Gripping soap opera tells a tale of the Eternal City’s artistic transcendence.



A well-documented account follows the thread of ambition, pride, and betrayal that drove an unparalleled explosion of arts and architecture in Europe’s 17th-century cultural capital.

Give Morrissey, with 20 years’ architectural writing experience, credit for not just gleaning cogent commentary from previous volumes on the output of his two subjects but for enhancing it. His handling of these personalities and their divergent careers brings fresh passion (and a sense of their frustration) to the remarkable tale of two gifted talents drawn to Rome at the height of ecclesiastical extravagance (if not corruption) that sought expression in marble, bronze, and grand designs. Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini (b. Naples, 1598) was the son of a Florentine sculptor; Francesco Castelli (b. Swiss-governed Lugano, 1599), who would change his name to Borromini, was a stonecutter’s son who honed his talents in Milan. When both arrived in Rome before 1620, Bernini, his work noticed by the influential Borghese family, was presented to the Pope, while Borromini went to work for a relative, Carlo Maderno, an architect charged with the daunting task of rebuilding the ancient church of St. Peter’s. What began as a partnership between the two on the St. Peter’s project was altered forever by the death of Maderno, when Bernini was tapped as chief architect and designer. He was less technically competent as an architect than Borromini, Morrissey notes, but had papal favor, and thus began a time where Borromini’s designs and conceptual input were subtly incorporated, sans credit, into Bernini’s resume. The resulting antagonism was to last for their entire professional lives, but the real difference as Bernini’s star rose and Borromini’s did not in a golden age of clerical commissions, Morrissey suggests, is that “if Bernini had perfect artistic pitch, Borromini was socially tone-deaf.” In the end are Bernini’s anointing as the period’s greatest artist, Borromini’s ghastly suicide.

Gripping soap opera tells a tale of the Eternal City’s artistic transcendence.

Pub Date: March 1, 2005

ISBN: 0-06-052533-9

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2004

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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