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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 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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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 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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Let me say at the outset that I have a PhD in art history and I specialize in Roman art (of all periods), so I am very fluent with Bernini, one of my favorite artists, as well as Borromini. Thus, much of what I read in Morrissey's book I already knew, in particular when he discusses artworks and buildings. Perhaps someone who was less familiar with the material would have gotten more out of this book. But the reason why I ultimately give this book two stars is because I disliked Morrissey's writi Let me say at the outset that I have a PhD in art history and I specialize in Roman art (of all periods), so I am very fluent with Bernini, one of my favorite artists, as well as Borromini. Thus, much of what I read in Morrissey's book I already knew, in particular when he discusses artworks and buildings. Perhaps someone who was less familiar with the material would have gotten more out of this book. But the reason why I ultimately give this book two stars is because I disliked Morrissey's writing style. He lists a lot, especially opposites, and that got distracting and annoying. For example: "Borromini's cloister is a vigorous and original creation, simultaneously oversize and snug, precise and elastic, understated and overwhelming." I have no idea how the San Carlo cloister could be all those things at the same time, but alright, Morrissey. I found his descriptions of artworks much too poetic for my taste; it seemed like he was trying too hard. There were also very few images and certainly no details. For someone who knows little about Baroque art, he/she would constantly have to look things up. His book is also full of endless quotes, whether from Filippo Baldinucci, who wrote a contemporary biography of Bernini, or endless art historians. I wanted to shake him and tell him that it's his job to put the majority of those quotes into his own words. It's clear that he's done a lot of research, but learn to paraphrase that. I also wonder what his qualifications are, i.e. does he have a degree in art history? But I suppose, who am I to criticize? He's gotten this book published that people are reading and I can't say that anyone is reading my books! So again, I think it comes down to my own personal writing style preference and I just didn't like Morrissey's. Finally, I had a problem with the basic premise of his book: the rivalry between Bernini and Borromini. Over and over, Morrissey emphasized Bernini's successes and Borromini's failures. Doesn't seem like much of a rivalry to me. Borromini has always been the clear loser. After all, one cannot go to Rome and miss Bernini - the same cannot be said about Borromini.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Erna

    i normally wouldn’t rate a book i had to read for uni, but this was actually pretty enjoyable so i might as well.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jo Walton

    I'm not doing well with finding a biography of Bernini. This doesn't even try to be that -- this is an account of the rivalry between Bernini and Borromini, with descriptions of their major work. I enjoyed it, but I'd have enjoyed it more if Morrisey and I had been more in agreement about the work of Bernini's I've seen. Borromini is an interesting character -- he has the Conal Cearnach problem "the second greatest warrior in all of Ireland", only in his case the second greatest architect in Rom I'm not doing well with finding a biography of Bernini. This doesn't even try to be that -- this is an account of the rivalry between Bernini and Borromini, with descriptions of their major work. I enjoyed it, but I'd have enjoyed it more if Morrisey and I had been more in agreement about the work of Bernini's I've seen. Borromini is an interesting character -- he has the Conal Cearnach problem "the second greatest warrior in all of Ireland", only in his case the second greatest architect in Rome.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Castles

    This book deserved much more exposure than it gets now. It's a story about art and history, about competition and envy and also about knowing the right people at the right time and finding the right patrons and popes to stand in your favor. It's written with a perfect balance of clearance and seriousness, and with that special touch of not wanting to put the book down between the chapters. It also makes you want to visit all of those chapels and places in Rome and see for yourself the works of ar This book deserved much more exposure than it gets now. It's a story about art and history, about competition and envy and also about knowing the right people at the right time and finding the right patrons and popes to stand in your favor. It's written with a perfect balance of clearance and seriousness, and with that special touch of not wanting to put the book down between the chapters. It also makes you want to visit all of those chapels and places in Rome and see for yourself the works of art discussed in the book. I enjoyed it very much.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Camille Coons

