Flowers of Florence

The Portrayal of Love: Botticelli's 'Primavera' and Humanist Culture at the Time of Lorenzo the Magnificent

by Charles Dempsey
Lorenzo il Magnifico died at Careggi on April 8, 1492. It was an uneasy, conscience-ridden deathbed, attended, as was appropriate, by the philosopher Pico della Mirandola and the poet Politian, and in the presence of his inveterate antagonist Savonarola. A hundred years ago, when the fourth centenary of his death …

How to Read a Fresco

The Place of Narrative: Mural Decoration in Italian Churches, 431–1600

by Marilyn Aronberg Lavin
Fresco painting was the main means of visual communication available to Italian painters from the fourteenth to the sixteenth centuries. Vasari describes the technique of fresco as “more virile and long-lasting than any other form of painting,” and as requiring greater resolution and confidence of touch. Frescoes were thought out …

The Fall of a Great Museum

To someone who has directed museums the press controversy over the Victoria and Albert Museum in London must appear ill-focused and uninformed. “The Victoria and Albert tries to catch up,” proclaims The New York Times, with a tight-lipped photograph of the new director, Mrs. Esteve-Coll. “Culture clash in South Kensington,” …

Storm Over the Sistine Ceiling

The Sistine Chapel: The Art, the History, and the Restoration

text by Carlo Pietrangeli and André Chastel and John Shearman and John O'Malley and S. J. and Pierluigi de Vecchi and Michael Hirst and Fabrizio Mancinelli and Gianluigi Colalucci and Franco Bernabei
Visiting the Sistine Chapel nowadays is a strange experience. You hurry, as you have always done, the whole length of the Vatican building. “Permesso, permesso,” you say, as you push aside coveys of Germans and Japanese in order to reach the chapel before it fills with tourists. If you are …

Berenson’s Certificate

Artful Partners: Bernard Berenson and Joseph Duveen

by Colin Simpson
This scurrilous book—the editor of Connoisseur, with a sharper eye for scandal than for veracity, calls it “one of the most important and engrossing books ever written about the history of art dealing”—has long roots. They reach back over ninety years to the rather improbable setting of Siena, where a …