Catalogue


Bernini's beloved : a portrait of Costanza Piccolomini /
Sarah McPhee.
imprint
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, c2012.
description
ix, 260 p.
ISBN
0300175272 (cloth : alk. paper), 9780300175271 (cloth : alk. paper)
format(s)
Book
Holdings
More Details
imprint
New Haven [Conn.] : Yale University Press, c2012.
isbn
0300175272 (cloth : alk. paper)
9780300175271 (cloth : alk. paper)
catalogue key
8430304
 
Includes bibliographical references (p. [244]-254) and index.
A Look Inside
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Choice on 2012-11-01:
This engaging book by McPhee (Emory Univ.) takes as its ostensible subject the marble portrait bust of Costanza Piccolomini, carved by Gianlorenzo Bernini in 1636-37 and now in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence. Artist and sitter were lovers at the time, Bernini a 39-year-old bachelor sculptor approaching the height of his fame, and Costanza the wife of Bernini assistant Matteo Bonucelli. The affair ended violently when Bernini found Costanza with his brother Luigi; he exacted revenge by having Costanza scarred and pursuing his brother with murderous intent until their mother and the Pope intervened. McPhee's book is a satisfying detective story, reclaiming the context and evidence of events. Much new information informs this meticulously researched and copiously documented tale--especially about Costanza, Matteo, their considerable art collection, and life in Baroque Rome. The brief, well-written, and profusely illustrated narrative has captivating moments, especially when revealing Costanza's extraordinary biography--how she climbed out of poverty, became literate, survived attack and humiliation, ran an art business, and left an important legacy for her young daughter. This book offers something new and enlightening for interested readers at any level. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through researchers/faculty; general readers. A. V. Coonin Rhodes College
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2012-05-07:
This splendidly illustrated and erudite study tells the life story of Costanza Piccolomini (d. 1560), the wife of baroque sculptor Matteo Bonarelli, mistress of Gianlorenzo Bernini, and the subject of one of Bernini's most well-known and lifelike sculpture of a private subject. While the details of Bernini's relationship with Piccolomini are uncertain, he created his famous bust "while passionately in love with her," an affair which culminated in shocking violence against both Piccolomini and Bernini's own brother. Art historian McPhee (Bernini and the Bell Towers) describes Piccolomini's extraordinary life and character: a highly determined woman who learned to read and write; survived sexual assault, detention, and arrest; and successfully ran her husband's sculpture studio after being widowed at the age of 40. McPhee beautifully interweaves personal history, art history, and the cultural history of baroque Rome to spotlight Piccolomini's biography and to demonstrate why the power of her image and her story is worth investigating. A highly impressive work of scholarship and a tour de force of interest to art historians, scholars of the baroque with a particular interest in women's history, and accessible to general readers, the book also includes extensive appendixes of primary sources in Italian and new archival research. Color and b&w illus. Agent: Michael Carlisle, Inkwell Management. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Appeared in Library Journal on 2012-06-15:
Baroque master Bernini's relationship to Costanza Piccolomini, the young wife of an assistant sculptor, is one of the pulpiest footnotes to the artist's life: reportedly, he was overcome with passion for her; carved a striking, intimate portrait of her; and, upon learning that she'd taken up with his brother, hired a man to slash her face. (Bernini, meanwhile, chased his younger sibling through St. Peter's with an iron rod, breaking two of his ribs.) In this biography of the woman at its center, McPhee (art & architectural history, Emory Univ.; Bernini and the Bell Towers: Architecture and Politics at the Vatican) peels back the layers of the scandal that most art historians either ignore or sensationalize. Costanza, born into an impoverished branch of a noble family that produced two 15th-century popes, was literate, canny, and ambitious. With her husband, she built a prosperous sculpture business and amassed an enviable collection of art, including a canvas by Poussin (The Plague of Ashdod) now at the Louvre. VERDICT A scrupulously researched and sober biography of a remarkable woman who was both muse and patron. Recommended.-Molly McArdle, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Reviews
Review Quotes
