Laura Cumming pic2

The Observer Lecture 2016: Laura Cumming

May/
Tue 24 May 2016

The Observer Lecture 2016: Laura Cumming

Laura Cumming pic2
Tue 24 May 2016,

Laura Cumming, the Observer’s art critic, discusses how a Velázquez painting changed both her life and that of John Snare – the Victorian bookseller at the heart of her latest book, The Vanishing Man: In Pursuit of Velázquez.

In 1845, Snare came across the dirt-blackened portrait of a prince at a country house auction. Suspecting that it might be a long-lost Velázquez, he bought the picture and set out to discover its strange history. When Cumming stumbled on a startling trial involving the bookseller, it set her on a search of her own. At first she pursued the picture, and the life and work of the elusive painter, but then she found herself following Snare’s fortunes, too – from London to Edinburgh to nineteenth-century New York, from fame to ruin and exile.

Exploring the complex meaning of authenticity and the unshakable determination that drives both artists and collectors of their work, she shows how and why great works of art can affect us.

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