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More about Marilyn

Michael Church, 20 February 1986

Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe 
by Anthony Summers.
Gollancz, 414 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 575 03641 9
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Norma Jeane: The Life and Death of Marilyn Monroe 
by Fred Lawrence Guiles.
Granada, 377 pp., £12.95, June 1985, 0 246 12307 9
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Poor Little Rich Girl: The Life and Legend of Barbara Hutton 
by C. David Heymann.
Hutchinson, 390 pp., £12.95, March 1985, 0 09 146010 7
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Deams that money can buy: The Tragic Life of Libby Holman 
by Jon Bradshaw.
Cape, 431 pp., £12.95, October 1985, 0 224 02846 4
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All Those Tomorrows 
by Mai Zetterling.
Cape, 230 pp., £9.95, November 1985, 0 224 01841 8
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Confessions of a Failed Southern Lady 
by Florence King.
Joseph, 278 pp., £8.95, August 1985, 0 7181 2611 4
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... opening up whenever the records are sparse. No male narrator comes between Mai Zetterling or Florence King and their readers. Each tells her tale in her own way. Mai’s way is to spill it out higgledy-piggledy as though at a diagnostic session with a psychiatrist. She chooses, somewhat startlingly, to represent her early years in Sweden as an ...

Patrons

Peter Burke, 15 October 1987

Patronage, Art and Society in Renaissance Italy 
edited by F.W. Kent and Patricia Simons.
Oxford/Humanities Research Centre, 331 pp., £35, June 1987, 0 19 821978 4
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Pienza: The Creation of a Renaissance City 
by Charles Mack.
Cornell, 250 pp., $43.95, June 1987, 9780801416996
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Piety and Patronage in Renaissance Venice: Bellini, Titian and the Franciscans 
by Rona Goffen.
Yale, 285 pp., £30, July 1986, 0 300 03455 5
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Venetian Humanism in an Age of Patrician Dominance 
by Margaret King.
Princeton, 524 pp., £42.90, April 1986, 0 691 05465 7
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The Venetian Patriciate: Reality versus Myth 
by Donald Queller.
Illinois, 386 pp., $29.95, September 1986, 0 252 01144 9
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Tradesman and Traders: The World of the Guilds in Venice and Europe, c.1250-c.1650 
by Richard MacKenney.
Croom Helm, 289 pp., £35, January 1987, 0 7099 1763 5
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Florence, Rome and the Origins of the Renaissance 
by George Holmes.
Oxford, 273 pp., £25, November 1986, 0 19 822576 8
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From Humanism to the Humanities: Education and the Liberal Arts in 15th and 6th-Century Europe 
by Anthony Grafton and Lisa Jardine.
Duckworth, 224 pp., £29.95, January 1987, 0 7156 2100 9
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Renaissance and Revolt: Essays in the Intellectual and Social History of Early Modern France 
by J.H.M. Salmon.
Cambridge, 306 pp., £30, June 1987, 0 521 32769 5
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... Patrons are patrons,’ a citizen of Florence wrote to the Grand Duke, Ferdinando de’Medici, in 1602: ‘the patron is accountable to no one.’ But what exactly was a patron in Florence or elsewhere in Renaissance Italy? Despite the existence of a large literature on art patronage, the question received few direct answers till the publication in 1981 of a book focused on England: Patronage in the Renaissance, edited by Guy Lytle and Stephen Orgel ...