    Being the architecture fanatic that I am, I LOVED this book. It carried me to post-Renaissance Rome and made me wish I was in Italy, admiring all of the beautiful, intricate, and well-thought out buildings created by the architectural geniuses of Borromini and Bernini. The only downside to this book was the lack of photographs, architectural floor plans, sections, etc.-essentially all of the visuals-that seem necessary when describing breathtaking buildings. Otherwise, I loved this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Lamadia

    This non-fiction book read as easily and gracefully as a fiction story. It puts you right into 17th century Rome and hooks you right from the beginning. If you have any interest in the artists or the time period, it's a fascinating read. This non-fiction book read as easily and gracefully as a fiction story. It puts you right into 17th century Rome and hooks you right from the beginning. If you have any interest in the artists or the time period, it's a fascinating read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael Springer

    A masterpiece in story telling dealing with the culture of Rome and the rivalry between Bernini and Borromini. Should re-read this one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte De koninck

    Someone please get an editor to tell the author that more adjectives does not mean a better writing style.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Frank Stein

    In this book Morrisey manages to capture the high stakes of artistic competition in 17th century Rome, a time when popes like Urban VIII and Alexander VI believed that their greatest legacy to the church would be their artistic patronage and were willing to bankrupt the Papacy to prove it. They and their rich families showered successful artists with enough money and commissions to make them among the richest men in the city, while those artists who lost out in their panel-judged competitions (t In this book Morrisey manages to capture the high stakes of artistic competition in 17th century Rome, a time when popes like Urban VIII and Alexander VI believed that their greatest legacy to the church would be their artistic patronage and were willing to bankrupt the Papacy to prove it. They and their rich families showered successful artists with enough money and commissions to make them among the richest men in the city, while those artists who lost out in their panel-judged competitions (they had them even then!) often went poor and begging. For instance, Pope Urban basically declared that Gianlorenzo Bernini was to be the next Michelangelo, and made an explicit goal of fostering his career by giving him an ever-growing series of appointments to construct churches or family palazzos so that he could eventually take on the role of architect of Saint Peter’s. When he arrived at that position he managed to fulfill Urban’s dreams by building the famous Baldicchino in the nave and then constructing St. Peter’s Square, one of the greatest public spaces in the world. Urban paid him hundreds of thousands of scudi for his troubles. (The pope also encouraged Bernini to marry and father children because he “desired to make him… immortal.”) Francesco Borromini was Bernini’s former apprentice and most prominent rival, and, although now famous as the architect of numerous churches such as San Carlo alle Quattro Fontane, he spent much of his life scrambling for small commissions, always on the verge of poverty, and after a final dismissal from one church he literally fell on his sword (yet managed to live long enough to dictate a graphic description of his own suicide). With such high stakes it’s no surprise that these artists were fairly high strung. When one of Bernini’s mistresses (who was already married) began an affair with his brother, Bernini sent a servant down to attack her face with a razor and then assaulted his own brother with a sword. (This being an understanding era, he suffered a small fine.) Borromini was also morbidly aggressive. When a young man defaced one of his sculptures on a church façade, he had his workmen beat the man to death. Both alsoworked constantly to undermine the other. Bernini denounced Borromini’s northern style churches as “Gothic” and took credit for some of the work Borromini did while working under him, while Borromini claimed that Bernini’s poor engineering led one of St. Peter’s campaniles to collapse, which almost ended Bernini’s career. The book is filled with great stories of their competition. My main complaint, though, is that with such detailed descriptions of so many of their buildings and sculptures, the book could have benefited from more actual photographs, or at least a glossy center section. I found myself constantly running to the internet to find out what all these “masterpieces” really looked like. I was happy to learn, however, that my favorite sculpture of all time, Bernini’s The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, was viewed as explicitly sexual even in his own time. One politician said, “If this is Divine Love, I know all about it.”

