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Feud That Sparked the Renaissance: How Brunelleschi and Ghiberti Changed the Art World

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  244 Ratings  ·  30 Reviews
A lively and intriguing tale of the competition between two artists, culminating in the construction of the Duomo in Florence, this is also the story of a city on the verge of greatness, and the dawn of the Renaissance, when everything artistic would change.

Florence′s Duomo - the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral - is one of the most enduring symbols of the Itali
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ebook, 304 pages
Published October 13th 2009 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 1990)
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(showing 1-30)
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Jo Walton
This is a fun readable book about Brunelleschi and Ghiberti that doesn't assume the reader has any prior knowledge at all, but assumes that the reader isn't an idiot. It explains without talking down, an excellent thing. If you are interested in architecture, and perspective, or the lives of artists, or what a golden age is, read this. I'd recommend this to anyone.

I read it in Florence, which was perfect, because I could keep going to look at things. I utterly disagree with some of Walker's aes
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Jennifer (JC-S)
Apr 11, 2010 Jennifer (JC-S) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
‘Something happened in Florence six hundred years ago,something so unique and miraculous that it changed our world forever. We call it the Renaissance, a rebirth of ancient art and learning.’

This story begins in the waning days of the 14th century, and tells the story of the competition between Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi to design and produce a new set of bronze doors for the Church of St John the Baptist (The Baptistery) in Florence. Ghiberti won this particular competition, but
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Dreepa
Sep 02, 2014 Dreepa rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to like this book.
The very premise that there was a 'feud' .. well he never wrote about it beyond the fact that one artist lost one commission. Hardly a feud.
I did like learning the history from the early Renaissance a period I do know know much about.

Also the story was very choppy .. didn't really follow just one artist... it was vaguely chronological but... just needed some more editing

I will look into this period of history more though.
Paul
This was kinda interesting but it wasn't really holding my attention that much. There was also a decent amount of speculation in there where the historical record is apparently silent, but at least it was marked out at such.

The story of Filippo Brunelleschi and the Fat Woodcarver was pretty funny - it's good to know that even in the 14th century, people still found gaslighting people hilarious.
Simone Fournier
For my second summer book, I read The Feud That Sparked the Renaissance: How Brunelleschi and Ghiberti Changed the Art World, by Paul Robert Walker. This book centers around two great artists of the early Italian Renaissance Period, Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti. Although these two young men came from very different origins, they both entered the Florentine art scene around the same time, in competition over who would design the bronze North Doors of the Florence Baptistery. Ghiberti ...more
Pooja
Oct 29, 2016 Pooja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fun & inspiring read with a timeless story about genuises & talented men pieced together from historical artifacts & events. Great introduction to the early Renaissance period & people & art.

