100 books like Rembrandt

By Emmanuel Starcky,

Here are 100 books that Rembrandt fans have personally recommended if you like Rembrandt. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Magic of M.C. Escher

Alan Pierce Author Of An Artist's Odyssey: Chasing Ghosts, Masters & The Business of Art

From my list on Maestros of the art world and prisms of thought.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first started art when I was nine years old, but my art journey really started after seeing the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s work at age 14. This experience changed my life and from there, I continued on with fourteen years of formal art education. The book details my experience and journey as a student, instructor, and professional artist over a thirty-year time period across three continents. I wrote An Artist’s Odyssey to help young artists or artists transitioning into art as a profession to help them avoid the pitfalls of the art world and supplement the necessary business acumen required to make a sustainable career in the art world.

Alan's book list on Maestros of the art world and prisms of thought

Alan Pierce Why did Alan love this book?

For me, this book was a real education. It provided insight into how the greatest artists strive to break the rules and find interest in juxtapositioning different versions of reality and fantasy.  The perfect summation, to me, of what Escher strived to do is communicated in this quote, “My topics are often playful too. I cannot stop fiddling around with our incontestable certainty. It is a pleasure, for example, to deliberately mingle two- and three-dimensions, flat and spatial and to poke fun at gravity.” One of the main takeaways from this book is to always strive to reimagine reality, break rules, be playful, and never be afraid to fail.  

By J.L. Locher,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Magic of M.C. Escher as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As beautiful and rigorous as an Escher work itself, this book is the classic study of a great maverick who so memorably linked the world of imagemaking with geometry and paradox. Escher's works, from the great master prints to numerous drawings, are brilliantly arranged to form a cinematic journey of discovery that reveals the magical world of the artist's mind, an uncharted realm lush with exotic conceptions and inventions.


Book cover of The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing: A Contemporary Perspective On the Classical Tradition

Alan Pierce Author Of An Artist's Odyssey: Chasing Ghosts, Masters & The Business of Art

From my list on Maestros of the art world and prisms of thought.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first started art when I was nine years old, but my art journey really started after seeing the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s work at age 14. This experience changed my life and from there, I continued on with fourteen years of formal art education. The book details my experience and journey as a student, instructor, and professional artist over a thirty-year time period across three continents. I wrote An Artist’s Odyssey to help young artists or artists transitioning into art as a profession to help them avoid the pitfalls of the art world and supplement the necessary business acumen required to make a sustainable career in the art world.

Alan's book list on Maestros of the art world and prisms of thought

Alan Pierce Why did Alan love this book?

I bought this book twenty years ago and still love this book. It is such a clear and beautifully illustrated book with a very strong explanation of the different elements of drawing the human figure and how to render with powerful volume and gesture. It is a great learning tool for artists of all ages and experiences to learn from, be inspired by or just review basic principles of drawing the human figure. The way that Anthony Ryder uses colored paper as the midtone is one of the easiest and most visually powerful ways to add character and depth to any drawing. 

By Anthony Ryder,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many of us want to learn "how to draw." But as artist Anthony Ryder explains, it's much more important to learn what to draw. In other words, to observe and draw what we actually see, rather than what we think we see. When it comes to drawing the human figure, this means letting go of learned ideas and expectation of what the figure should look like. It means carefully observing the interplay of form and light, shape and line, that combine to create the actual appearance of human form. In The Artist's Complete Guide to Figure Drawing, amateur and experienced…


Book cover of Dalí. The Paintings

Alan Pierce Author Of An Artist's Odyssey: Chasing Ghosts, Masters & The Business of Art

From my list on Maestros of the art world and prisms of thought.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first started art when I was nine years old, but my art journey really started after seeing the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s work at age 14. This experience changed my life and from there, I continued on with fourteen years of formal art education. The book details my experience and journey as a student, instructor, and professional artist over a thirty-year time period across three continents. I wrote An Artist’s Odyssey to help young artists or artists transitioning into art as a profession to help them avoid the pitfalls of the art world and supplement the necessary business acumen required to make a sustainable career in the art world.

Alan's book list on Maestros of the art world and prisms of thought

Alan Pierce Why did Alan love this book?

Dalí. The Paintings is one of the most complete compilations of works I’ve seen, and it includes the examination of one of the most prolific and controversial figures in art. Salvador Dali is a genius. He took his artistic skill and vision across so many different genres of the arts. The book is a fascinating journey into his mind and work. I learned a tremendous amount regarding composition, palette and tone decisions, and of course realism. I loved the idea that you can inspire the mind, leading it into new thought patterns by presenting something that is different or strange. 