  10. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    I think this book advertises itself inaccurately. It repeatedly claims to be the story of Bernini's and Borromini's rivalry, but it really just dissects and reviews individual pieces of sculpture and architecture. After reading half of the book (in which I heavily relied on my old art history book for images and further information on the artists and their work), I still haven't learned anything about their relationship. This book assumes you have an architect's vocabulary, and will not teach yo I think this book advertises itself inaccurately. It repeatedly claims to be the story of Bernini's and Borromini's rivalry, but it really just dissects and reviews individual pieces of sculpture and architecture. After reading half of the book (in which I heavily relied on my old art history book for images and further information on the artists and their work), I still haven't learned anything about their relationship. This book assumes you have an architect's vocabulary, and will not teach you if you don't already know. While it is all incredibly interesting from an architectural point of view, I was disappointed in my expectation to find a story in all this.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Gina

    Doing my usual obsessive reading about a city before I visit (months in advance - I'll be going to Rome in March), I thought this would be a gas. I'm interested in Baroque architecture/sculpture and the outsized personalities who made it - but give me a break . . . . this book was way too detail oriented about every single church these guys built. Some juicy stuff about Borromini's involvement in a worker's death; Bernini's uncle (or was it brother?) Luigi sodomizing a little boy while he was su Doing my usual obsessive reading about a city before I visit (months in advance - I'll be going to Rome in March), I thought this would be a gas. I'm interested in Baroque architecture/sculpture and the outsized personalities who made it - but give me a break . . . . this book was way too detail oriented about every single church these guys built. Some juicy stuff about Borromini's involvement in a worker's death; Bernini's uncle (or was it brother?) Luigi sodomizing a little boy while he was supposed to be working, etc. Not enough to bring the city and these two geniuses to life for me.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Matt McCormick

    A well written and orderly presentation of two great baroque artisans; Bernini and Borromini. While the "rivalry" in the books title is overstated the "transformation" is not. It's hard to imagine a Rome without the art and architecture these two geniuses produced. While Bernini remains on his own cloud in the artistic stratosphere, Morrissey helps the reader to understand why Borromini was important, unique and gifted. This is a relatively fast read and I think I benefited from first taking in A well written and orderly presentation of two great baroque artisans; Bernini and Borromini. While the "rivalry" in the books title is overstated the "transformation" is not. It's hard to imagine a Rome without the art and architecture these two geniuses produced. While Bernini remains on his own cloud in the artistic stratosphere, Morrissey helps the reader to understand why Borromini was important, unique and gifted. This is a relatively fast read and I think I benefited from first taking in Howard Hibbard's more in depth descriptions of Bernini's sculpture and architecture.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeanna

    Brilliant read!! After being in Italy, studying architecture and the Baroque geometric styles and urban planning of Rome, I became obsessed with this rivalry these two designers had over the years. The amount of drama and competition these two humans had during this time period still blows my mind & the amount of funding and practical real world issues they had as designers in comparison to today is part of the reason I’ve always been intrigued. Really great read for history, architecture and pl Brilliant read!! After being in Italy, studying architecture and the Baroque geometric styles and urban planning of Rome, I became obsessed with this rivalry these two designers had over the years. The amount of drama and competition these two humans had during this time period still blows my mind & the amount of funding and practical real world issues they had as designers in comparison to today is part of the reason I’ve always been intrigued. Really great read for history, architecture and planning lovers. Well researched and an easy to follow.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Ronan Gonçalves Figuerêdo

    The book goes back to the biography of two 17th century architects, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini, in the context it analyzes the rivalry and the dispute to achieve the best architectural projects. It shows how the exchange of powers between traditional families works in the succession of the popes and how two geniuses of equal creative value, but with such different personalities sealed their destinies. The two hated each other with such devotion and created the greatest Baroque The book goes back to the biography of two 17th century architects, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini, in the context it analyzes the rivalry and the dispute to achieve the best architectural projects. It shows how the exchange of powers between traditional families works in the succession of the popes and how two geniuses of equal creative value, but with such different personalities sealed their destinies. The two hated each other with such devotion and created the greatest Baroque works because of the rivalry. I could say that this rivalry ended up creating the Baroque.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Radarici