It's a story from a culture of high creativity & competition about two men in particular who were as different as they can be but whose art & achievements & personalities history reveres equally and other high-achieving men in their circles that they inspired & worked wit
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Kris
It was a good book with a great overview of the artists of the early Quattrocento, I was especially happy about the biographical look at Masaccio. However, if one is interested in the actual construction of Il Duomo and why it took one hundred years to complete, one should read "Brunelleschi's Dome by Ross King. Not too mention, Walker makes it sound like Brunelleschi pulled all of his geometry and technical skills out of his ass. He rarely touches on Brunelleschi's friendship with Toscanelli (o ...more
Adrienne
Aug 30, 2012 Adrienne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: italy, non-fiction
A fascinating look at the rivalry between Brunelleschi and Ghiberti beginning with the competition to design the Baptistery doors by each submitting one panel for the door with the theme the Sacrifice of Isaac. Both panels are exquisite but Ghiberti was given the commission to create the doors. 15 years later, Brunelleschi begins work on Florence’s icon – the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral. Walker combines this artistic rivalry with Renaissance intrigue, and discusses other Renaissance ...more
Rachel
Jul 17, 2016 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting, easy to read.
So much documentation is lost to history and time, but the author makes lively use of what's available. He does make a bit more emotional conjecture than I expected on how the artists "must have felt", etc.
I would have liked some more maps and illustrations of the many art pieces which were discussed in varying degrees of detail. A number are included in the center, but I would have enjoyed even more, and interspersed in the relevant text.
In all, it was worth the coup
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Mary Beth
Aug 23, 2011 Mary Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, arts
It feels like Walker decided to use everything he found in his research, rather than do some trimming that would have made the narrative a bit less meandering. This meandering and the overall style undermine "the feud" aspect; especially since it felt like there were "oh, wait, I need to mention the feud!" moments. As some of the other reviewers mention, it does read a bit like a weaker version of Brunellesci's Dome, which I found the more interesting read overall.
David Eppenstein
Unless you are interested in architectural history and in particular the architecture of the Italian Renaissance then this book will bore you to tears. I, on the other hand, did find the book informative and enlightening. I particularly enjoyed delving into the personalities of these two Renaissance giants and learning about the customs and bureaucracy of Renaissance Florence. A good book if you're into this period of history.
Trish
Aug 09, 2013 Trish rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book drags at many point, but is interesting where he gets into the meat of Brunelleschi's work. Not sure there was an actual feud. Seems more like competition where commissions were at times hard to obtain. Wondering where the notes are for the author's thoughts. If this is non- fiction they are missing.
A. Trit
Dec 10, 2014 A. Trit rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: painting
This is difficult to listen to without prior knowledge of Renaissance Florence, but it pairs really well with the Khan Academy coverage of the same topic. Listen to the book, and when key characters and buildings are introduced, read/watch a brief article/video for context. Between the two resources, I learned a LOT.
Claire
It was an interesting historical saga, but the guy's writing leaves a little to be desired. Every piece of art was "bold" or "daring", and I just don't see it. Also, I'm still confused by his construction descriptions of the Duomo -- and I'm a civil engineer...
Jim
Aug 20, 2012 Jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining and compelling read that gives the history of the beginning or the Renaissance from the perspective of the lives of the amazing individuals individuals involved, that brings the subject matter to a more real feel than any other book I've read on the subject.
Craig Masten
It's been awhile since I read this book, but as I recall I found it an entertaining and informative study of how these two men created their masterpieces of Renaissance art and architecture. All you ever want to know and more on the techniques employed.
Sandra Strange
Oct 01, 2009 Sandra Strange rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating account of the feud between Brunellesci (same as in Brunelleschi's Dome) and its consequences: Brunelleschi's revolutionizing painting and architecture, helping add to the gathering wave of the Renaissance.
Blair
Apr 09, 2012 Blair rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, europe
I learned a lot, but it can be very "in the weeds." I love esoteric, in-depth history, but this got a little too into the details even for me. On the other hand, I knew almost nothing about art history before, and now feel like I have at least a basic grasp on this period.
Carrie
Apr 16, 2013 Carrie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Compelling story, but the author seems to have fallen in love with every fact he came across making for slog at times.
Rebecca
Inspiring. A must for all who love the Art of Science or the Science of Art or simply the hazy idea thereof.
Caulyne B
Aug 21, 2007 Caulyne B rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this book was great before I went to Florence. Then I reread it and got so much more out of it!!
Ria
Jan 27, 2016 Ria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting with useful information that I'm glad to have learned but there are more spirited books out there.
Glen Grayson
This was a follow up to Brunellechi's Dome, but I liked the original better, although this dealt with some additional historical bits, so it was worth it.
Converse
This is an interesting account of these Italian (Florence) artists. The book could benefit from more pictures of their work.
William
Jan 07, 2011 William rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am surprised how boring this book was. If I were to choose a new field to study for fun, it would be history, and yet I found few interesting parts of this book.
Jeff
May 28, 2011 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Occasionally a bit too detailed, nevertheless a great intro to the men who began the Italian Renaissance.
Beyond the Pages
Feb 13, 2016 Beyond the Pages rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I started reading this in association with a focus study on Ghiberti. I liked his story. I was fascinated by what was revealed.
Craig Fiebig
Fascinating discussion about the start of the Renaissance and the artist is who competed for prominence.
Greg Girard
Greg Girard rated it it was amazing
Dec 06, 2014
Gary
Gary rated it liked it
Oct 15, 2012
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19987
I was born in Oak Park, Illinois—just like Ernest Hemingway, only later.

I’ve been saying this in biographies for a long time, and it sounds pretty good. Ernest Hemingway is big stuff, and how many authors are born in Oak Park, Illinois?

Yet recently I was taken to task during a visit to the Fresno area, where two—count them two—separate individuals pinned me down with grueling interrogations involv
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