By Robert Descharnes, Gilles Néret,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dalí. The Paintings as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Painter, sculptor, writer, and filmmaker, Salvador Dali (1904-1989) was one of the century's greatest exhibitionists and eccentrics-and was rewarded with fierce controversy wherever he went. He was one of the first to apply the insights of Sigmund Freud and psychoanalysis to the art of painting, approaching the subconscious with extraordinary sensitivity and imagination.

This publication presents the artist's painted oeuvre. After many years of research, Robert Descharnes and Gilles Neret finally located the paintings of this highly prolific artist. Many of the works had been inaccessible for years-in fact so many that almost half the illustrations in this book had…


Book cover of Bernini: The Sculptor of the Roman Baroque

Alan Pierce Author Of An Artist's Odyssey: Chasing Ghosts, Masters & The Business of Art

From my list on Maestros of the art world and prisms of thought.

Why am I passionate about this?

I first started art when I was nine years old, but my art journey really started after seeing the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo’s work at age 14. This experience changed my life and from there, I continued on with fourteen years of formal art education. The book details my experience and journey as a student, instructor, and professional artist over a thirty-year time period across three continents. I wrote An Artist’s Odyssey to help young artists or artists transitioning into art as a profession to help them avoid the pitfalls of the art world and supplement the necessary business acumen required to make a sustainable career in the art world.

Alan's book list on Maestros of the art world and prisms of thought

Alan Pierce Why did Alan love this book?

Bernini shows the culmination of the Baroque era in which the artist himself played a significant part in forming and exposing how art can be an intersection between painting, sculpture, and architecture. The level of detail and expression that he can imbue his sculptures with is an experience in itself. The book also gives insight into his process, internal rules, and definitions of art as well as the historical context behind many of his works. His larger works, along with his smaller, far more personal portrait busts, are all detailed with rich photography showcasing the incredible detail of his work. 

By Rudolph Wittkower,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bernini as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) was the greatest and most influential sculptor of his age. Endlessly inventive and gifted with extraordinary skill, he virtually created the Baroque style. In his religious sculptures he excelled at capturing movement and extreme emotion, uniting figures with their setting to create a single conception of overwhelming intensity that perfectly expressed the fervour of Counter-Reformation Rome. Intensity and drama also characterize his remarkable portraits and his world-famous Roman fountains.

Rudolf Wittkower's classic monograph and catalogue raisonne has been the standard established work on Bernini since 1955. It is now available in an updated and expanded edition.…


Book cover of Con/Artist: The Life and Crimes of the World's Greatest Art Forger

Tim Maleeny Author Of Hanging the Devil

From my list on planning an art heist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by art, not just the paintings themselves but their historical significance, the personalities behind the canvas, and the seemingly arbitrary value placed on one artist’s work versus another. Writing my latest novel, Hanging the Devil, was a chance to delve into the illicit side of the art world, where forgers and smugglers consort with organized crime. I’ve been an award-winning mystery author for more than a decade—this is my sixth novel—and the great thing about writing crime fiction is the chance to get lost in the research and learn something new, so writing this novel was a great excuse to visit museums, talk to experts, and plan a heist!

Tim's book list on planning an art heist

Tim Maleeny Why did Tim love this book?

Tony Tetro is one of the most successful art forgers in history and a character straight out of a movie, with a devil-may-care attitude towards his fast life among the rich, famous, and fraudulent.

His talents have fooled expert appraisers and wealthy collectors for years, including Prince (now King) Charles, who acquired paintings by Tetro thinking they were authentic works of art by Picasso, Dali, Monet, and Chagall. There are likely hundreds of his forged paintings currently hanging in museums and galleries—or displayed in private collections—authenticated as originals.

Read about his secret stash room hidden behind a mirror, his reckless disregard for consequences, and his jaundiced view of the victims of his many cons, and you’ll swear you’re reading a novel versus nonfiction. 

The key to writing a novel is to make the characters as real as possible, with all the many contradictions we find in ourselves, in order to…

By Tony Tetro, Giampiero Ambrosi,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Con/Artist as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The world's most renowned art forger reveals the secrets behind his decades of painting like the Masters-exposing an art world that is far more corrupt than we ever knew while providing an art history lesson wrapped in sex, drugs, and Caravaggio.The art world is a much dirtier, nastier business than you might expect. Tony Tetro, one of the most renowned art forgers in history, will make you question every masterpiece you've ever seen in a museum, gallery, or private collection. Tetro's "Rembrandts," "Caravaggios," "Miros," and hundreds of other works now hang on walls around the globe. In 2019, it was…


Book cover of Rembrandt's Eyes

Hugh Aldersey-Williams Author Of Dutch Light

From my list on understanding the Dutch Golden Age.

