The world of fine arts has inspired numerous books over the years, from Irving Stone’s 1934 novel, Lust for Life, about the life of Vincent Van Gogh, to Girl With a Pearl Earring, Tracy Chevalier’s bestselling 1999 novel about Johannes Vermeer and the subject of his most famous painting. Here are a few recent books, reviewed by Kirkus Indie, that also draw inspiration from art and artists past.

In Joe Byrd’s debut historical novel, Monet & Oscar (2022), a young American gets a job as Claude Monet’s gardener, trying to determine if the difficult-to-know painter is, in fact, his biological father, as his mother claimed—or could Pierre-Auguste Renoir be his real dad? Kirkus’ reviewer calls the book “a poignant and historically authentic portrait of Monet, capturing his laconic, mercurial manner.”

The Bridge to Rembrandt (2021) by Nelson K. Foley tells “an entertaining yarn about time travel, infidelity, and art, executed with sure brush strokes,” according to Kirkus’ review. A man living in modern-day Amsterdam who markets reproductions of famous paintings is repeatedly thrown back into the past. Along the way, he meets past incarnations of his girlfriend, Saskia, in a narrative that eventually includes Dutch master Rembrandt van Rijn himself.

Award-winning poet Lee Woodman’s 2022 collection, Artscapes, explores numerous artworks, including music pieces, sculptures, and several paintings. For example, “Mark Rothko, I Challenge Your Claim,” interprets Rothko’s 1955 painting Untitled: “I ask you, ‘Why ‘Untitled?’ / Would you not name a friend or / a child born, 1955? Here’s what I see: / ochre-brown, black mouth screaming.” Other free-verse poems use works by Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Joan Miró, and Hieronymus Bosch as jumping-off points. Kirkus’ reviewer praises the author’s “vivid imagery and inventive wordplay” in “a richly textured collection that invites readers into the wonderful world of culture.”

David Rapp is the senior Indie editor.