Dominic Smith || The Last Painting of Sara de Vos

Sara de Vos never existed but could easily have existed in which she would have been one of many women who in the past was not taken seriously as a painter and would not have been allowed to paint. A single surviving painting might have hinted at her talent. Dominic Smith takes us along in the world of 17th century Dutch painting dominated by the guilds and Rembrandt. The guilds determined who was allowed to take up a profession as a painter, they determined whose career could florish. Sara de Vos is one of the lucky ones; one of her paintings is bought by a rich family and remains in the family in the centuries to come. Marty de Groot, the last living member, discovers that the painting that is hanging in his bedroom is a fraud and sets out to discover who stole the original. The trail leads to Ellie Shiphley, a young Australian art student who has a talent for restoring paintings and as it turns out for meticulously copying one. 40 Years later Ellis had made Sara the starting point of her university career which is on the verge of crashing: both original and copy are due to arrive in Sydney for an exhibition. Dominic Smith takes his readers along on the search for the truth: about the painting, about Sara de vos and about both Ellie and Marty. What I really liked about the novel was the absolute pleasure Smith must have felt in writing about the paintings, about the techniques. Something that could easily have been tedious was turned in the selling point of the novel, which if one must be true does give in to cliché. Sara, Marty and Ellie remain on the flat side, at the end everything ends well, as if it was unthinkable to plunge one of either three characters into doom. The happy ending has beaten the best ending. I think The Last Painting could been elevated to the next level by adding a touch of edge. I liked it, it was a pleasure to read but it lacked that certain amount of ‘psass’.



About booksandliliane

I am an avid reader and love to share my love for literature. I have my own opinion on books that have been shortlisted, laureated by critics or are pushed on us by bookstores. I will try and explain why I like or do not like a book. Hopefully influencing you in your choice of books to read.
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