Façades

Peter Burke, 19 November 1981

The Building of Renaissance FlorenceAn Economic and Social History 
by Richard Goldthwaite.
Johns Hopkins, 459 pp., £16.50, April 1981, 0 8018 2342 0
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Public Life in Renaissance Florence 
by Richard Trexler.
Academic Press, 591 pp., £29.80, March 1981, 0 12 699550 8
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Civic Ritual in Renaissance Venice 
by Edward Muir.
Princeton, 356 pp., £10.80, August 1981, 0 691 05325 1
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Venice: The Greatness and the Fall 
by John Julius Norwich.
Allen Lane, 400 pp., £12, September 1981, 0 7139 1409 2
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Ruskin and Venice 
edited by Jeanne Clegg.
Junction, 233 pp., £10.50, September 1981, 0 86245 019 5
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The Stones of Venice 
by John Ruskin and Jan Morris.
Faber, 239 pp., £12.50, September 1981, 0 571 11815 1
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... Why Florence? What made this particular European city so important for the arts in the Renaissance? It’s a problem many historians have tried to solve. The latest is Professor Goldthwaite, an old Florentine hand who has moved from a study of the ways in which the Florentines made their money to a study of the ways in which they spent it ...

Freebooter

Maurice Keen: The diabolical Sir John Hawkwood, 5 May 2005

Hawkwood: Diabolical Englishman 
by Frances Stonor Saunders.
Faber, 366 pp., £17.99, November 2004, 9780571219087
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... who led a mixed host of French, Gascon and English free soldiers into Castile to destool King Pedro the Cruel in favour of his bastard brother Henry, rose ultimately to be constable of France. A good many English captains made considerable names for themselves in France under Edward III and the Black Prince, and independently on their own ...

The Audience Throws Vegetables

Colin Burrow: Salman Rushdie, 8 May 2008

The Enchantress of Florence 
by Salman Rushdie.
Cape, 356 pp., £16.99, April 2008, 978 0 224 06163 6
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... things – growing hairy legs, flying on carpets, turning back into men? The Enchantress of Florence presents a different version of the same problem. It aspires to be a modern-day Orlando Furioso and Arabian Nights rolled into one. It’s about imagination and belief, magic, tolerance, cultural fusions between East and West, the ...

Some Paradise

Ingrid Rowland: The Pazzi Conspiracy, 7 August 2003

April Blood: Florence and the Plot against the Medici 
by Lauro Martines.
Cape, 302 pp., £17.99, February 2003, 0 224 06167 4
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... It is above all the city’s Renaissance art and architecture that draws visitors to Florence. Those calming vistas were no less precious in the 15th century when they were erected against the disorder that plagued the real Florence: the violent, chaotic city that Lauro Martines has brought to life in April Blood, a history of the conspiracy that very nearly took the life of the young Lorenzo de’ Medici before he had a chance to become the ‘Magnifico’ of legend ...

Inclined to Putrefaction

Erin Maglaque: In Quarantine, 20 February 2020

Florence Under Siege: Surviving Plague in an Early Modern City 
by John Henderson.
Yale, 363 pp., £30, July 2019, 978 0 300 19634 4
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... slowing when it reached the natural barrier of the Apennines. On the other side of the mountains, Florence braced itself. The officials of the Sanità, the city’s health board, wrote anxiously to their colleagues in Milan, Verona, Venice, in the hope that studying the patterns of contagion would help them protect their city. Reports came from Parma that its ...

Not the man for it

John Bossy: The Death of Girolamo Savonarola, 20 April 2006

Scourge and Fire: Savonarola and Renaissance Italy 
by Lauro Martines.
Cape, 368 pp., £20, March 2006, 0 224 07252 8
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The Burning of the Vanities: Savonarola and the Borgia Pope 
by Desmond Seward.
Sutton, 320 pp., £20, March 2006, 0 7509 2981 2
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... and put in a vase on the mantelpiece. They dumped them all in the Arno. The four-year reign in Florence of someone resembling an ayatollah could seem a surprise: this is a city that we are encouraged to think of as a fountainhead of modernity. To Lauro Martines, who has seen Renaissance Italy as a spring of democratic authenticity diverted by ...

A Most Delicate Invention

Tim Parks: ‘Money and Beauty’, 22 September 2011

... In 1237 Florence set up a mint and struck the silver florin. Until then the town had been using the denaro of the declining Holy Roman Empire, but the coin was now so debased that it had to be supplemented with more valuable coins from the then larger centres of Siena and Lucca. It was becoming more important to monetise all transactions, to be able to transform all wealth into money and redistribute or invest it as one liked ...

