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Bernini: The Sculpture of the Roman Baroque Paperback – September 26, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; 4 edition (September 26, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714837156
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714837154
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 10 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Wittkower's (1901-71) book, first published in 1955 and updated in 1966 and 1981, derives from an Italian edition of 1900. The text, which deals chiefly with the sculptures of this multifaceted Italian artist (1598-1680), is a classic. Though some of the entries have been updated and some new plates added, the main reason for this new edition seems to be its first issuance in paperback. This, and the fact that the color plates are less than stellar, mean that all but advanced art history collections can safely pass on this edition if they have earlier ones. Avery's book takes a broader look at Bernini, covering sculpture, drawings, models in terra cotta, urbanistic projects such as fountains, and his work for St. Peter's and other Roman churches. The color photographs are better than those in the Phaidon book, where they are separate from the text; neither title offers uniformly better black-and-whites. Avery (sculpture, Victoria and Albert Museum) writes well, offers more context and comparative illustrations, and draws on material unavailable to Wittkower in shaping his text. Avery is the choice for all but the most scholarly of collections, which will want both titles.?Jack Perry Brown, Art Inst. of Chicago Lib.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

'First published in 1955, this volume has never been topped for its clarity of discourse or the stunning beauty of its reproductions. It is the black and white photographs of Bernini's breathtaking sculpture that best capture the timeless wonder of their precision and vitality.' (Booklist) 'Wittkower's Bernini rightly enjoys almost canonical status among studies of the artist and his age, as an elegant survey which provides deep insight and rests lightly on profound scholarship.' (Burlington Magazine)

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Customer Reviews

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I am very happy with the product and the service.
Bharath
Wittkower's work is simply stated an artistic anthology of the achievements and life of the chief architect of the Roman Baroque.
The Alexandrian
Beautiful pictures showing exquisite detail of his sculptures.
william s nunnally

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Mon Graffito on December 4, 2012
Format: Paperback
Length: 6:55 Mins
Phaidon does something that I've not seen before with other publishers: understands that statues are made to be looked at from various angles. This superb collection does just that, showing the works of a Master Sculptor (to my taste, better than Michelangelo) in great detail. The photos are art-photos, not just catalog photos. You can feel the photographer has a good understanding of sculpture and light and brings them together in a way that does justice to Bernini.
Another forte of the book is the text. Unlike other art books, where the writer floods you with professional information and likes to impress with his knowledge, the text in this book goes straight to the point: explains Bernini's life and the context in which his work came to life.
Watch the video I made, it will help you get a better idea of what the book has to offer. Im a great lover of Bernini and this is the first time I feel really close to his work, while turning the pages of a book. Ive seen most of his works, as I live in Rome. So it's not little to see Bernini so well represented in a book! Kudos for Phaidon!
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27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By The Alexandrian on September 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wittkower's work is simply stated an artistic anthology of the achievements and life of the chief architect of the Roman Baroque. His perseptive commentary and pertinent factual information are extremely useful to all who attempt to comprehend the complex messages behind all of Bernini's work. While the author stays committed to rendering the artist as a sculptor and architect, one wishes that Wittkower would delve more into the environment, particularly political and religious movements, that continually serve as an impetus and background to Bernini's chef d'oeuvres. Regardless, Wittkower's inclusion of both color and detailed black and white plates allow the viewer to observe the Baroque master's works in their appropriate light.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 17, 2002
Format: Paperback
Wittkower has created a book that is easily enjoyable for those familiar of Bernini, or those starting to learn about art/archetecture of the Baroque. I highly reccommend this book to anyone remotely interested in this period, as the photos are clear and the explanations are not filled with jargon a lay person could not understand. bravo.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By P. J. Owen on April 27, 2010
Format: Paperback
With a breadth and output of work rivaling that of Michelangelo, Gian Lorenzo Bernini (1598-1680) was one of the 17th century's most important artists. A devout Italian Catholic, he spent much of his life, and completed most of his work, in Rome, working under the patronage of various popes. His love of God and the spiritual intent in his work reminds me a little of JS Bach, though Bach was a lot less politically savvy. Like Bach, Bernini used his religious beliefs to reach for the sublime in his art, to take what came before and turn it into something more though the love of God.

It is probably this devotion to his faith, which included daily Mass, that led to perhaps his most revolutionary contribution to art: the synthesis of sculpture, painting, and architecture. He was concerned with the overall visual effect of a work- its theatricality- going so far as to place his sculptures at specific angles in a room to produce the desired effect. He also pioneered the use of natural light versus the standard painted light to intensify the spiritual impact of a work, most effectively employed in the Cornaro Chapel. St. Peter's Square, probably his most well-known (and seen, on television anyway) work, employs an ingenious use of the simplest classical columns, light, and open space to create a majestic place for the faithful to receive their pope.

But despite his broad artist endeavors, it is as a sculptor that Bernini will be most remembered, and which Rudolf Wittkower's classic study of the artist focuses. His sculptures rationalize the excess of the Mannerist sculptors, who reacted to the limits of the classical form by creating many extremities and multiple viewpoints.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By william s nunnally on February 26, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bernini was a pure genius, an artist of the first order. I had known nothing of him until a visit to Rome last year, and even then did not appreciate his genius until I ordered this book. Beautiful pictures showing exquisite detail of his sculptures. I also recommend going to YouTube and learning more about this extraordinary sculptor and architect.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I literally fell in love with Bernini the first time I saw his David in art history, this book has me in complete awe. The information about his works might be a little light but the imagery is fantastic. I proudly show off this book, which will remain on the coffee table to educate any visitors to my home, no matter what my wife does to "redecorate".
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The book is everything I expected and more. The person I purchased from was great to work with and they delivered as promised.
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