Reading Pictures looks at the work of great artists–from the intensely familiar to the undiscovered–and examines the stories behind them, tracing the passage of life into art. Pablo Picasso torments his mistress Dora Maar and then paints brilliant studies of her grief-crumpled face; these evolve into the weeping woman in his great indictment of fascism, Guernica. Manguel untangles what this story, and countless others, shows us of our twin impulses toward creation and destruction. A tour of the psyche more than of the museum, this book dares to ponder, with contagious wonder, why we create. Not since John Berger’s influential Ways of Seeing has an essayist so eloquently examined what happens when we are moved by profound works of art and how we decode a wordless language that touches us so intimately. Richly illustrated, Reading Pictures shows us that there is no limit to the stories we may find if we look with care and delight.