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Tuesday July 22, 2014
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Miles Harvey

 

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Miles Harvey's new book, Painter in a Savage Land: The Strange Saga of the First European Artist in North America, attempts to rediscover this almost forgotten artist and to re-create his life and capture a sense of his contribution. As Harvey tells us, Le Moyne seemed to have had "a knack for survival." He not only escaped the Spanish attack on the French colony by running off into the Florida forest, but also managed to find his way back to Europe with a few other men in a small and leaking boat. They were starving by the time they washed up on the coast. He survived the brutal and bloody Wars of Religion in France, when most Protestant converts were either massacred or driven from their country. It seems likely that he settled in England and, Harvey convinces us, probable that he moved with the rich and powerful, who used his illustrations of plants as models for their embroideries.

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