She Doesn’t Protest

Colin Burrow: The Untranslatable Decameron, 12 March 2009

Decameron 
by Giovanni Boccaccio, translated by J.G. Nichols.
Oneworld, 660 pp., £12.99, May 2008, 978 1 84749 057 5
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... In Florence in 1348, shortly after two of its biggest banks collapsed because the English king had defaulted on a loan, roughly two-thirds of the population died of the Black Death. Egg-shaped buboes swelled up in the victims’ armpits or groins, and then black bruising spread across their bodies ...

Venus in Blue Jeans

Charles Nicholl: The Mona Lisa, 4 April 2002

Mona Lisa: The History of the World’s Most Famous Painting 
by Donald Sassoon.
HarperCollins, 350 pp., £16.99, September 2001, 0 00 710614 9
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... in Vasari’s Lives of the Artists (1550), Leonardo began the portrait after his return to Florence from Milan at the beginning of the 16th century, and worked at it, off and on, for four years: this has been translated for convenience to a date of ‘c.1503-07’. Proponents of this date point to Raphael’s sketch for his portrait of Maddalena ...

A Peece of Christ

Charles Hope: Did Leonardo paint it?, 2 January 2020

Leonardo da Vinci 
at the Louvre, until 24 February 2020Show More
Leonardo da Vinci Rediscovered 
by Carmen Bambach.
Yale, 2350 pp., £400, July 2019, 978 0 300 19195 0
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The Last Leonardo: The Secret Lives of the World’s Most Expensive Painting 
by Ben Lewis.
William Collins, 396 pp., £20, April 2019, 978 0 00 831341 8
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Leonardo’s ‘Salvator Mundi’ and the Collecting of Leonardo in the Stuart Courts 
by Margaret Dalivalle, Martin Kemp and Robert Simon.
Oxford, 383 pp., £35, November 2019, 978 0 19 881383 5
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... Leonardo’s​ work has always been in demand. Following his training in Florence he moved to Milan, where he worked for the duke, Ludovico Sforza. After a brief spell as a military engineer for Cesare Borgia, he returned to Florence. Then came a second period in Milan, a few years in Rome at the invitation of the pope and finally a summons by Francis I to France, where he died in 1519, aged 67 ...

No Strings

Bee Wilson: Pinocchio, 1 January 2009

Pinocchio 
by Carlo Collodi, translated by Geoffrey Brock.
NYRB, 189 pp., £8.99, November 2008, 978 1 59017 289 6
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... fables and fairy tales. His Pinocchio begins: Once upon a time there was . . . ‘A king!’ my little readers will say at once.   No, children, you’re wrong. Once upon a time there was a piece of wood. In that sense Pinocchio has more in common with those postmodern children’s books in which nursery stories are upturned – The ...

Diary

Stephen Smith: In LA, 25 March 1993

... seat nearest me, they’re a couple. I make a left at lights beside a railway track and I’m on Florence, approaching the neighbourhood worst affected by the riots almost a year ago. South Central is the only area of Los Angeles in which I’ve seen bare advertisement hoardings, their posters stripped or weathered away and not replaced. The only commercial ...

Play for Today

Adam Smyth: Rewriting ‘Pericles’, 24 October 2019

Spring 
by Ali Smith.
Hamish Hamilton, 336 pp., £16.99, March 2019, 978 0 241 20704 8
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The Porpoise 
by Mark Haddon.
Chatto, 309 pp., £18.99, May 2019, 978 1 78474 282 9
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... prostitution and incest (the play opens as Pericles discovers the incestuous relationship between King Antiochus and his daughter, and has to flee the murderer dispatched to silence him). The versions of Pericles that were performed or printed tended to cut out, or minimise, these elements. Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare (1807) has an ...

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