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Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art (P.S.) by…

Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art (P.S.) (edition 2012)

by Christopher Moore

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Title:Sacre Bleu: A Comedy D'Art (P.S.)
Authors:Christopher Moore
Info:William Morrow & Company (2012), Edition: Reissue, Paperback, 403 pages
Collections:Your library

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Sacré Bleu: A Comedy d'Art by Christopher Moore

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Christopher Moore must have a very interesting mind. He comes up with the most amazing ideas for novels. They are always farfetched and involved but great fun to read (except for his vampire novels; even Christopher Moore can't get me to enjoy vampires). This book is true to form.

Set in Paris during the late 1800s, Moore speculates about the inspiration to paint for a stellar group of artists including Vincent Van Gogh, Camille Pissarro, Henri Toulouse-Lautrec, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Monet, Manet, Seurat, Whistler, Turner and many more. In this book, a young and beautiful woman (but not the same woman) was responsible for inspiring some of the greatest works these artists did. The woman most often was a model and she was associated with a gnarled older man who supplied paints for the artists. This man, called simply The Colorman, was especially known for his ultramarine blue which was the colour the Catholic Church dictated the cloak of the Virgin Mary must be. The colour or perhaps the girl or perhaps the two together seemed to cause rational men to become dissolute and obsessed and men who had a less sure grip on reality became insane. A young baker who aspired to be a painter, Lucien Lessard, was determined to solve the mystery together with Toulouse-Lautrec. They both have had brushes with The Colorman and each has painted stunning works with his ultramarine blue. Their models, different women, were also their lovers and they were besotted to the point of losing time while with them.

As one example of Moore's wit I present this dialogue which took place between Lucien and Henri as they prepare to enter the catacombs following The Colorman:

"Toulouse-Lautrec unfolded the map until he had revealed the seventh level below the city, then looked to Lucien. 'It follows the streets as if on the surface.'
'Yes, but with fewer cafes, more corpses, and it's dark, of course.'
'Oh, wll then, we'll just pretend we're visiting London.' "

I recommend this book which should entertain you and also educate. The hardback I read also had copies of pictures painted by the various artists throughout the book which certainly added to the reading experience. ( )
  gypsysmom | Oct 11, 2015 |
The Sacred Blue: the only colour acceptable for the Virgin Mary’s cloak, the only colour on the artist’s palette not easily found in nature and allegedly the cause of the demise of many artists throughout history. After the apparent suicide of Vincent van Gogh grief stricken friends baker/artist Lucien Lessard and man-about-town/artist Henri Toulouse-Lautrec begin to suspect all is not as it should be in gay Paree. Added to the mix every known impressionist painter, the Moulin Rouge, baguettes, a mysterious “colour-man”, a blue Muse and a liberal dose of cognac and you get Mr. Moore’s humorous look at 19th century impressionism.

I found this book to be a little step away from Mr. Moore’s usual offering. It definitely smacks of a firm knowledge or diligent research into the Impressionist movement and Paris at the time. Where his other books are bawdy and raucous to the core this one seems a mellower. Don’t get me wrong there are still the obligatory “boobie” and penis jokes for die-hard fans. But this book seems a step out in faith. Mr. Moore has a large and divergent fan base and this book deals with a very specific time period and an equally specific number of real people. Rarely is the period of an art movement as well documented at the Impressionists … photography was available, their works populate current galleries and vast documents still exist … Mr. Moore was brave to tackle it. I also feel that unless the reader has a better than passing familiarity with the artists and works included some of the “inside jokes” might be lost. Only Christopher Moore would refer to “La Grand Jatte” as “the painting of the little monkey in the park”.

I love the Impressionists and thoroughly enjoyed this book. A very forgiving sense of humour for subjects near and dear to your heart is definitely required as Mr. Moore carries on the tradition he established with his previous offerings; “Lamb” and "Fool” proving yet again that nothing is sacred … in this case, not even the colour blue.
( )
2 vote ChristineEllei | Jul 14, 2015 |
This was a weird one! Moore combines fairy tale and art history to give us a glimpse into the lives of the Realist and Impressionist painters, circa 1840 to 1900. He starts with the premise that they were crazy, probably due to something in the paint, like a chemical or toxin. Then he gives us a lesson in color and pigment, specifically ultramarine blue, a very rare and hard-to-produce shade. The spin he puts on how the artists got their inspiration is pretty imaginative, suggesting that a beautiful muse and a secretive colorman (think drug pusher) were the driving forces behind the creation of hundreds of works of art. Unfortunately, Moore’s schoolboy fantasies get in the way: the too frequent use of the words penis, dick, boink, and bonk, all ostensibly the colorman's obsession, make the story sophomoric. Not to mention that the latter 2 didn’t come into use until the 20th century! Read it for the art history lesson then visit a museum and enjoy the artists' genius, however it was achieved. ( )
  sushitori | Jun 14, 2015 |
An alternate look at art, inspiration and the color blue.
This is my first Christopher Moore book and it was a rocky start. I never really liked Lucien Lessard or the characters of Juliette or the Colorman so when they were on the page the story just dragged to a halt and was hard to get through. But when the author focused on Toulouse-Lautrec, Renoir, Monet or Pissaro the words and story sprang to life and I tore through the book...until it focused on Lucien again...the second half of the book spent a lot more time with Toulouse-Lautre with Lucien and that helped a great deal. To me it really feels as though the author WANTED to spend time with the actual artists and their world but HAD to spend time with Lucien and the others so those sections of the book are full of life and color and the rest are a bit flat.

The story itself was interesting, if not to hard to figure out where it was going and I loved the feel of Paris and the time period the author created, I just wish the original characters he created felt as life like as the world he put them in. ( )
  Kellswitch | May 14, 2015 |
meh. sort of funny, but the humor seems a little forced.
another variation on what seems to be becoming Morre's standard plot:
supernatural being (muse, vampire, ...) falls in love with human. ( )
  amareshjoshi | Mar 29, 2015 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Mooreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Morton, EuanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I always feel like a traveler, going somewhere, toward some destination. If I sense that this destination doesn't in fact exist, that seems to me quite reasonable and very likely true. -Vincent van Gogh, July 22, 1988

Well, I have risked my life for my work, and it has cost me half my reason-- -Vincent van Gogh, July 23, 1890
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This is a story about the color blue.
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Book description
In July 1890, Vincent van Gogh went into a cornfield and shot himself. Or did he? Why would an artist at the height of his creative powers attempt to take his own life . . . and then walk a mile to a doctor's house for help? Who was the crooked little "color man" Vincent had claimed was stalking him across France? And why had the painter recently become deathly afraid of a certain shade of blue?

These are just a few of the questions confronting Vincent's friends—baker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrec—who vow to discover the truth about van Gogh's untimely death. Their quest will lead them on a surreal odyssey and brothel-crawl deep into the art world of late nineteenth-century Paris.

Oh lÀ lÀ, quelle surprise, and zut alors! A delectable confection of intrigue, passion, and art history—with cancan girls, baguettes, and fine French cognac thrown in for good measure—SacrÉ Bleu is another masterpiece of wit and wonder from the one, the only, Christopher Moore.
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Baker-turned-painter Lucien Lessard and bon vivant Henri Toulouse-Lautrec vow to discover the truth behind the untimely death of their friend Vincent van Gogh, which leads them on a surreal odyssey and brothel-crawl deep into the art world of late-nineteenth-century Paris.… (more)

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