To celebrate world book day, here's my top 20 books inspired by artworks....

art and literature art history artists lives biography books about artists books and art creative writing famous paintings love reading reading wbd world book day Feb 28, 2022

Top 20 books about art or art inspired by books

Stories about real art: 

  1. The Goldfinch, Donna Tartt (Inspired by the painting The Goldfinch by Carel Fabritius)
  2. The Girl with a Pearl Earring, Tracey Chevalier (Inspired by Vermeer’s Painting The girl with a Pearl earring)
  3. The Di Vinci Code, Dan Brown (Inspired by various works by Leonardo Di Vinci incl Mona Lisa)
  4. On Chapel Sands, Laura Cummings  (Inspired by the painting by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus)
  5. Lust for Life, Irving stone (Based on the letters sent by Van Gogh to his brother)
  6. The Miniaturist, Jessie Burton (Based on Petronella Oortman’s Dollshouse at the Rijksmuseum)
  7. Girl reading, Katie Ward (inspired by 7 portraits of women reading)
  8. The Moon and Sixpence, W Somerset Maugham (based loosely on the life of Paul Gaugin)
  9. Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel (features the work of Hans Holbein - portrayals of the key players in the novel)
  10. The Daughter of Time, Josephine Tey (the protagonist becomes obsessed with the portrait of Richard III - artist unknown)
  11. The Birth of Venus, Sarah Dunant  (Set in turbulent Florence - the main character becomes captivated by the work of Botticelli)
  12. The Art Forger, BA Shapiro (the main character is hired to create a forgery of After the Bath, Degas)
  13. Luncheon of the Boating Party,  Susan Vreeland (based on Luncheon of the Boating Party, Renoir)
  14. The Lonely City, Olivia Laing (set in NYC and featuring works like Nighthawks, Edward Hopper)
  15. I always loved you, Robin Oliveria (the story of the romance between Mary Cassatt and Edar Degas)
  16. Rodin’s Lover,  Heather Webb (based on the story of an aspiring sculptor who falls in love with Rodin)
  17. The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving stone (Inspired by the life of Michaelangelo)
  18. The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde (Portrait by Ivan Albright)
  19. Headlong, Michael Frayne (about a long-lost painting from Pieter Bruegel “The months”)
  20. The Domain of Arnheim, Edgar Allen Poe (Inspired by Domain of Arnheim, Magritte)


Stories about fictional art: 

  1. Cats eye, Margaret Atwood (based on the lead characters art)
  2. To the Lighthouse, Virginia Woolf (based on the lead characters art)
  3. My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk (based on the miniaturists working in 
  4. Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen (the examination of the portraits at Pemberley of the family a defining part of the story)
  5. The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett (Based on a fictional portrait)
  6. Rebecca, Daphne du Maurier - (the portrait of Caroline de Winter in the White dress has a pivotal role in the story)
  7. The Horses Mouth, Joyce Carey (About a man who sacrifices everything for his art)


Art inspired by books:

  1. Ophelia, Millais (Inspired by Hamlet, Shakespeare)
  2. Mad Tea Party, Dali - (Inspired by Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll)
  3. The Lady of Shalott, John William Waterhouse (inspired by The lady of Shalott, Tennyson)
  4. Don Quixote, Picasso (inspired by Don Quixote, Cervante)
  5. Myself and My Heroes, David Hockney (Inspired by the writing of Walt Whitman and Mahatma Ghandi)

Want to join my FREE Pen and Watercolour course?

Yes Please