Painter to the King | Granta

  • Published: 04/04/2019
  • ISBN: 9781783783922
  • 129x20mm
  • 336 pages

Painter to the King

Amy Sackville

This is a portrait of Diego Velázquez, from his arrival at the court of King Philip IV of Spain, to his death 38 years and scores of paintings later. It is a portrait of a relationship that is not quite a friendship, between an artist and his subject. It is a portrait of a ruler, always on duty, and increasingly burdened by a life of public expectation and repeated private grief. And it is a portrait of a court collapsing under the weight of its own excess.

Unfolding through series of masterly set-pieces and glancing sketches, this is a novel of brilliance, imagination and sheer style — about what is shown and what is seen, about art and life.

Sackville's third novel is the most confident expression yet of her extraordinary gifts... an entirely immersive book...This is one of the finest historical novels of recent years

Sarah Perry, Guardian

What especially thrills is Sackville's style, which revels in risk and play ... In Painter to the King Sackville has written not only by far the finest novel of its kind that I have ever read, but one of the finest historical novels of recent years. For her skill and daring, her grasp of both subject and form, and her masterly chiaroscuro of human failure and endeavour, she is as distinct among her peers as Velázquez was among his

Sarah Perry, Guardian

Working in luminous and meticulous prose, Sackville achieves an almost miraculous intimacy with her subject. Painter to the King is the most engrossing fictional study of visual art I have ever encountered, giving us not only a persuasive account of Velázquez's formation and milieu but a ravishing survey of the very substances and textures of his sensory world. It is, in its own right, an astonishing work of art

Paraic O'Donnell

The Author

Amy Sackville was born in 1981. She studied English and Theatre Studies at Leeds, and went on to an MPhil in English at Exeter College, Oxford, and last year completed the MA in Creative & Life Writing at Goldsmiths. She is the author of The Still Point (which won the John Llewellyn Rhys award and was longlisted for the Orange Prize) and Orkney which won a Somerset Maugham Award.

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Painter to the King

Amy Sackville

This is an excerpt from Painter to the King, Amy Sackville's account of the life of Diego Velázquez. Now available from Granta Books.