Why am I passionate about this?

In my writing about science, I am always keen to include the artistic and literary dimension that links the science to the broader culture. In Huygens, a product of the Dutch Golden Age, I found a biographical subject for whom it would have been quite impossible not to embrace these riches. This context – including painting, music, poetry, mechanics, architecture, gardens, fashion and leisure – is crucial to understanding the life that Huygens led and the breakthroughs he was able to make.

Hugh's book list on understanding the Dutch Golden Age

Hugh Aldersey-Williams Why did Hugh love this book?

His earlier and best-known book, The Embarrassment of Riches, may offer a more comprehensive synopsis of the culture of the Dutch Republic’s Golden Age, including everything from the fashions, drinking and dice games that paradoxically thrived amid the strictures of Calvinism to the interpretations placed on passing natural events such as comets in the sky or the appearance of a whale on the beach. But Schama here gives us a loving and humane portrait of its greatest artist, doing in words what Rembrandt did in paint for his subjects, presenting his humanity with truth and dignity enlivened by inimitable splashes of colour and brilliant strokes of the pen. Using the paintings themselves as his window, Schama allows us not only to see back in time to this astonishing period, but to view it as those who lived through it must have seen it.

By Simon Schama,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rembrandt's Eyes as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This dazzling, unconventional biography shows us why, more than three centuries after his death, Rembrandt continues to exert such a hold on our imagination. Deeply familiar to us through his enigmatic self-portraits, few facts are known about the Leiden miller's son who tasted brief fame before facing financial ruin (he was even forced to sell his beloved wife Saskia's grave). The true biography of Rembrandt, as Simon Schama demonstrates, is to be discovered in his pictures. Interweaving of seventeenth-century Holland, Schama allows us to see Rembrandt in a completely fresh and original way.


Book cover of Old Scores

Jennifer S. Alderson Author Of The Lover's Portrait

From my list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art.

Why am I passionate about this?

Europe’s finest masterpieces drew me from Seattle, Washington to the Netherlands, where I earned a master’s degree in art history. During my study, the restitution of artwork that had been looted during WWII was a hot topic, and one that deeply fascinated me. Ultimately, my classes and work for several Dutch cultural institutions inspired me to write my series of art history mysteries.

Jennifer's book list on amateur sleuths searching for lost art

Jennifer S. Alderson Why did Jennifer love this book?

No list about mysteries involving missing art can exclude Aaron Elkins! He is the author of several art history mystery novels revolving around a museum professional searching for artwork lost during World War II. Old Scores is no exception. This borderline cozy mystery novel is a clever art history mystery about forgeries, the worth and perception of art, and what some will do to 'make it' in the art world. 

By Aaron Elkins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Old Scores as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A notorious French art dealer is murdered in this "thoroughly entertaining" mystery by the Edgar Award-winning author of the Gideon Oliver series (Kirkus Reviews).

It is a headline-making story: the discovery of a previously unknown Rembrandt. Rene Vachey, the iconoclastic art dealer who claims to have uncovered it, wants to make a gift of it to the Seattle Art Museum, but curator Chris Norgren is wary. Vachey is notorious in art circles for perpetrating scandalous shams; not for profit but for the sheer fun of embarrassing the elite and snobbish "experts" of the art establishment. And thanks to the web…


Book cover of Stealing Rembrandts: The Untold Stories of Notorious Art Heists

Tim Maleeny Author Of Hanging the Devil

From my list on planning an art heist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by art, not just the paintings themselves but their historical significance, the personalities behind the canvas, and the seemingly arbitrary value placed on one artist’s work versus another. Writing my latest novel, Hanging the Devil, was a chance to delve into the illicit side of the art world, where forgers and smugglers consort with organized crime. I’ve been an award-winning mystery author for more than a decade—this is my sixth novel—and the great thing about writing crime fiction is the chance to get lost in the research and learn something new, so writing this novel was a great excuse to visit museums, talk to experts, and plan a heist!

Tim's book list on planning an art heist

Tim Maleeny Why did Tim love this book?

Rembrandt was incredibly prolific and well known in his lifetime, unlike so many artists whose fame only followed their deaths.

Both his reputation and the value of his paintings have continued to grow in the centuries since he died, so the combination of ubiquity and name recognition makes Rembrandt’s paintings particularly attractive to art thieves.

Quickly recognizable and easily appraised, a stolen Rembrandt is exactly the kind of black market currency professional criminals value most, whether using it for collateral during a deal, holding it for ransom until the museum pays, or selling it illicitly to a private collector.

