Artists are so interesting. Inspired! is a compilation of anecdotes about famous artists, writers, singers, actors, and a few of their muses. From scandals to ménage à trois, drug addictions, and kangaroo consumption (really!), this book has so many interesting little tidbits covering a variety of topics. I may be biased in that I love reading books that teach trivia, but seriously, this was excellent.
For example, did you know that the artist Suzanne Valadon was ground-breaking in the scandalous content of her paintings? She also fell passionately in love with a guy who was twenty years younger than her: “The relationship inspired Valadon to create Adam and Eve (1909), one of her best-known works. The painting was the first publicly exhibited depiction of a nude man and woman together by a female artist. The concept was daring- Adam and Eve unabashedly nude and running toward the viewer. The figure of Eve was a self-portrait, with Utter (her young lover) as Adam.” loc 317, ebook. Yay, Valadon!
Or did you know that Mata Hari was eventually executed as a traitor? I didn’t! “She refused to make her last confession to a priest, saying that the only thing she ever did was love men. “Harlot, yes, but traitor, never!” she said.” loc 458, ebook. Hard core.
How about the fact that Arthur Conan Doyle made even his mom mad when he killed off Sherlock Holmes? It didn’t sit well with the public. Doyle’s mother was furious with him. An avalanche of hate letters came in the mail. Rabid fans hounded Doyle on the streets of London, and an angry woman attacked him with an umbrella in broad daylight.” loc 507. Reminds me of what happened to George Lucas when he messed with the sequences in Episodes IV, V, and VI. People get mad when you do things to beloved characters of the page and screen. Still true.
The chapters are short so Bukhonina doesn’t get bogged down in the details of each story. I suppose a criticism of this book could be that she covers so many different artists, but I love short and sweet.
I highly recommend this one for trivia hounds and non-fiction devotees. Inspired! is a treat.
Thank you to NetGalley and Museyon Publishing for a free digital copy of this book. And thank you for reading!