In ~1338, Ambrogio Lorenzetti painted a large fresco entitled ‘The Effects of Good Government in the City and Countryside’. In 2008, Nancy Shroyer Howard, a museum editor at the time, published Mischief in Tuscany, an interesting take on the famous Italian masterpiece.
The book follows the adventures of Cinta, a white striped Sienese pig. Nancy found this pig on his way to town with his master in the fresco, and from there, her imagination sprung wild. She has carefully zoomed into details of the painting, as seen through the eyes of Cinta, as he runs wild across the Countryside and City creating chaos and scandal.
The original paintings are displayed alongside its counterpart ‘The Effects of Bad Governance’, like a visual 14th century Dos and Don’ts list. Mischief in Tuscany brings alive the hypothetical of a good governmental decision whilst drawing attention to the intricacies of the painting. The pig himself has a ball of a time- scaring brides, splattering eggs, stealing cheese and dancing with the horrified town girls. The narrative keeps young readers engrossed in the (600+-year-old, shhh) pictures, and makes its adult reader silently snigger at the cheeky cut-outs.
It is a pleasure to hold this wonderful painting in one’s hand and to see the details of a Mideaval Siena up close. This is the kind of book that can turn into a variety of activities from memory games to imaginative explorations of paintings during the next visit to the museum.
Writer at Art1st
PS. There’s very little about this book to be found about the book online (though there are volumes about the painting itself). If you’ve read the book and have a perspective to share, do let us know.
“Through Georgia’s Eyes” written by “Rachel Rodriguez” and illustrated by “Julie Paschkis”, has successfully conveyed the contemplative beauty at the heart of Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings and life. The prose is simple and reflective, mimicking the rhythms of the natural world: “A canyon calls her. From the bottom at dusk she sees a long line of cows above, black lace against a dusky sky.” The illustrations, cut-paper collages, mimic the vibrant intensity of O’Keeffe’s works with the simplicity and wonder of a child.
This picture book biography describes some of the influences on painter Georgia O’Keeffe, touching briefly on her formative years and her family’s wishes that she become a teacher. Despite those wishes and the trends of those times which dictated roles for women, Georgia followed, and perused her dream to paint, which led her to New York City and the wide spaces of New Mexico.
Both the text and the extraordinary cut-paper collage illustrations help readers understand the personality, determination, and brilliance of this vibrant woman with exceptional talent.
History might not be the most favorite subject of children, but they all love stories. And in fact, history is nothing but stories.
But it is all about how a story is told. History becomes interesting when we add a bit of our own imagination and experiences to it, otherwise, it will all be about dates and nothing more. It’s the times spent between two dates that tell us the story about people and their lives.
“Picasso and the Girl with a Ponytail” written by “Laurence Anholt” is a historical fiction book that offers a glimpse into the life of the famous artist” Pablo Picasso” and a little girl who became one of his models. The story is told from the perspective of the child.
Sylvette first met Pablo Picasso in 1954, when she was a girl in the southern French town of Vallauris. At that time, she was the shyest and dreamiest girl among her friends When Picasso set up his studio in a nearby house, he spotted young Sylvette and was taken immediately by her classical profile and her lovely ponytail. When at last he convinced her to pose for what became the first of more than 40 works of art, the two gradually became good friends.
Picasso’s portraits of Sylvette later became famous around the world.
Author and illustrator Laurence Anholt captures the spirit of this warm-hearted story in words and pictures. In the process, he also introduces several of Picasso’s most famous paintings. Young readers are sure to be intrigued by how Picasso transformed Sylvette’s image into a variety of fantastic and whimsical forms.