HAWES, Louise. The vanishing point, a novel. Houghton Mifflin. 226p. c2004. 0-619-43423-2. $17.00. JS
This fine historical fiction falls into the category of a well-written novel that might not find many readers. It is based on the life of the painter Lavinia Fontana, who lived more than 400 years ago--her art made her famous throughout Italy and Europe even though she was
a woman. Her father taught her to paint, and her husband, also an artist, supported her talent and allowed her to pursue her dreams.
To tell the fictional account of Vini's life, just as she reveals her skill to her father and begins a relationship with the man who would become her husband, Hawes has chosen the present tense. Vini is about 14 years old, well educated, living in a household where her father takes in students. She sneaks paper any way she can and persuades Paolo, one of the students, to present her work to her father as his own and then report her father's comments back to her so she can improve her technique. Her father sees the talent, but doesn't know it...