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In Praise of Power

Alexander Nagel: Bernini the Ruthless, 3 January 2013

Bernini: His Life and His Rome 
by Franco Mormando.
Chicago, 429 pp., £22.50, December 2011, 978 0 226 53852 5
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... and Domenico rejoice at the master’s return to favour under the construction-happy Pope Alexander VII. Domenico insists on the signal honour of Bernini’s invitation to the court of Louis XIV during the summer and autumn of 1665, and claims that the artist’s embassy was a condition of the recently concluded peace between the papacy and the ...

Matters of State

Alexander Nagel: Michelangelo and ‘David’, 4 February 2016

Michelangelo’s ‘David’: Florentine History and Civic Identity 
by John Paoletti.
Cambridge, 388 pp., £70, February 2015, 978 1 107 04359 6
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... In December​ 1520, the abbot of the Cistercian monastery of Clairvaux paid a visit to Florence on his way to Rome. Approaching the seat of government in the Piazza della Signoria, he stopped in front of Michelangelo’s 15-foot David. He didn’t see in it a symbol of the Florentine nation or even identify the figure. For the abbé, it was ‘a great phantasm of white marble, well worked and all of one piece’ (‘ung grand fantosme de marbre blanc, bien ouvre et tout dune piece ...

Preposterous Timing

Hal Foster: Medieval Modern Art, 8 November 2012

Medieval Modern: Art out of Time 
by Alexander Nagel.
Thames and Hudson, 312 pp., £29.95, November 2012, 978 0 500 23897 4
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Depositions: Scenes from the Late Medieval Church and the Modern Museum 
by Amy Knight Powell.
Zone, 369 pp., £24.95, May 2012, 978 1 935408 20 8
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... questions. The key text so far in this debate is Anachronic Renaissance (2010) by the Americans Alexander Nagel and Christopher Wood. It seems counterintuitive that the case for ‘anachronic’ thinking would be launched in a study of the Renaissance, for it was then that the ideas of the artist as great original and the artwork as absolutely unique ...

Short Cuts

Joanna Biggs: Transcendental Wardrobes, 18 December 2014

... of being misunderstood, the problem of living in doubt. ‘People with style,’ the art historian Alexander Nagel tells Heti, ‘maintain a sense of starting over, a sense of knowing how to do it, but also learning how to do it at all times.’ My idea, once all my clothes were gone, was that I would choose one outfit and wear it until I found something ...

Give me the man

Stephen Holmes: The pursuit of Clinton, 18 March 1999

Sexual McCarthyism: Clinton, Starr and the Emerging Constitutional Crisis 
by Alan Dershowitz.
Basic Books, 275 pp., £15.95, January 1999, 0 465 01628 6
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The Case against Lameduck Impeachment 
by Bruce Ackerman.
Seven Stories, 80 pp., $8, February 1999, 1 58322 004 6
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... the degree of gravity that Presidential misdeeds must reach before they become impeachable. But Alexander Hamilton, in the Federalist Papers, suggested that impeachable offences must always involve ‘the abuse or violation of some public trust’ and result in ‘injuries done immediately to the society itself’. So how could the impeachniks justify ...

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