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Mantegna’s Revenge

Nicholas Penny, 3 September 1987

Mantegna 
by Ronald Lightbown.
Phaidon/Christie’s, 512 pp., £60, July 1986, 0 7148 8031 0
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The Sistine Chapel: Michelangelo Rediscovered 
edited by Massimo Giacometti, translated by Paul Holberton.
Muller, Blond and White, 271 pp., £40, September 1986, 0 584 11140 1
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... thought on minute particulars, and even if this is less clear than it might be from the plates in Ronald Lightbown’s massive monograph, Lightbown himself has a very keen eye for the subordinate, often tiny things which the artist painted so well, and has industriously inquired into what exactly they were, and also ...

The Ashtray

Nicholas Penny, 4 June 1981

The Study and Criticism of Italian Sculpture 
by John Pope-Hennessy.
Princeton, 270 pp., £25.10, March 1981, 0 691 03967 4
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... and inscribed with the date 1456, which is one of the first portrait busts made since antiquity. Ronald Lightbown, in the course of trying to discover more about the sitter for the catalogue of the museum’s collection which he was working on with Pope-Hennessy, discovered a manuscript autobiography by Chellini which revealed that he had been a friend ...

Signs of spring

Anthony Grafton, 10 June 1993

The Portrayal of Love: Botticelli’s ‘Primavera’ and Humanist Culture at the Time of Lorenzo the Magnificent 
by Charles Dempsey.
Princeton, 173 pp., £35, December 1992, 0 691 03207 6
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... problem from its beginnings. He redates the picture on stylistic grounds to the 1480s. Like Ronald Lightbown he argues that it was painted at the behest not of Lorenzo de’ Medici but of its eventual owner, Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco. And he interprets it as staking out political, not Neo-Platonic, ground for its patron. Primavera, he argues, evoked ...

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