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Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – November 28, 2006


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Product Details

  • Series: New York Review Books Classics
  • Paperback: 344 pages
  • Publisher: NYRB Classics (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590172132
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590172131
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #884,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The Wittkowers' entertaining and micro-informed study dissects the pervasive image of the moody, alienated artist. Cautious and provocative, presuming to balance theory and anecdote by happily indulging the latter, Born Under Saturn reads like Vasari's Lives of the Artists rewritten as an appendix to Burton--a colorful tour of eccentricity and genius, populated by all manner of rogues, gentlemen, pennypinchers, hypochondriacs, and enduring masters. Every page has a diverting tale, and the cumulative effect sets the reader's mind reeling." --Modern Painters

“[The authors] have had a wonderful time and so should the reader…Their feat is impressive enough as it stands in this giant popcorn-ball of a book, where surely all the anecdotes and existing documents about artists over a period of some 2,000 years have been stuck together with the syrup of scholarship…into a mass at once unusual, tasty and nourishing...Born Under Saturn is good reading…”–John Canaday, The New York Times Book Review

“Artists are just like people, only more so is the implied conclusion of this delightful, scholarly and gossipy romp through the character and conduct of artists from antiquity to the French Revolution.”–The New York Times (Review of Notable Books of the Year, 1963)

“The Wittkowers…have filled this authoritative contribution to the understanding of creative man with dozens of good stories about great artists and freaks, fools and men of destiny…The blatant, the incomparable, the boorish, the bland and the bizarre pass under review here in an enormously interesting parade.”–Charles Poore, The New York Times

“[F]ascinating to read because of the abundant quotations which bring to life so many remarkable individuals”–The New York Review of Books

About the Author

RUDOLF WITTKOWER (1901-1971) was a German-American art historian. He was on the staff of the Warburg Institute, London, and became professor at the University of London. He then headed the Department of Fine Arts and Archaeology at Columbia. His highly original works in English include Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism, Art and Architecture in Italy, 1600—1750, Essays in the History of Architecture, Essays in the History of Art, and Baroque Art: The Jesuit Contribution.

MARGOT WITTKOWER (1902-1995) was born in Berlin and established herself as an interior designer. After moving to London with her husband, she became an expert on neo-Palladian architecture. She collaborated on a number of books with her husband, including Born Under Saturn and The Divine Michelangelo.

JOSEPH CONNORS is past Director of the American Academy in Rome, and currently is Professor of Art History, Columbia University.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By GiovanniGF on September 21, 2012
Format: Paperback
Despite the authors' insistence that they don't want the book to be a collection of meandering (and contradictory) anecdotes, it's largely what it is. And that's what makes this hilarious, gossipy, and slightly cracked book so great.
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Format: Paperback
The commenter who writes that the book is boring misses that this is a very exciting book--not to mention misses the fact that the "bits and pieces" of information are not something to complain about, but to enjoy. More, they support the general thesis that artists come in all stripes. Rather than there being a constant artistic temperament or constitution that transcends the ages, artists have ranged from being mad as hatters to being astutely calculating businessmen. This may sound obvious to some, but it needed proving, and the Wittkowers do it. They soundly rebut the unacknowledged modern and contemporary assumption that artists as a class are somehow weird or at least radically different from everyone else. A truly great book--one I have enjoyed simply for pleasure and, as a university professor, a book I've used as a course textbook, on multiple occasions, with great success.
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0 of 9 people found the following review helpful By MeraLee Goldman on June 12, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bits and pieces of information in a random style---lots f scholarship here, but not a very useful or informative textbook
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Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists (New York Review Books Classics)
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