Lion and Leopard
Lion and Leopard
The Head & The Hand Press, Paperback, 9780989312516, 360pp.
Publication Date: November 12, 2013
List Price: $18.00*
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Fiction. Art History. In Nathaniel Popkin's novel LION AND LEOPARD, the tragic demise of John Lewis Krimmel marks a flashpoint point between the young artist's European-influenced Romanticism and the Philadelphia art establishment long dominated by the formidable portraitist Charles Willson Peale. Peale's single-minded crusade to define American art through a dogma of reason and moral clarity clashes with the self-taught Krimmel's subversive notion that art must seduce the viewer not lecture her and it must touch the realm of the unknown. But how far will Krimmel go to spread his heresy? Spurned by Peale and his son Rembrandt, Krimmel aligns himself with the black sheep of the Peale family, Raphaelle, a master of deception. When Krimmel finishes a painting so intriguing that it is acquired by the art collector Joseph Bonaparte, brother of Napoleon, Krimmel is accused by his powerful enemies of being a fraud. This sets off a maelstrom of events leading to a tragic fire, accusations of plagiarism, and a fateful confrontation with Peale that will have unthinkable consequences. Throughout these clashes between fathers and sons, peers and rivals, lovers and mentors, Popkin uses a vibrant framework of collected fictional narratives to illuminate for the reader a pivotal period when American art and culture were in their infancy.