"McPhee's book is a satisfying detective story, reclaiming the context and evidence of events. Much new information informs this meticulously researched and copiously documented tale." Choice
"Splendidly illustrated and erudite . . . A highly impressive work of scholarship and a tour de force." Publishers Weekly , starred review
"Splendidly illustrated and erudite. . . . McPhee beautifully interweaves personal history, art history, and the cultural history of baroque Rome to spotlight Piccolomini's biography and to demonstrate why the power of her image and her story is worth investigating. A highly impressive work of scholarship and a tour de force of interest to art historians, scholars of the baroque with a particular interest in women's history, [that is also] accessible to general readers."-- Publisher's Weekly (starred review)
"[McPhee] builds up a detailed portrait of Costanza's life against the backdrop of Baroque Rome, offering . . . a fresh perspective on Bernini's life and work."-- Apollo Magazine
"McPhee...builds up a detailed portrait of Costanza's life against the backdrop of Baroque Rome, offering along the way a fresh perspective on Bernini's life and work." Apollo Magazine
" Bernini''s Beloved will definitively change the way people look at Bernini''s portrait of a woman who turns out to be the descendant of a Pope. . . Sarah McPhee argues that Bernini used his utmost artistry to convey Costanza''s divine dignity as a new Venus, reconciling the background of this remarkable statue with its evident value in artistry and materials. The whole picture, for the first time, makes eminent sense."Ingrid Rowland, University of Notre Dame
"Enthralling. . . . McPhee''s book is rich in historical detail, and truly an original contribution that will be welcomed by scholars, students, and general readers."Elizabeth Cropper, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art
" Bernini's Beloved is a most valuable, enlightening addition to our knowledge of the intriguing Costanza and her fascinating Rome."-- Renaissance Quarterly
"A scrupulously researched and sober biography of a remarkable woman who was both muse and patron." Library Journal
" Bernini's Beloved is a most valuable, enlightening addition to our knowledge of the intriguing Costanza and her fascinating Rome."- Renaissance Quarterly
"A highly original work by an accomplished and enterprising scholar, Bernini''s Beloved offers a compelling, untold human story. It shows us the lively 17th-century Roman art world from a novel perspective, that of a woman. . . . It will be welcomed by anyone interested in art, artists, gender, and the social history of Rome during the flourishing of the baroque.."Elizabeth S. Cohen, York University
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly, May 2012
Library Journal, June 2012
New York Times Book Review, July 2012
New York Times Full Text Review, July 2012
Choice, November 2012
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
With lips slightly parted and eyes fixed on a point in the distance, a breathtaking marble portrait of Costanza Piccolomini appears alive. Carved by Gianlorenzo Bernini in 163637 for his own pleasure, the portrait of Costanza is one of his most captivating works, but until now little has been known about its subject. For centuries Costanza was identified only as Bernini's mistress, who later incited his rage by betraying him for his brother. Author Sarah McPhee corrects and expands this story in her remarkable biography of a sculpture and its subject. Bernini's Beloved sets the bust and Costanza's own lifeher childhood and noble name, her marriage, affair, fall from grace, and recoveryagainst the backdrop of Baroque Rome. Beautifully illustrated and written, this fascinating story expands our understanding of the woman whose intelligence and passion served as inspiration for Bernini's celebrated sculpture, and who courageously forged a life for herself in the decades following its creation.
Bowker Data Service Summary
This title sets the bust and Costanza's own life - her childhood and noble name, her marriage, affair, fall from grace, and recovery - against the backdrop of Baroque Rome. This story expands our understanding of the woman whose intelligence and passion served as inspiration for Bernini's celebrated sculpture.
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. viii
Prologuep. 1
The Bustp. 3
Costanza Piccolomini-zitelladaviterbop. 16
Master of the worldp. 35
Two Lettersp. 49
Matteo Scultorep. 63
Costanza scultorap. 82
The Garden at the four fountainsp. 110
Bernini's Belovedp. 137
Abbreviationsp. 148
Appendicesp. 149
Notesp. 216
Bibliographyp. 244
Indexp. 255
Illustration Creditsp. 261
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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