Groundbreaking artist Claude Lantier is ready to make his mark on the art world of Paris. Going against the artistic establishment, his painting of real people in real places draws both lavish praise and harsh criticism. In an effort to recapture his moment of glory, Claude becomes obsessed with creating a work that showcases his genius. But will the struggle to complete his masterpiece destroy everything he holds dear?
The fourteenth novel in Zola's Rougon-Macquart series, The Masterpiece is the reason why his friendship with childhood friend Paul Cézanne abruptly ended after the novel's publication in 1886. Inspired by the emerging Impressionist movement, the characters are composites of some of the greatest painters of the time, as well as the writer himself.
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