The Genius in the Design: Bernini, Borromini, and the Rivalry That Transformed Rome

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9780060525330: The Genius in the Design: Bernini, Borromini, and the Rivalry That Transformed Rome

The rivalry between the brilliant seventeenth-century Italian architects Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini is the stuff of legend. Possessed of enormous talent and ambition, these two artists -- one trained as a sculptor, the other as a stonecutter -- met as contemporaries in the building yards of St. Peter's in Rome and ended their lives as bitter enemies. Over the course of their careers they became the most celebrated architects of their era, designing some of the most beautiful buildings in the world and transforming the city of Rome.

The Genius in the Design is an extraordinary tale of how these two men plotted, schemed, and intrigued to get the better of each other. Full of dramatic tension and great insight into personalities, acclaimed writer Jake Morrissey's engrossing and impeccably researched account also shows that this legendary rivalry defined the Baroque style that immediately succeeded the Renaissance and created the spectacular Roman cityscape of today.

Almost exactly the same age -- Bernini was born at the end of 1598, Borromini nine months later -- they were as alike and as different as any two men could be, each a potent combination of passion and enterprise, energy and imperfection. Bernini was a precocious talent who as a youth caught the attention of Pope Paul V and became Rome's most celebrated artist, whose patrons included the wealthiest families in Europe. The city's greatest sculptor -- the creator of such masterpieces as Apollo and Daphne and the Ecstasy of St. Teresa -- Bernini would also have been Rome's preeminent architect had it not been for Francesco Borromini, the one man whose talent and virtuosity rivaled his own. In contrast to Bernini's easy grace, Borromini was an introvert with a fiery temper who bristled when anyone interfered with his vision; his temperament alienated him from prospective patrons and precipitated his tragic end.

Like Mozart and Salieri, these two masters were inextricably linked, their dazzling work prodding the other to greater achievement while taking merciless advantage of each other's missteps. The Genius in the Design is their story, a fascinating narrative of beauty and tragedy marked at turns by personal animosity and astonishing artistic achievement.

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Product Description:

The Genius in the Design is the true story of the great rivalry between two extraordinary men, the seventeenth-century architects Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini, and how their antagonism changed the city of Rome and created the Baroque. Talented, driven, and ambitious, each man spent his career trying to outdo the other to become the greatest architect of his time. Each, in his turn, succeeded, only to be brought down by the machinations of the other. In the end, one became the most lionized artist of his time and died a rich, happy family man. The other, consumed by internal demons, committed suicide. This book is the story of their hostility. Part history, part biography, part adventure story, The Genius in the Design is narrative non-fiction that reads like a novel and brings to vivid life the struggle between two giants of architecture, so different in outlook, so similar in purpose.

Product Description:

The rivalry between the brilliant seventeenth-century Italian architects Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini is the stuff of legend. Enormously talented and ambitious artists, they met as contemporaries in the building yards of St. Peter's in Rome, became the greatest architects of their era by designing some of the most beautiful buildings in the world, and ended their lives as bitter enemies. Engrossing and impeccably researched, full of dramatic tension and breathtaking insight, The Genius in the Design is the remarkable tale of how two extraordinary visionaries schemed and maneuvered to get the better of each other and, in the process, created the spectacular Roman cityscape of today.

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