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Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal:…
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Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's (edició 2007)

de R. A. Scotti (Autor)

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaMencions
6041430,128 (3.75)17
It was the splendor--and the scandal--of the age, the defining event of the high Renaissance. In 1506, the ferociously ambitious Renaissance Pope Julius II tore down the most sacred shrine in Europe--the millennium-old St. Peter's Basilica built by the Emperor Constantine over the apostle's grave--to build a better basilica. Construction of the new St. Peter's spanned two centuries, embroiled 27 popes, and consumed the genius of the greatest artists of the age--Michelangelo, Bramante, Raphael, and Bernini. As the basilica rose, modern Rome rose with it, as glorious as the city of the Caesars. But the cost was unimaginable: the new basilica provoked the Protestant Reformation, dividing the Christian world for all time.--From publisher description.… (més)
Membre:MatthewMaule
Títol:Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's
Autors:R. A. Scotti (Autor)
Informació:Plume (2007), 352 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca
Valoració:
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's de R. A. Scotti

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Building St. Peter’s Basilica took over a century, seven architects, and nearly two dozen popes. This history of the Basilica and its creators covers the highlights of its construction from start to finish, with more emphasis given to the strongest personalities and influences, including Pope Julius II, Bramante, Michaelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini. It’s aimed at a general audience rather than a scholarly audience, and it lacks footnotes, although unnumbered endnotes are provided. The black and white photographs are well-selected to illustrate all phases of construction. Additional helps for the reader include a timeline of popes, architects, construction stages, and world events; visual glossaries; a list of popes from Nicholas V to Alexander VII; statistics about the Basilica’s architecture; four suggested walking tours of papal Rome with maps; and a selected bibliography. This book will appeal to readers with an interest in architecture, church history, art history, and early modern history. ( )
  cbl_tn | Sep 30, 2021 |
This was an interesting topic, but there was a lot of bias in the writing. You knew exactly which popes and artists/architects were the author's favorite. She glossed over the popes she didn't like and focused on the poor choices they made. The author gave a quick overview of the entire history of the time period, so not too much of the reader's time is wasted. I might have enjoyed it more if I had read the paper copy instead of listening to the audio version. ( )
  jguidry | Jul 12, 2018 |
As a popular tourist destination, St. Peter’s Basilica is an architectural wonder and a treasure trove of art. Millions of people, both Catholics and non-Catholics, from all over the world visit annually. While the images of St. Peter’s Basilica are familiar to many, few know the behind-the-scenes story of how it was constructed. The building of St. Peter’s spanned almost two centuries and involved thirty popes.

Built during the time of the Renaissance, the list of artists who participated in the building of St. Peter’s Basilica reads like a who’s who of the era including Bramante, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bernini. Work began in 1506 when Pope Julius II had the audacity to raze the original St. Peter’s, which had been built by Constantine the Great during the 4th century. Pope Julius II recruited only the best for his project. But that was just the beginning. As the years passed into decades and then centuries, each pope influenced Bramante’s original plans. Building the basilica from the inside out made it easy to change plans on a whim and, indeed, the plans changed frequently. Yet, somehow it all came together into the magnificent structure we know today.

The Bottom Line: R. A. Scotti’s historical narrative invites the reader to explore the history, politics, and art of one of the world’s most sacred buildings. There was plenty of scandal during that time in church history making this book read almost like a Renaissance soap opera. Spanning two centuries, thirty popes, and numerous artists, it provides a snapshot of each personality and event. However, sometimes the snapshots were so brief that I had to do additional research to more fully comprehend topics like the Sack of Rome.

All in all, this is an interesting read for the lay person. Recommended for amateur historians and those interested in art, art history, church history, and architecture. Also, recommended for those who are traveling to or who have already been to Rome. Scotti has included black and white illustrations and four walking tours of Rome.

For the complete review, including Book Club Notes, visit the Mini Book Bytes Book Review Blog. ( )
1 vota aya.herron | May 8, 2013 |
R.A. Scotti's "Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's" is more than just a biography of one of the world's great architectural wonder's. “Basilica” is a wonderfully readable historical narrative of the mid and late Renaissance in a plot-thick story of warrior-popes, international intrigue, angst-riddled artistes all intersecting, orbiting and colliding at this historical inflection point.

The building itself was constructed under the leadership of thirty different popes. Scotti writes, "...the convulsions of history became a backdrop that changed like a series of stage sets. Over the decades of construction, the Church evolved, and the world evolved with it and sometimes because of it."

Pope Julius II placed the first stone over the very spot where Jesus' disciple Peter was buried. She writes, "The enterprise was audacious, but so were the times. Gutenberg had invented the printing press, Columbus had stumbled on a new continent, and the Renaissance was in full bloom."

