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Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter'sby R A Scotti
Synopses & Reviews
Out of the clash of genius and the caprice of popes came the most glorious monument of the Renaissance
It was the splendor¬—and the scandal¬—of the age. In 1506, the ferociously ambitious Renaissance Pope Julius II tore down the most sacred shrine in Europe¬—the millenniumold St. Pete‛s Basilica built by the Emperor Constantine over the apostl‛s grave¬—to build a better basilica. Construction of the new St. Pete‛s spanned two centuries, embroiled twenty-seven 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.
In this swift, colorful narrative, R. A. Scotti brings to life the artists and the popes, the politics and the passions behind this audacious enterprise. Gothic cathedrals reach up to heaven, but the basilica brings heaven to earth, and the new St. Pete‛s was the defining event of the high Renaissance.
In the tradition of Brunellesch‛s Dome, Scotti turns sacred architecture into a spellbinding human epic of enormous daring, petty jealousy, and staggering genius.
"In this absorbing story of the construction of the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome — the grandest architectural undertaking of the High Renaissance — Scotti (Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938) shows how the construction fed the ambitions of 30 popes, including the indomitable Julius II, who laid the first stone in 1506; Leo X, the Medici pope whose extravagant spending fueled the resentment toward the papacy that culminated in the Protestant Reformation; Clement VII, on whose watch Rome was sacked by Emperor Charles V; and Sixtus V, who restored the ravaged city and pushed, against all odds, to have the great dome completed during his lifetime. In 1506, the great architect Donato Bramante envisioned a gigantic central crossing topped by a dome of such daring design that many believed it could not be built. Throughout the 100 years of construction, numerous architects, most of them consumed with pride, lofty ambition and professional jealousy, followed. Among them were Raphael, who died at age 37; Michelangelo, who accepted the job reluctantly at the age of 71; and Giacomo della Porta, who, in 1590, succeeded in raising the grand cupola. All are brought to life in this fascinating tale of genius, power and money. B&w photos not seen by PW. (June)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In this dramatic journey through religious and artistic history, R. A. Scotti traces the defining event of a glorious epoch: the building of St. Peter?s Basilica. Begun by the ferociously ambitious Pope Julius II in 1506, the endeavor would span two tumultuous centuries, challenge the greatest Renaissance masters?Michelangelo, Raphael, and Bramante?and enrage Martin Luther. By the time it was completed, Shakespeare had written all of his plays, the Mayflower had reached Plymouth?and Rome had risen with its astounding basilica to become Europe?s holy metropolis. A dazzling portrait of human achievement and excess, Basilica is a triumph of historical writing.
In 1506, the ambitious Renaissance Pope Julius II tore down the most sacred shrine in Europe--the millennium-old St. Peters Basilica. Construction of the new St. Peters spanned two centuries, embroiled 27 popes, and consumed the genius of the greatest artists of the age.
About the Author
R. A. Scotti is the author of two previous works of nonfiction, including Sudden Sea: The Great Hurricane of 1938, and four novels.
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