Painted Veil

Alexander McCall Smith’s Art Book Bag

Alexander McCall Smith, the prolific author of the ‘No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency’ series, picks his favourite reads about the richness and secrets of the art world.

09.04.12 5:45 PM ET

Besides being the creator of the “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series, an author of more than 50 books (his novel The Importance of Being Seven from his “44 Scotland Street” series is out on paperback), an expert on bioethics and a professor of medical law at the University of Edinburgh, Alexander McCall Smith is also a big art fan. He picks his favourite reads that capture the excitement of that world.

David Hockney: the Biography
By Christopher Simon Sykes

Splash! Artists have colourful lives, and this fascinating biography reveals the interesting times of this most amusing painter.

The Lost Painting
By Jonathan Harr

Not all of us have lost paintings by Caravaggio in our parlour. But some do.

Han van Meegeren was a skilled painter who was fed up with being derided by the critics for being old-fashioned. His solution was to paint the occasional Vermeer.

Christopher Alexander is an architectural visionary. This fascinating book explores the role that shape and order play in art and in our lives.

Kimball tackles the pretentious nonsense that has been spouted by critics who import their political agenda into art history. Very funny stuff: ouch!