by Arminius Weingarten
In this extraordinary first novel, Weingarten brilliantly recreates the eccentric world of the famous seventeenth-century Italian painter Francesco Livorno, as he produces his great masterpiece, Still Life with Vermin, in 1653. With a florid, baroque prose evocative of Livorno's own sometimes overwrought visual style, Weingarten depicts the cantankerous Old Master's struggle to create great art without the aid of modern computer software, a wife who understands his genius, or a mistress attractive enough to make a good model. Feeling compelled to focus on still lifes, Livorno prepares ever more elaborate studies, with which he is never fully satisfied, until one day a careless servant's failure to tidy up the bowls of slowly decaying fruit in the great painter's studio leads to one of the triumphs of Western Art.
Available soon in hardcover or paperback from Flibbertigibbet Press, a wholly owned subsidiary of Archelaus, producer of fine cards since October 2005 (in case that impresses anyone).