The list of characters who played central and supporting roles is like a who's who of 15th and 16th Century European stars: Michelangelo, Pope Alexander VI (Rodrigo Borgia), numerous di' Medicis, Bramante, Sangallo (Older AND Younger), Raphael, Martin Luther, Columbus, Pizarro, King Charles V, and the list goes on and on. It’s a Renaissance Festival on the Love Boat.

“Basilica” is not a historical treatise weighed heavily down by obscure footnotes, and archival trivia. It's not intended to be. It's an episodic narrative, providing a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the tortured, anguished, aggressive, pious, unethical and enlightened personalities that drove, and were driven, by the 15th and 16th century Renaissance.

While Florence was the beating heart of the Renaissance, pumping its blood across Europe, Scotti writes “Rome, this city of Caesars and cradle of Christianity, was a hellhole, the imperial relics overgrown, buried, or turned into animal lairs.” This was not unnoticed by the nuovo-Caesar Popes, who thought, as one papal biographer wrote, that the “Vatican should outshine in magnificence the Palatine of the Emperors.” This vision was not such a stretch as, Scotti writes, “The Renaissance papacy became a government more than a religion, led by statesmen and sometimes warriors who could rarely afford to be saints.”

One of the stars of “Basilica” is Pope Julius II – known as the Warrior-Pope. He’d survived and outlasted his Borgia enemies, and took full advantage of his time in papal office. He was a human hurricane, driving away, or over, anything in his path. One contemporary wrote that he was “full of fury and extravagant conceptions.” This hurricane was the driving force of a new St. Peter’s Basilica…if not in it’s modern state, then certainly in its conception.

Scotti writes, “He brought recalcitrant princes to heel, reclaimed papal territories…and ennobled the world with art.” A scholar wrote, “It was through him that Rome became the Classical City of the World…and the Papacy the pioneer of civilization.”

And while the Renaissance recognized an explosion in new thinking, it’s most visible manifestation is its explosion of art. Art became a mechanism for mass communication. Think of it as an ancient twitter – instead of 140 characters – think of 140 pounds of marble…

Julius knew the beauty and power of art, and wanted it to be an integral part of this new monument to God and Christianity (and to a lesser, but still significant extent, to him). Art and architecture were inextricably connected during the Renaissance. And so some of the most famous painters of the time were also key members of the Basilica’s architectural ‘staff’ – namely Raphael and Michelangelo.

The story of the Basilica is not (only) a story of a building. It’s a story of personalities.

If Julius II is one of the leads, then Michelangelo is his co-star. Michelangelo is absolutely a tortured soul…tormented by his talent and his need to create. He comes across as the most pious of almost all other players in this world theater. He seems to have adored, feared, hated and idolized Julius…all at the same time.

Julius asked Michelangelo to sculpt a magnificent tomb, but for numerous reasons neither man could deliver. Michelangelo would ultimately deliver his “Moses” as the centerpiece to Julius’ tomb, but it’s not in the Basilica, and magnificent as it is, it represents only a shadow of what both men originally wanted. Michelangelo would paint the Sistine Chapel (the ceiling and the back wall), but he would also serve as chief architect of St. Peters, 30 years after Julius died.

There’s certainly a “Pillars of Earth” vibe to the tale - but without any of the ‘regular’ people. All of these heroes and villains (and at times it’s impossible to tell the difference…nor does it really matter) are characters on a grand stage.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book for what it is: a crisp narrative of Renaissance Europe, full of bigger-than-life characters, and world-changing events colliding around the creation of a man-made miracle. It’s a miracle of architectural and artistic achievement and a testament to something much bigger and longer lasting than the world events in its orbit.

“Basilica” is extremely well written, and reads as smoothly as good historical novel. Except none of it is fiction. It’s too good to be fiction. This book is a must if you’re planning a trip to Rome or simply interested in a coherent and comprehensive overview of this fascinating period in history. ( )
1 vota JGolomb | Apr 8, 2012 |
Interesting reading but written in the style of a historical novel instead of a simple discourse. There are inaccuracies as well as an over abundance of enthusiasm for the papacy and Roman Catholicism. ( )
1 vota archmpa | Jul 20, 2011 |
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It was the splendor--and the scandal--of the age, the defining event of the high Renaissance. In 1506, the ferociously ambitious Renaissance Pope Julius II tore down the most sacred shrine in Europe--the millennium-old St. Peter's Basilica built by the Emperor Constantine over the apostle's grave--to build a better basilica. Construction of the new St. Peter's spanned two centuries, embroiled 27 popes, and consumed the genius of the greatest artists of the age--Michelangelo, Bramante, Raphael, and Bernini. As the basilica rose, modern Rome rose with it, as glorious as the city of the Caesars. But the cost was unimaginable: the new basilica provoked the Protestant Reformation, dividing the Christian world for all time.--From publisher description.

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