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Bernini: His Life and His Rome Hardcover – November 15, 2011
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(Booklist starred review)
"Mormando provides enough salacious details of the scandal-ridden life of baroque artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini to keep readers turning pages in this engaging, well-researched biography. . . . Mormando’s extensive research and documentation not only will satisfy scholars and students of art history, especially baroque aficionados, but this biography will also appeal to general readers"
"There are a few artists to whom the label 'faultless' applies, and the top of that list is Bernini, architect, showman and sculptor. Franco Mormando's book shows him in full as a man for the first time, and he is as pleasing, as sweet, as interestingly ambiguous as his amazing oeuvre. This is a wonderful book to have at last."
(John Crowley, author of Aegypt and Little, Big)
“Franco Mormando’s fascinating book is a welcome addition to the Bernini literature. It is both a biography of the artist and a portrait of Roman Baroque culture. Though written for a general audience, it reveals an impressive command of the specialist scholarship—in art history, literature, and history. Mormando wears his learning lightly, writing with animation, carefully pacing his anecdotes, and making the whole as entertaining as it is informative.”
(Pamela Jones, University of Massachusetts, Boston)
"Such a publishing landmark by a lauded historian of the period is an event."
(The Tablet (UK))
About the Author
Franco Mormando is associate professor of Italian at Boston College and the author of several books.
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Top Customer Reviews
I just finished the book and I'm so happy I read it. I came at this from the standpoint of "I love this man's art so much, and it's so brilliant, that I just want to know more about the person and his life and the events that shaped him." Basically, I wanted to learn where the genius came from.
This book doesn't read like a DaVinci Code: the info itself is a little bit dry, but plugged into a narrative that is basically the story arc of Bernini's life, it has a continuity to it that makes it easy to read (vs being textbook-like). It's a biography and is constructed from many different sources.Read more ›
Most books about Bernini concentrate on his art and pay little attention to the man behind those works, failing to question the pious platitudes, omissions and distortions offered by the artist's earliest biographer: his son Domenico. Not this book! Bernini the man-in-full emerges emerges from Mormando's pages as in no other biography of the artist. Although the author is a scholar who displays an impressive command of original sources, there's not a pedantic sentence to be found. This is a highly readable book for anyone interested in Bernini and, in a wider sense, in Baroque Rome.Read more ›
For want of information about Bernini, the author tells stories of famous and shady characters of Rome whom Bernini knew or for whom he worked. These stories mostly focus on their supposed scandalous lives. Most of that information has nothing at all to do with Bernini. He is just a nail on which to hang their sordid stories.
The book reads like a tabloid about various people's gossiped-about sexuality, presented grossly. If that interests you, save money and buy a copy of the National Enquirer when you are in the grocery store next. Same kind of quality information.
If you want to learn about something wonderful and interesting, get a book about Bernini's works. They are marvelous. This book is not.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It seems Rome has never been a simple or easy place to live. This life of one of it's greatest geniuses paints that truth very well. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sirin
Intriguing story of one of history's greatest artists. But what's with all the distracting an unnecessary parentheses?Published 10 months ago by Gary S. Appel
I love this book because Bernini is one of the most famous sculptures in the art world. It also brings back memories of seeing some of his works.Published 11 months ago by historybuff41
Very well written and entertaining, but the author takes up only some 3 pages on St Peter's Square's Colonnades, the Baldacchino and the Cathedra Petri while devoting more than a... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Marcella Monico
This is a excellent book on Bernini and on Rome - from his point of view - in the 17th century. This is not a book about Bernini's art per se. Read morePublished 17 months ago by Ela
I loved this book because I have studied Bernini's art and knew nothing about him. Fast paced, excellent research. DetailedPublished on April 13, 2014 by honore david
Franco Mormando deeply researched his topic and writes in an engaging way. This is a reliable academic source. Great for any Baroque fan.Published on April 9, 2014 by Evan Smiley
This biography provides another fascinating look at how the Vatican influenced art and artists, specifically Pope Urban and Bernini in the Baroque period of history.Published on April 7, 2014 by Kaysi12