There have been several historically based novels, as well as Biographies of noted artists in the last year. A common complaint has often been the lack of illustrations in general, and the very few color plates in particular. Full color plates are extremely expensive, and are often scarce in a work for that reason alone. Major books on an artists works can be extremely expensive, and almost prohibitively so, when what is desired is a companion reference to another book.
The volume I comment on here pertains to Vermeer as it makes books like "Girl With A Pearl Earring", "The Music Lesson", and "Girl In Hyacinth Blue" more enjoyable. This comment is not meant to detract from any of the works mentioned. These great reference works allow the reader to quickly find full color illustrations of the paintings mentioned in the books, together with additional information on the pieces themselves. These books add to the reading experience, they supplement, they do not replace.
There are dozens of these available on a variety of Artists. Caravaggio is another painter who has been written about extensively, and the books, even when they did have color plates, only a fraction of what was referred to in the book was shown. Often illustrations are offered in black and white, and while better than nothing, they are barely that, for these artists chose color, and to appreciate/understand their work, color is a prerequisite.
The alternative is either very expensive coffee table books, or handfuls of airline tickets to globe trot to the location of the works. The latter is certainly the best, but for just under $10.00, these are much more efficient.