One of the stolen masterpieces in my novel is a Rembrandt, so this book was invaluable in understanding the ambition and scope of modern art crimes. The problem of profiting off something that everyone knows is stolen turns out to be a minor challenge if you know the perfidious players working…

By Anthony M. Amore, Tom Mashberg,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Stealing Rembrandts as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Art security expert Anthony M. Amore and award-winning investigative reporter Tom Mashberg reveal the actors behind the major Rembrandt heists in the last century. Through thefts around the world - from Stockholm to Boston - the authors track daring entries and escapes from the world's most renowned museums. There are robbers who coolly walk off with multimillion dollar paintings; self-styled art experts who fall in love with the Dutch master and desire to own his art at all costs; and international criminal masterminds who don't hesitate to resort to violence.


Book cover of Happiness Is an Imaginary Line in the Sand

Lisa McCourt Author Of Free Your Joy: The Twelve Keys to Sustainable Happiness

From my list on igniting joy despite all the crap in your life.

Why am I passionate about this?

I wasn’t always a joyful person. But today I’m freaking sunshine, and full-out committed to being an effective member of the team that’s elevating the level of love and joy in the world! My positions on that team have included writing dozens of mega-selling books (my own, and as a ghostwriter), founding my online Joy School at LisaMcCourt.com, hosting my Do Joy! podcast, and collaborating on projects with many other popular teachers of consciousness and joyful living. My books have sold over 9 million copies, earned 7 publishing industry awards, and garnered over 9,000 glowing Amazon reviews. Joy is my jam. I know a joyful book when I read one! 

Lisa's book list on igniting joy despite all the crap in your life

Lisa McCourt Why did Lisa love this book?

Two of my favorite things in the world combine to make this one of my favorite books of all time.

The first is reading something that inspires that sacred moment of recognition; a glimpse into the vulnerable heart of an author sharing a slice of humanness that makes me nod my head in recognition of that bit of humanness within me as well. The second is wildly skillful word-weaving mastery for conveying such insights.

This collection of tender, poignant essays zings right into my heart and fills me with compassion and admiration for us beleaguered, hopeful inhabitants of Earth. A brilliant, honest, and ultimately optimistic observation of the human condition.

By Thomas Lloyd Qualls,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Happiness Is an Imaginary Line in the Sand as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this collection of observations, contemplations, and insights, award-winning author Thomas Lloyd Qualls offers a down-to-earth oracle to help decipher the riddles of modern life.

Part field notes from a seeker's journey and part teachings of a would-be monk who doesn't get to live on the side of a mountain, Happiness Is an Imaginary Line in the Sand is convincing in its stubborn insistence that a better world is not only possible, but within our grasp.

The author lives not in a cloistered world of saffron robes, but is knee deep in the muddiness of life. A lawyer who represents…


Book cover of Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures

Tim Maleeny Author Of Hanging the Devil

From my list on planning an art heist.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve always been fascinated by art, not just the paintings themselves but their historical significance, the personalities behind the canvas, and the seemingly arbitrary value placed on one artist’s work versus another. Writing my latest novel, Hanging the Devil, was a chance to delve into the illicit side of the art world, where forgers and smugglers consort with organized crime. I’ve been an award-winning mystery author for more than a decade—this is my sixth novel—and the great thing about writing crime fiction is the chance to get lost in the research and learn something new, so writing this novel was a great excuse to visit museums, talk to experts, and plan a heist!

Tim's book list on planning an art heist

Tim Maleeny Why did Tim love this book?

Robert K. Wittman is the founder of the FBI Art Crime Team, and any one of his undercover adventures could be the plot for a box office thriller. Over the course of his career Wittman not only recovered hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth a stolen property, he protected priceless masterpieces from being lost forever. 

When I first began doing research for a novel about art theft, it was clear the global market for stolen masterpieces is incredibly complex, an underground network of smugglers, master forgers, and organized crime syndicates. To get my facts straight I needed a navigator, and this book immediately put me on the right track.

Wittman’s backstory and relentless drive to make art crime a priority within the FBI, as Italy has done with its Carabinieri Art Squad, is an inspiring story on its own, and many of his cases would feel right at home in…

By Robert K Wittman, John Shiffman,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Priceless as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Wall Street Journal called him “a living legend.” The London Times dubbed him “the most famous art detective in the world.”
 
In Priceless, Robert K. Wittman, the founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career for the first time, offering a real-life international thriller to rival The Thomas Crown Affair.   
 
Rising from humble roots as the son of an antique dealer, Wittman built a twenty-year career that was nothing short of extraordinary. He went undercover, usually unarmed, to catch art thieves, scammers, and black market traders in Paris and Philadelphia, Rio and…


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