    It is an excellent option for those who are searching for a nice biographical reading. The way Morrissey used to reconstruct the cultural history of Rome through the rivalty of those two genius of design is remarkable. I read its Brazilian edition once in 2016 and its still fresh on my mind. I highly recommend this book for any reader who is interested in history of arts and biographies

  16. 5 out of 5

    Dina

    A fascinating tale of the transformation of Rome from a medieval slum to the splendor we see today. Borromini and Bernini, rival Renaissance geniuses, sculptors and architects fight it out in the halls of the Vatican and power structures of Rome for commissions to re-envision the monuments and layout of the Eternal City.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Vicki Kondelik

    The Genius in the Design by Jake Morrissey tells the fascinating story of the rivalry between two brilliant architects in 17th century Rome: Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini. Bernini was a sculptor, painter, playwright, and stage designer as well as an architect. A child prodigy, he created his first major sculpture at the age of twelve. Borromini was trained by his distant relative, Carlo Maderno, chief architect of St. Peter’s in Rome. When Maderno died, Borromini expected that he w The Genius in the Design by Jake Morrissey tells the fascinating story of the rivalry between two brilliant architects in 17th century Rome: Gianlorenzo Bernini and Francesco Borromini. Bernini was a sculptor, painter, playwright, and stage designer as well as an architect. A child prodigy, he created his first major sculpture at the age of twelve. Borromini was trained by his distant relative, Carlo Maderno, chief architect of St. Peter’s in Rome. When Maderno died, Borromini expected that he would replace him as chief architect, but the position was given to Bernini instead. Although the two men worked together for a while, Borromini always resented Bernini, and over the years a fierce hatred grew between the two men, as Bernini was given commission after commission by wealthy patrons, while Borromini’s work was appreciated by only a few. The two men could not have been more different. Bernini was handsome, charming, and very successful with women, and knew how to please influential patrons, including Pope Urban VIII (the pope who put Galileo on trial). Borromini was extremely difficult, paranoid about people taking credit for his work, and ended up alienating most of the patrons who could have advanced his career. During a brief period under Urban VIII’s successor, Innocent X, Borromini’s work was in favor. But this did not last long; the next pope favored Bernini, and eventually Borromini received fewer and fewer commissions, which led to a tragic end. Bernini and Borromini created many of the masterpieces of Baroque architecture in Rome, including St. Peter’s piazza and bell towers, the Palazzo Barberini, and the Fountain of the Four Winds. Morrissey gives detailed descriptions of their works, so even if you don’t know a lot about architecture, you can picture the buildings. And this book will make you want to go to Rome to see them for yourself.

