A Renaissance Tapestry: The Gonzaga of Mantua

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9780060915582: A Renaissance Tapestry: The Gonzaga of Mantua
From Publishers Weekly:

The Gonzaga dynasty, which held the dukedom of Mantua in its iron grip for centuries, was as pleasure-loving and internecine as any leading family of Renaissance Italy. Simon nicely captures the excesses and contradictory passions that swept the ducal palace as she chronicles fraternal rivalries, poisonings, bribes of popes, seesaw alignments of warring states. With an eye for telling detail, the well-known travel writer (Kate Simon's Paris) reminds us that the Renaissance was a time when astrologers and alchemists were widely consulted, when the sexual use of little boys at court was common, and when processions carrying saints' images, believed to be the best cure against the plague, only furthered its spread. While the antics of the Gonzagas hold this tapestry together, the spotlight is stolen by culture-heroes such as humanist rebel-scholar Pico della Mirandola, whose death at age 31 foreshadowed Shelley.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal:

A sketch of the north Italian city of Mantua during the Renaissance by a superb author of travel books. Though small, Mantua played a crucial role in the tortuously complicated Renaissance politics. Focus is on the calculating Gonzaga family whose political astuteness, tangled network of marriage alliances, etc., kept it in power from 1329 to 1629. Simon interweaves condottiere, humanists, artists, and musicians, giving capsule biographies of famous figures. Despite some omissions in coverage, the text is splendid: Simon has an ear attuned to the apposite quote, an especially critical eye for the works of art that made the court of Mantua internationally famous. General readers and travelers will enjoy this book. Bennett D. Hill, St. Anselm's Abbey, Washington, D.C.
Copyright 1988 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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