Tiepolo Blue by James Cahill

This is the story of Professor Don Lamb at Cambridge whose area of expertise is Tiepolo’s paintings, in particular the sky and how it has classical geometry. A fairly niche area to be writing a book about. In the courtyard of his residence a modern piece of art is placed made out of found objects entitled ‘Sick Bed’. He hates it and finds himself saying more than he meant to on Radio 4 when asked about it. This starts a downward slide but also a letting go all with some machieavellian machinations from a ‘friend’.

It is hard to summarise the book because I don’t want to give away what happens but the downhill moves from a trickle to a landslide and we watch it all like a slow car crash. He leaves his post at Cambridge and takes up a Directorship at a museum where he meets Ben – a man who is his undoing in every way.

Academia is given short shrift as is the world of art in places, especially Caravaggio and modern sculpture, that which is ‘decorous yet decorative’ and Lamb starts to question what beauty is. He is an innocent abroad and taken advantage of by people out for their own ends.

A fascinating book containing that slow descent into madness.

This is one of those books where the only reviews by individual bloggers I can find are all because they have been gifted the book – for an honest review!

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