  18. 4 out of 5

    David Eppenstein

    When I was 18 I entered college to study architecture. Like almost all my classmates I revered the great modern architects, Sullivan, Wright, Mies, and Le Corbusier. Unlike my classmates I was also fascinated by history and this fascination and my love of architecture led to a journey of discovery. During that journey I developed a fondness for the symmetry, stability, and rhythms of Renaissance architecture. Then I found Borromini and Bernini and the sensuality and dynamism of their forms and I When I was 18 I entered college to study architecture. Like almost all my classmates I revered the great modern architects, Sullivan, Wright, Mies, and Le Corbusier. Unlike my classmates I was also fascinated by history and this fascination and my love of architecture led to a journey of discovery. During that journey I developed a fondness for the symmetry, stability, and rhythms of Renaissance architecture. Then I found Borromini and Bernini and the sensuality and dynamism of their forms and I fell in love. In light of this I am probably not a good judge of the general appeal of this book. It is long on architectural descriptions and critically short on needed illustrations and photographs. A picture is worth a thousand words and a book on the work of any architect requires my illustration that verbalization. This is the one fault of this book otherwise it is an excellent treatment of the lives and works of these two incomparable artists.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    THE GENIUS IN THE DESIGN, Jake Morrissey. ITALY, Rome. Age of Pope Urban VIII. The development of the rivalry between Borromini and Bernini, talented "architects" during the late Renaissance, was really interesting. I avidly read the sections about Bernini, his sculptures and role in the design and building of St Peter's Basilica, but not so Borromini's lesser known accomplishments. Borromini was a talented architect and designer who had personality flaws which stifled his success. His jealousy o THE GENIUS IN THE DESIGN, Jake Morrissey. ITALY, Rome. Age of Pope Urban VIII. The development of the rivalry between Borromini and Bernini, talented "architects" during the late Renaissance, was really interesting. I avidly read the sections about Bernini, his sculptures and role in the design and building of St Peter's Basilica, but not so Borromini's lesser known accomplishments. Borromini was a talented architect and designer who had personality flaws which stifled his success. His jealousy of the affable Bernini for whom he worked at St Peter's created difficulty for Bernini as the campanili were being built. Learning more detail about Bernini's amazing sculptures housed at the Villa Borghese and SPB which I recently visited was a high point .

  20. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    This book is definitely outside my normal sphere of selections. However, I learned a lot about a topic that grabbed my curiosity during my recent trip to Rome. I think if the author had put a timeline in the book, it would have been very helpful. It was a bit lackluster on emotional expressiveness, but I think he stuck to the facts that are verifiable and no doubt, he knows a lot about architecture. I believe the personal and philosophical story about life, work, theology, and value is buried in This book is definitely outside my normal sphere of selections. However, I learned a lot about a topic that grabbed my curiosity during my recent trip to Rome. I think if the author had put a timeline in the book, it would have been very helpful. It was a bit lackluster on emotional expressiveness, but I think he stuck to the facts that are verifiable and no doubt, he knows a lot about architecture. I believe the personal and philosophical story about life, work, theology, and value is buried in some of the architectural details. Overall, I'm glad he compiled this research and it sounds like he's read the definitive works on both men.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Paul

    Most know Bernini from his exquisite sculptures or his design of the Colonnade and interior of St. Peters in Rome. Most do not know about his contemporary Borromini. The later was a very difficult personality but a very good architect. He had the misfortune to live at the time and in the shadow of Bernini. One place were their talents as individuals are on show is the Piazza Navona. The Pamphili Palace interior on the southeast end of the ellipse as well and the imposing Sant'Agnes in Agony Chur Most know Bernini from his exquisite sculptures or his design of the Colonnade and interior of St. Peters in Rome. Most do not know about his contemporary Borromini. The later was a very difficult personality but a very good architect. He had the misfortune to live at the time and in the shadow of Bernini. One place were their talents as individuals are on show is the Piazza Navona. The Pamphili Palace interior on the southeast end of the ellipse as well and the imposing Sant'Agnes in Agony Church were Boromini's, while the Fountain of the Four Rivers, the four statues topped by the obelisk are Bernini's design.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Trenchologist

