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THE VANISHING POINT by Louise Hawes

THE VANISHING POINT

By Louise Hawes

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: Sept. 27th, 2004
ISBN: 0-618-43423-2
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Lavinia Fontana, daughter of the painter Prospero Fontana, made lush Renaissance paintings that were sought after in 16th-century Italy. Hawes takes what is known of her life and creates a fictionalized tale of a complicated adolescence. Vini, as Hawes calls her, enlists one of her father’s apprentices to filch paper and chalk for her, as she needs to draw like she needs food or air. Her pompous father is dismissive of her and of her fragile mother, and it takes half of the story for Vini to confront him with her longing to be an artist and how she has worked to learn her craft. Hawes writes in the present tense, constructing it with an awkward dream sequence about a puppet theatre intersecting the text. That said, it has romance, pathos, and rather a lot about Renaissance painting techniques and methods of study. Flawed but vivid. (Historical fiction. 12+)