This enthralling book views the lives and greatest works of the Renaissance masters through the prism of their ardent rivalry. Rona Goffen, one of the most highly respected scholars of the Italian Renaissance today, brings Michelangelo, Leonardo, Raphael, and Titian to life in this lively account of their passionate strivings to outdo both living competitors and the masters of antiquity.
“Who would have thought that the serene masterpieces of the High Renaissance owed so much of their vitality to backstage brawling? Only Rona Goffen knows enough to trace these labyrinthine rivalries. In her book the artists take on cinematic vitality, making us see the artifacts produced by such creative brawlers in entirely new ways. They are knockouts. So is her book.”—Garry Wills
“A handsome, copiously illustrated book.”—Virginia Quarterly Review“This lively and appealing book is an important achievement. . . . Magnificently researched and handsomely produced, Renaissance Rivals advances the discussion of a central aspect of early modern culture. In doing so, it has no rivals.”—Werner Gundersheimer, American Scholar
Claiming that rivalry was an important part of Renaissance culture, Goffen (art history, Rutgers Univ.; Giovanni Bellini) traces the key competitions of the era to that between Ghiberti and Brunelleschi for the commission to design the bronze doors of the Florence Baptistery. The history of four artists is told through the feuds, rivalries, competitions, and contests that dominated their lives. Michelangelo dominates Goffen's treatment, much as he did the 16th century. Though focusing on the trio of artists (Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael) who worked primarily in Rome and Florence as well as the Venetian master Titian, Goffen also addresses other artistic rivalries, such as that of Baccio Bandinelli and Benvenuto Cellini. Extensively documented and lavishly illustrated with 80 color and 120 black-and-white images, Goffen's fourfold biography will find favor with a scholarly audience. Lay readers will prefer the more popular tellings of the various Renaissance rivalries found in two recent titles: Paul Robert Walker's The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance: How Brunelleschi and Ghiberti Changed the Art World and Ross King's Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, which covers the Michelangelo/Raphael "feud." Recommended for academic libraries with art history collections.-Martin R. Kalfatovic, Smithsonian Inst. Libs., Washington, DC Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.