    Mozart and Salieri of early Italian architecture, and how each inhabited, changed and formed Rome in their own images -- as well as in contrast and competition with the others'. Plenty of actual plot, timeline and history, but not at all lacking in character. Sensitive and with a great fleshing-out of both personalities, it highlights professional pinnacles, personal doldrums, breathtaking brilliance and aggravating foibles with equal scope. I could envision all the chapels and churches and scul Mozart and Salieri of early Italian architecture, and how each inhabited, changed and formed Rome in their own images -- as well as in contrast and competition with the others'. Plenty of actual plot, timeline and history, but not at all lacking in character. Sensitive and with a great fleshing-out of both personalities, it highlights professional pinnacles, personal doldrums, breathtaking brilliance and aggravating foibles with equal scope. I could envision all the chapels and churches and sculpture based on the descriptions alone, then wanted to go see them in the real, now knowing all I knew, in how they'd come to life.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    I really liked this book. About two of the most amazing artists from the baroque period, Bernini and Borromini. I had to read next to a computer/ipad to look up the buildings as they were talked about and their work is amazing. Great for anyone into architecture and of course, the eternal city. Yes I have go back to visit my new list of buildings by these two! I have loved Berninis' sculptures, but some of his buildings are also incerdible. Borromini I wasn't familiar with at all, but Frank Gehr I really liked this book. About two of the most amazing artists from the baroque period, Bernini and Borromini. I had to read next to a computer/ipad to look up the buildings as they were talked about and their work is amazing. Great for anyone into architecture and of course, the eternal city. Yes I have go back to visit my new list of buildings by these two! I have loved Berninis' sculptures, but some of his buildings are also incerdible. Borromini I wasn't familiar with at all, but Frank Gehrey said that the greatest building ever built is Borromini's San Carlino....it looks fabulous.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matthew Festger

    Excellent book. Looking at these two masters simultaneously helps to better understand each as an individual, providing points of similarity and contrast. It wouldn't be surprising to me to learn if Ayn Rand used these two men as a basis for the characters in The Fountainhead (though many have pointed to Wright being the basis of Roarks character). Borromini and Roark share similar personality traits, while the same can be said for Bernini and Keating. Excellent book. Looking at these two masters simultaneously helps to better understand each as an individual, providing points of similarity and contrast. It wouldn't be surprising to me to learn if Ayn Rand used these two men as a basis for the characters in The Fountainhead (though many have pointed to Wright being the basis of Roarks character). Borromini and Roark share similar personality traits, while the same can be said for Bernini and Keating.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Potential readers should be forewarned that this book is not about architecture or about Rome, but chronicles the parallel lives of the two Renaissance artists of the title who lived and worked in that great city. The result is entertaining but not greatly enlightening (in terms of architectural or urban history). And even though I was familiar with many of the sculptures and buildings mentioned, I still Googled them for images because the eBook has no graphics.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    I fluctuated between being slightly bored and fascinated with this book. (And I was only bored because I'm an art historian that is familiar with the basic history of 17th century Rome. I don't think that the general public would find Morrissey's details boring or unnecessary.) I think that this is a great book for popular history readers, and also contains interesting information. I fluctuated between being slightly bored and fascinated with this book. (And I was only bored because I'm an art historian that is familiar with the basic history of 17th century Rome. I don't think that the general public would find Morrissey's details boring or unnecessary.) I think that this is a great book for popular history readers, and also contains interesting information.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Wow! While reading this book, I kind of faded in and out of interest, probably due to reading it on the bus, in the sun, or in bed, and my attention wandered too much to really get into it. But when I did, which is mostly the last half, it was GREAT, full of surprising bits of character, humor, and emotion. I wish there were more pictures though.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Holman Massey

    A fascinating tale of the transformation of Rome from a medieval slum to the splendor we see today. Borromini and Bernini, rival Renaissance geniuses, sculptors and architects fight it out in the halls of the Vatican and power structures of Rome for commissions to re-envision the monuments and layout of the Eternal City.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Katherine

    Nifty history of one Rome's great periods of architecture and sculpture. I remember being wowed by Bernini's marbles in Rome and this book brings his personality to life along with that of his rival Borromini. Nifty history of one Rome's great periods of architecture and sculpture. I remember being wowed by Bernini's marbles in Rome and this book brings his personality to life along with that of his rival Borromini.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ottorino Belluzzi

    If you want to savour Rome, you have to learn first how to read the baroque. If you want to learn how to read the baroque, you have to learn first about Bernini and Borromini. If you want to learn about Bernini and Borromini, this is the book. Luxuriant, enjoyable, enlightening - just perfect.

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