After finishing his powerful memoir The Return, Hisham Matar, seeking solace and pleasure, traveled to Siena, Italy. Always finding comfort and clarity in great art, Matar immersed himself in eight significant works from the Sienese School of painting, which flourished from the thirteenth to the fifteenth centuries. Artists whom he had admired throughout his life, such as Duccio and Ambrogio Lorenzetti, evoke earlier engagements he has had with works by Caravaggio and Poussin, and the personal experiences that surrounded those moments. Complete with gorgeous full-color reproductions of the artworks, A Month in Siena is about what occurred between Matar, those paintings, and the city. That month would be an extraordinary period in Matar's life: an exploration of how art can console and disturb in equal measure, as well as an intimate encounter with the city and its inhabitants. This is a gorgeous meditation on how centuries-old art can illuminate our own inner landscape--current relationships, long-lasting love, grief, intimacy, and solitude--and shed further light on the present world around us.
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