Pierluigi De Vecchi

Pierluigi De Vecchi

Pierluigi De Vecchi is a professor of Medieval and Modern Art at the University of Macerata. He has written numerous monographs, essays, and catalogs on Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Raphael, and Tintoretto.


Raphael

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All of Raphael's most important paintings, as well as a significant number of his drawings and engravings, are reproduced in this unmatched, luxurious tribute to one of the most admired artists of the Italian Renaissance.

In his Lives of the Artists, Vasari wrote: "While we may term other works paintings, those of Raphael are living things, the flesh palpitates, the breath comes and goes, every organ lives, life pulsates everywhere."In this lavishly illustrated book featuring some 300 illustrations, the author takes a fresh, critical look at the life and work of Rafaello Sanzio, or as he signed certain paintings, Raphael Urbinas, in homage to his native city of Urbino. Described as "an artist touched by grace," he is considered, along with Michelangelo and Leonardo, to be one of the greatest painters of the Italian Renaissance.

Raphael (14831520), whose birth and death were on a Good Friday, belonged to a family of merchants; aside from his training in the studio of Perugino, little is known about his earliest years. He arrived in Florence in 1504, where he studied the masters and produced magnificent paintings of the Madonna, as well as remarkable portraits. In 1508 he went to Rome, where he died a dozen years later at the height of his powers, after creating monumental works at the Vatican. In a fascinating text De Vecchi reexamines the new scholarship surrounding each of the major periods of Raphael's short career, dispelling the myths about him that have accumulated over the centuries. He reminds us that the most "profound" element of Raphael's art was his striving to express the dialectic between earthly and heavenly love, an important concern of his contemporaries.

The coverage of the text extends beyond the paintings to Raphael's significant work as an architect and designer of interiors. The reference material in the appendix includes a chronology and a bibliography.

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Michelangelo

The Vatican Frescoes

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For the first time ever, Michelangelo's complete Vatican masterpiece is shown in the vivid colors of its recent restoration. This comprehensive history of the painting of the Sistine Chapel catalogs each fresco image in detail.

The restoration of Michelangelo's magnificent frescoes in the Vatican's Sistine Chapel is perhaps the most controversial event in the art world in the past three decades. Now, after nearly fifteen years of effort, the restoration is finally complete. This unique volume-the first to document the project-is the result of an unparalleled international photographic campaign. For the first time, the restored Chapel is shown in its entirety, from the Creation to the Last Judgment. Glorious, full-color photographs-250 in all-portray the frescoes both before and after their restoration, providing an unforgettable view of the meticulous work that many believe restored the frescoes to their original High Renaissance splendor.

Originally created in the late 1400s, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel are the best-known of all the Vatican masterpieces. As early as 1502, however, tourists began noting the damage wrought by smoke and crumbling walls. By 1980 the need for conservation appeared to be dire. The restoration team had to contend with centuries of decay-structural fractures in the walls and ceilings, soot and dust accumulation, and rainwater seepage that left white patches on every surface. Artisans in previous centuries had made attempts at conservation, but often did more harm than good; the frescoes were found to be coated with many layers of "protective" glue that had yellowed and darkened with age. Though many art historians opposed the restoration, believing that Michelangelo was a somber artist who worked in dark and muted colors, the endeavor presents frescoes that are gloriously vivid, setting the chapel aglow with their brilliance. In addition, they provide new insights about Michelangelo's brushstroke techniques, and add more information to a centuries-old debate over how he worked with the wet plaster surface of the frescoes.

Written with Gianluigi Colalucci, the technical overseer of the restoration, the text provides an intimate understanding of this masterpiece of Renaissance art. It explains the various forensic studies carried out in the course of the project, the pragmatic concerns of the restoration, and the many problems of historical approach that were confronted. This volume, including remarkable new pictures of the Chapel frescoes, belongs in the libraries of every art historian and student of the Italian Renaissance.

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