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Painter to the King Reviews

Painter to the King by Amy Sackville

Painter to the King

Amy Sackville

Score pending

2 reviews

Imprint: Granta Books
Publisher: Granta Books
Publication date: 5 Apr 2018
ISBN: 9781783783908

This is a portrait of Diego Velazquez, from his arrival at the court of King Philip IV of Spain, to his death 38 years and scores of paintings later.

  • The GuardianBook of the Year
5 stars out of 5
Sarah Perry
5 Apr 2018

"This fictional account of the artist’s life at the court of Philip IV confirms its daring author’s extraordinary gifts"

Novels about art and artistry are plentiful; many are very good. But 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 assured 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.


3 stars out of 5
Nick Rennison
7 Apr 2019

"Sackville’s prose summons up the Spanish past in rich and appropriately visual detail"

Sackville’s novel follows Diego Velazquez and his patron Philip IV through several decades of the king’s reign. Through the painter’s eyes, we are shown the splendours and the miseries of Philip’s life and court and we watch the unfolding of the artist’s genius for depicting the physical reality of that world and its inhabitants. Sackville’s prose summons up the Spanish past in rich and appropriately visual detail, although its occasional obliqueness, even opacity, works to obstruct the flow of her narrative.