

A daring, utterly immersive study of the relationship between Velázquez and Philip IV - Book of the Year selected by Justine Jordan, Guardian

I loved Amy Sackville's Painter to the King - I Paper

[It] observes the rise of Velázquez at the court of Philip IV, conjuring both his masterpieces and their subjects in meticulous and suitably ravishing prose - Book of the Year selected by Paraic O’Donnell, Irish Times

Sackville's prose summons up the Spanish past in rich and appropriately visual detail - Sunday Times

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“Painting with words....”

This is the story of Diego Velazquez from arriving to at the court of King Philip IV of Spain to his death, his relationship with him as an artist and as a human being.

Amy Sackville has an amazing writing style, as... More

Hardback edition
1 similar book recommended
Helpful? Upvote 87
Elizabeth at Preston

“An evocative, mesmerising read...”

There is a wonderful lyricism to Sackville’s writing, which only enhances the vibrancy of this atmospheric story set in the court of King Philip IV of Spain in 17th Century Spain.

Cleverly, like Velázquez used mise... More

Hardback edition
7 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 53

“Historical artistry”

I absolutely love historical fiction and ‘Painter to the King’ is one of the best I have read in a long while. It is an intensely personal love letter to the artist by the author, whose own musings on her subject... More

Hardback edition
3 similar books recommended
Helpful? Upvote 44

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