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Antonio Manetti The Fat Woodworker ISBN 13: 9780934977234

The Fat Woodworker - Softcover

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9780934977234: The Fat Woodworker
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"The Fat Woodworker" is a delightful story in the tradition of the Italian Renaissance beffe, stories of practical, often cruel jokes. It is the tale of a prank engineered by the great Renaissance architect, Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), played upon an unsuspecting (and perhaps less-than-brilliant) friend and woodworker named Manetto, in reprisal for the woodworker's social slight. While the prank is indeed cruel, it is so ingenious, and the victim is so comical, that the reader soon forgets the architect's - and the author's - malice and settles in for a delightful turn as part of the unfolding conspiracy set in motion by Brunelleschi's circle of friends. The tale brings the reader into the social world of Florence's craft- and tradespeople, its lawyers and judges, artists, architects and intellectuals and gives a vibrant sense of the city's close-knit social fabric, its packed streets and busy shops and offices. It is as much a portrait of the Renaissance city as of one very befuddled and delightful woodworker. Robert and Valerie Martone provide a solid contemporary translation that carries across the ironic distance of the original. They include an introduction to the story, its author and genre, and to the social and intellectual world of Brunelleschi and Renaissance Florence. Illustrated, introduction, bibliography.

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From the Back Cover:
"Il Grasso Legnaiuolo gives the flavour of Florentine intellectualism. It is the story of a beffa or jest - a trick played by Brunelleschi and his friends on the fat woodworker. This picture of self-alienation, which is more terrifying and cleverer than anything in Pirandello, is told as a true incident, well known in its own time, which befell a certain Manetti degli Ammannatini. The genius of Brunelleschi is the real hero of the tale; this genius, which found the way to calculate the vanishing point, could make a bulky man vanish or seem to himself to vanish, like a ball juggled by a conjurer, while still in plain sight." (Mary McCarthy, The Stones of Florence)
About the Author:
The author of The Fat Woodworker is believed to be Antonio di Tuccio Manetti (1423-1497), a Florentine humanist and minor historical figure. He was a friend and companion of many artists and literary figures of his day and an admirer of Brunelleschi. A biography of Brunelleschi entitled The Life of Filippo di Ser Brunellesco and attributed to Manetti was the principle source of information on Brunelleschi's life for Giorgio Vasari and other biographers.

A member of a family of silk merchants, Manetti was vicar, and he also held a number of high elective offices in the government of Florence. Because of his prominence and his knowledge of the arts and architecture, Manetti was selected as one of the judges in the competition for the design of the facade of Santa Maria del Fiore in 1490 (the original facade of the cathedral of Florence, begun by Arnolfo di Cambio, was never finished, and it was demolished in 1588).

Manetti had a wide range of interests, and, therefore, he has been variously described by historians as a mathematician, astronomer, architect, copyist, neoplatonic writer, Dante scholar, and artist.

Manetti is best known through the dedications and tributes of his more famous contemporaries. In The Lives of the Artists Vasari informs us that Paolo Uccello, obsessed with the artificial perspective invented by Brunelleschi, held long discussions on the subject of Euclidean geometry with Manetti. Uccello included Manetti among the five prominent Florentines whose portraits he kept in his house "to preserve their memory." Manetti represented achievement in mathematics. The others included Brunelleschi for achievement in architecture, Giotto for painting, Donatello for sculpture, and Uccello himself for perspective and animal painting.

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  • PublisherItalica Press
  • Publication date2008
  • ISBN 10 0934977232
  • ISBN 13 9780934977234
  • BindingPaperback
  • Edition number1
  • Number of pages88
  • Rating
    3.57 avg rating
    ( 93 ratings by Goodreads )

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