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Rome: a cultural, visual, and personal history

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Pub. Date:
2011.
Language:
English
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Rome - as a city, as an empire, as an enduring idea - is in many ways the origin of everything Robert Hughes has spent his life thinking and writing about with such dazzling irreverence and exacting rigour. In this magisterial book he traces the city's history from its mythic foundation with Romulus and Remus to Fascism, Fellini and beyond. For almost a thousand years, Rome held sway as the spiritual and artistic centre of the world. Hughes vividly recreates the ancient Rome of Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula, Cicero, Martial and Virgil. With the artistic blossoming of the Renaissance, he casts his unwavering critical eye over the great works of Raphael, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, shedding new light on the Old Masters. In the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when Rome's cultural predominance was assured, artists and tourists from all over Europe converged on the city. Hughes brilliantly analyses the defining works of Caravaggio, Velasquez, Rubens and Bernini. Hughes' Rome is a vibrant, contradictory, spectacular and secretive place; a monument both to human glory and human error. This deeply personal account reflects his own complex relationship with a city he first visited as a wide-eyed twenty-year-old, thirsting for the sights, sounds, smells and tastes he had only read about or seen in postcard reproductions. In equal parts loving, iconoclastic, enraged and wise, peopled with colourful figures and rich in unexpected details, ROME is an exhilarating journey through the story of one of the world's most timelessly fascinating cities.

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ISBN:
9780307268440
9780307700582
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Grouped Work IDb25bf905-124c-f352-9ea6-cd65f79976d2
Grouping Titlerome a cultural visual and personal history
Grouping Authorrobert hughes
Grouping Categorybook
Grouping LanguageEnglish (eng)
Last Grouping Update2020-11-26 04:16:52AM
Last Indexed2020-11-26 04:44:06AM
Novelist Primary ISBN9780297844648

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authorRobert Hughes
author_displayHughes, Robert
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display_descriptionFrom Robert Hughes, one of the greatest art and cultural critics of our time, comes a sprawling, comprehensive, and deeply personal history of Rome—as city, as empire, and, crucially, as an origin of Western art and civilization, two subjects about which Hughes has spent his life writing and thinking.
Starting on a personal note, Hughes takes us to the Rome he first encountered as a hungry twenty-one-year-old fresh from Australia in 1959. From that exhilarating portrait, he takes us back more than two thousand years to the city's foundation, one mired in mythologies and superstitions that would inform Rome's development for centuries.
From the beginning, Rome was a hotbed of power, overweening ambition, desire, political genius, and corruption. Hughes details the turbulent years that saw the formation of empire and the establishment of the sociopolitical system, along the way providing colorful portraits of all the major figures, both political (Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula) and cultural (Cicero, Martial, Virgil), to name just a few. For almost a thousand years, Rome would remain the most politically important, richest, and largest city in the Western world.
From the formation of empire, Hughes moves on to the rise of early Christianity, his own antipathy toward religion providing rich and lively context for the brutality of the early Church, and eventually the Crusades. The brutality had the desired effect—the Church consolidated and outlasted the power of empire, and Rome would be the capital of the Papal States until its annexation into the newly united kingdom of Italy in 1870.
As one would expect, Hughes lavishes plenty of critical attention on the Renaissance, providing a full survey of the architecture, painting, and sculpture that blossomed in Rome over the course of the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries, and shedding new light on old masters in the process. Having established itself as the artistic and spiritual center of the world, Rome in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries saw artists (and, eventually, wealthy tourists) from all over Europe converging on the bustling city, even while it was caught up in the nationalistic turmoils of the Italian independence struggle and war against France.
Hughes keeps the momentum going right into the twentieth century, when Rome witnessed the rise and fall of Italian Fascism and Mussolini, and took on yet another identity in the postwar years as the fashionable city of "La Dolce Vita." This is the Rome Hughes himself first encountered, and it's one he contends, perhaps controversially, has been lost in the half century since, as the cult of mass tourism has slowly ruined the dazzling city he loved so much. Equal parts idolizing, blasphemous, outraged, and awestruck, Rome is a portrait of the Eternal City as only Robert Hughes could paint it.
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ils:a796874BookBooks1st ed.EnglishAlfred A. Knopf, 2011.498 p. ; 24 cm.
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subject_facetRome (Italy) -- History
title_displayRome : a cultural, visual, and personal history
title_fullRome : a cultural, visual, and personal history / by Robert Hughes
Rome A Cultural, Visual, and Personal History
title_shortRome
title_suba cultural, visual, and personal history
topic_facetArt
History
Nonfiction