Friday, 10 January 2014


'The Stones of Florence and Venice Observed'

Mary McCarthy (1956)

Harvest reprint. Illustrated. 2002

Evocative and descriptive of the atmosphere of Florence and the how and why it is unlike anywhere else. Wonderful, acidic.



'Rome: A Cultural, Visual and Personal History''

Robert Hughes

Vintage 2011

"The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize."

"What strip mining is to nature the art market has become to culture."

"The job of new art is to sit on the wall and get more expensive."

"Popular in our time, unpopular in his. So runs the stereotype of rejected genius." Robert Hughes on Caravaggio.

Compelling on Baroque Rome and the Ancient Rome underneath, entwined with and cannibalised to build the Renaissance. The bronze columns of the Baldachino in St. Peter's for instance are scavenged and cast from the internal bronze lining of the Pantheon dome. Obelisks are moved around Rome as pieces on a chess board. Nothing is sacred except the present and the future.




'Bernini. The Sculpture of the Roman Baroque,

Rudolf Wittkower. Original text 1955

Phaidon 2012

New photography by Pino Guidolotti


Worth every sestertius especially for the singularly sculptural photography.



'Roma Barocca. The History of an Architectonic Culture.'


Paolo Portoghesi
The MIT Press. 1970
An absolutely beautiful book. A history of the architecture and architects, in context, with drawings, and four hundred odd photographs that isolate and capture the exuberance of Baroque architecture and sculpture. It is 4.2 kilos and expensive. If you have to sell your grandfather to buy it, do so. Failing that there is a single copy in the Avery Hill library that bizarrely has only been taken out but once in the last several years. Liberate it now.