24 Oct 2023
Join us at Libreria bookshop, to welcome Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Benjamin Moser, as he discusses his latest book The Upside-Down World: Meetings with the Dutch Masters.
Twenty years ago, Benjamin Moser followed a love affair to an ancient Dutch town. In order to make sense of this new place, he threw himself into the Dutch museums. Soon, he found himself unearthing the strange, inspiring and sometimes terrifying stories of the artists who shaped one of the most luminous moments in the history of human creativity, the Dutch Golden Age.
As he explored the hidden world of the Dutch Masters (and one Mistress), Moser met a crowd of fascinating personalities: the stormy Rembrandt, the intimate Ter Borch, the mysterious Vermeer. Through their art, he got to know their country, too: from Pieter Saenredam’s translucent churches to Paulus Potter’s muddy barnyards, and from Pieter de Hooch’s cosy hearths to Jacob van Ruisdael’s tragic trees. Over the years, Moser found himself on increasingly intimate terms with these centuries-dead artists, and found that they, too, were struggling with the same questions he was. Why do we make art? What is art, anyway – and what is an artist? What does it mean to succeed as an artist, and what does it mean to fail?
Benjamin Moser is the author of Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector, a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award. His work bringing Clarice Lispector to international prominence was recognized with Brazil’s State Prize for Cultural Diplomacy. His most recent book, Sontag: Her Life, won the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Utrecht, in the central Netherlands.