Books

Michelangelo

Martin Gayford

'An absorbing book, beautifully told and with the writer fully in command of a huge body of research' Philip Hensher, Mail on Sunday

There was an epic sweep to Michelangelo's life. At 31 he was considered the finest artist in Italy, perhaps the world; long before he died at almost 90 he was widely believed to be the greatest sculptor or painter who had ever lived (and, by his enemies, to be an arrogant, uncouth, swindling miser). For decade after decade, he worked near the dynamic centre of events: the vortex at which European history was changing from Renaissance to Counter Reformation. Few of his works - including the huge frescoes of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, the marble giant David and The Last Judgment - were small or easy to accomplish. Like a hero of classical mythology - such as Hercules, whose statue Michelangelo carved in his youth - he was subject to constant trials and labours. In Michelangelo Martin Gayford describes what it felt like to be Michelangelo Buonarroti, and how he transformed forever our notion of what an artist could be.

'It is a measure of [Michelangelo's] magnitude, and Gayford's skill in capturing it, that you finish this book wishing that Michelangelo had lived longer and created more' Rachel Spence, FT

'One of our most distinguished writers on what makes modern artists tick . . . It is very difficult to cut through the thicket of generations of scholarship and say anything new about David, the Sistine Chapel, The Last Judgement, the Basilica of St Peter's or many of Michelangelo's other masterpieces, but Gayford manages to do so by encouraging us to think - and look - at both the obvious and the overlooked' Sunday Telegraph

'Only the most ambitious biographer can take on the talent of Michelangelo Buonarroti' The Times

Constable In Love

Martin Gayford

Art critic Martin Gayford, author of The Yellow House, brings the Regency period to life in Constable in Love: Love, Landscape and the Making of a Great Painter his account of the life of English Romantic painter John Constable.

Love, not landscape, was the making of Constable. . .

John Constable and Maria Bicknell might have been in love but their marriage was a most unlikely prospect. Constable was a penniless painter who would not sacrifice his art for anything, while Maria's family frowned on such a penurious union. For seven long years the couple were forced to correspond and meet clandestinely.

But it was during this period of longing that Constable developed as a painter. And by the time they'd overcome all obstacles to their marriage, he was on the verge of being recognised as a genius.

Martin Gayford brings alive the time of Jane Austen in telling the tremendous story of Constable's formative years, as well as this love affair's tragic conclusion which haunted the artist's final paintings.

'Delightful...a small drama of love, frustration and despair played itself out with massive repercussions for the history of painting' Financial Times

'Gayford's nuanced narrative throws much-needed fresh light, as well as real understanding, on both Constable's painting and his love life' Sunday Telegraph

'A scrupulously observed tragical-comical tale' Evening Standard

Martin Gayford is a celebrated art critic and journalist who has written for the Spectator and the Sunday Telegraph and is the current Chief European Art Critic for Bloomberg. In his other book The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles Gayford depicts the period in which artistic geniuses van Gogh and Gauguin shared a house in the small French town of Arles.

The Yellow House

Martin Gayford

The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles is art critic Martin Gayford's account of the tumultuous nine weeks in which the famous nineteenth century artists Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin shared a house in the small French town of Arles.

Two artistic giants. One small house.

From October to December 1888 a pair of at the time largely unknown artists lived under one roof in the French provincial town of Arles. Paul Gauguin and Vincent Van Gogh ate, drank, talked, argued, slept and painted in one of the most intense and astonishing creative outpourings in history. Yet as the weeks passed Van Gogh buckles under the strain, fought with his companion and committed an act of violence on himself that prompted Gauguin to flee without saying goodbye to his friend.

The Yellow House is an intimate portrait of their time together as well as a subtle exploration of a fragile friendship, art, madness, genius behind a shocking act of self-mutilation that the world has sought to explain ever since.

'Gayford's fascinating depiction of the Odd Couple of art history is both moving and riveting' Daily Mail

'Masterly...a wonderfully alert and moving portrait' Mail on Sunday

'Profoundly absorbing. Gayford has reconstructed these tumultuous weeks...the reader lives them day by day, almost minute by minute. Delightful, utterly fascinating' Independent on Sunday

Martin Gayford is a celebrated art critic and journalist who has written for the Spectator and the Sunday Telegraph and is the current Chief European Art Critic for Bloomberg. In his other book, Constable in Love: Love, Landscape, Money and the Making of a Great Painter, Gayford tells the true story of Romantic painter John Constable's life and loves.

Biography

Martin Gayford is art critic for the Spectator. Among his publications are: A Bigger Message: Conversations with David Hockney; Man with a Blue Scarf; On Sitting for a Portrait by Lucian Freud; Constable in Love: Love, Landscape, Money and the Making of a Great Painter; The Yellow House: Van Gogh, Gauguin and Nine Turbulent Weeks in Arles; The Penguin Book of Art Writing, of which he was the co-editor; and contributions to many catalogues. He lives in Cambridge with his wife and two children.