Everything is Happening | Granta

  • Published: 04/08/2016
  • ISBN: 9781847088086
  • 129x20mm
  • 240 pages

Everything is Happening

Michael Jacobs

Michael Jacobs was haunted by Velázquez’s enigmatic masterpiece Las Meninas from first encountering it in the Prado as a teenager. In Everything is Happening Jacobs searches for the ultimate significance of the painting by following the trails of associations from each individual character in the picture, as well as his own memories of and relationship to this extraordinary work.

From Jacobs’ first trip to Spain to the complex politics of Golden Age Madrid, to his meeting with the man who saved Las Meninas during the Spanish Civil war, via Jacobs’ experiences of the sunless world of the art history academy, Jacobs’ dissolves the barriers between the past and the present, the real and the illusory.

Cut short by Jacobs’ death in 2014, and completed with an introduction and coda of great sensitivity and insight by his friend and fellow lover of art, the journalist Ed Vulliamy, this visionary, meditative and often very funny book is a passionate, personal manifesto for the liberation of how we look at painting.

One of the great non-fiction writers of this and the last century... The story twists and turns back on Jacobs: the boyish humanity and exuberance; his wide-eyed openness to wonder; his altogether un-English rush of enthusiasm - is all on show... An exceptionally gifted writer

Simon Schama, Financial Times

Jacobs was [...] insatiably curious, always warm but never unctuous, his voracious erudition in art and history employed as a key but never a cudgel... [An] entrancing memoir

Boyd Tonkin, Independent

In a beguiling blend of art history, memoir and travel writing, the late art historian delves into the mysteries of Las Meninas - and there is more to it than meets the eye... [A] personal and passionate manifesto... Fascinating

Caroline Sanderson, ‘Editor’s Choice’, Bookseller

The Author

Michael Jacobs was born in Italy and studied art history in London and the US. He is the author of several travel books and was shortlisted for the 2004 Thomas Cook Travel Book Prize and the 2013 Dolman Travel Book Award. He lived in Spain and London. He died in January 2014.

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