Painter in A Savage Land

Painter in A Savage Land

The Strange Saga of the First European Artist in North America

Book - 2008
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In this vibrantly told, meticulously researched book, Miles Harvey reveals one of the most fascinating and overlooked lives in American history. LikeThe Island of Lost Maps,his bestselling book about a legendary map thief,Painter in a Savage Landis a compelling search into the mysteries of the past. This is the thrilling story of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, the first European artist to journey to what is now the continental United States with the express purpose of recording its wonders in pencil and paint. Le Moyne's images, which survive today in a series of spectacular engravings, provide a rare glimpse of Native American life at the pivotal time of first contact with the Europeans--most of whom arrived with the preconceived notion that the New World was an almost mythical place in which anything was possible. In 1564 Le Moyne and three hundred other French Protestants landed off the coast of Florida, hoping to establish the first permanent European settlement in the sprawling territory that would become the United States. Their quest ended in gruesome violence, but Le Moyne was one of the few colonists to escape, returning across the Atlantic to create dozens of illustrations of the local Native Americans--works of lasting importance to scholars. Today, he is also recognized as an influential early painter of flowers and plants. A Zelig-like persona, Le Moyne worked for some of the most prominent figures of his time, including Sir Walter Raleigh. Harvey's research, moreover, suggests a fascinating link to the notorious Mary Queen of Scots. Largely forgotten until the twentieth century, Le Moyne's pieces have become increasingly sought after in the art world--at a 2005 auction, a previously unknown book of his botanical drawings sold for a million dollars. In re-creating the life and legacy of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, Miles Harvey weaves a tale of both intellectual intrigue and swashbuckling drama. Replete with shipwrecks, mutinies, religious wars, pirate raids, and Indian attacks,Painter in a Savage Landis truly a tour de force of narrative nonfiction. Praise forPainter in a Savage Land "Inspired, beautiful, and wholly original. Miles Harvey is an archeologist of forgotten stories, a master of finding astounding characters folded into the crevices of withered documents. InPainter in a Savage Land, he has breathed life into a thrilling and unlikely tale that, in the end, connects us all."--Robert Kurson, author ofShadow DiversandCrashing Through "Like some lovable sleuth of the esoteric--a sort of scholarly Columbo--Miles Harvey has a way of stumbling onto intriguing historical tales entirely missed by others. With equal parts rigor and wonder, he has transported us to a surprising dawn-world when a bewildered Europe was making its first contacts with a bizarre and vulnerable continent."--Hampton Sides, author ofBlood and ThunderandGhost Soldiers "A fantastic brew of art, exploration and exploitation. Miles Harvey's story bristles with surprises on every page."--Laurence Bergreen, author ofMarco Polo: From Venice to XanaduandOver the Edge of the World: Magellan's Terrifying Circumnavigation of the Globe "Miles Harvey has outdone himself with this absorbing account of the life and work of a mysterious French artist who was the first European to record visual impressions of North America. Harvey's investigation into the curious life, swashbuckling adventures and enduring legacy of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues is appealing on a number of compelling levels, adeptly done with style, elegance and a sure sense of story."--Nicholas A. Basbanes, author ofA Gentle Madness, Among the Gently MadandA Splendor of Letters "Insatiable curiosi
Publisher: New York : Random House, c2008.
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9781400061204
Branch Call Number: 759.4 LE MOYNE
Characteristics: xx, 338 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm.


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Feb 24, 2017

Among the other interesting side-trails, the book describes anti-immigrant riots in London in Shakespeare's period, the immigrants being French Protestants fleeing religious prosecution in their home country.


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