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Born Under Saturn: The Character and Conduct of Artists

4.06  ·  Rating details ·  163 ratings  ·  14 reviews
A rare art history classic that The New York Times calls a "delightful, scholarly and gossipy romp through the character and conduct of artists from antiquity to the French Revolution."

Born Under Saturn is a classic work of scholarship written with a light and winning touch. Margot and Rudolf Wittkower explore the history of the familiar idea that artistic inspiration is a
Paperback, 344 pages
Published November 28th 2006 by New York Review of Books (first published January 1st 1963)
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4.06  · 
Rating details
 ·  163 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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Aug 07, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Artists
Forget modern art. This is about the development of the artistic personality from antiquity up to the French Revolution. Covers patronage, the break from guilds and workshops, the assertion of artistic freedom, obsession with work, the inability of artists to get along with others, their sex lives, food lives, sleep lives, and much more.
Elisa Goudriaan
Dec 29, 2014 rated it liked it
Dit boek begint sterk met de vraag of er een universele karakterschets gegeven kan worden van kunstenaars, bij wie een creatieve geest vaak samengaat met de behoefte aan introspectie en afzondering. Vlagen van genialiteit worden veelal afgewisseld door periodes van melancholie en soms zelfs waanzin. Maar is dit eigenlijk wel kunstenaar-eigen? Of zijn dit gewoon algemeen menselijke kenmerken? In hun zoektocht naar antwoorden nemen Rudolf en Margot Wittkower de biografische gegevens van talloze Re ...more
Nov 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art-books
A scholarly work, extensively researched. Amusing, astounding, and interesting studies of artist's personalities, foibles, and work habits from the early Renaissance period to the beginning of the Romantic era. The artist's place in society is also described in great detail.
Aug 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Having read other books by Rudolf Wittkower, I must say that I was rather disappointed. Although being intrigued by the idea of investigating the nature of the artist and how this might be different from other professional groups, the book lacks a firm structure.
Most likely Rudolf and Margot Wittkower had been collecting notes on anything which had vaguely to do with artistry that they came across throughout their career and attempted to piece them together in a book. And that's exactly what thi
Sep 18, 2007 added it
Recommends it for: artists and art historians
Shelves: jodyread
An excellent sociological study of art as a profession, how artists have supported themselves, and how their profession has been viewed throughout history, the role of patrons, business sense, and drink.
Dec 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lots of wonderful source material, not great plates (but that's what the internet is for), a very loose argument, but ultimately I was ok with that. Introduced me to some artists as well, which is always a plus.
Darrell Madis
Nov 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Excellent book, very informative and interesting. The book obviously required an enormous amount of research.
Carlotta Bonomi
Jan 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Studiato per un esame universitario, è stato molto interessante. Si scopre ad esempio che forse il mondo dell'arte e degli artisti è meno pazzo, suicida o anticonformista di quanto si possa pensare.
Interessantissimi gli aneddoti.
Jan 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Al final no hay una respuesta clara a lo que se llama «artista». Interesante lectura.
Giovanni Garcia-Fenech
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art
Despite the authors' insistence that they don't want the book to be a collection of meandering (and contradictory) anecdotes, it's largely what it is. And that's what makes this hilarious, gossipy, and slightly cracked book so great.
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Margot Wittkower (1902 – July 3, 1995) née Margot Holzmann, was a German-American Interior designer and art historian specializing in neo-Palladian architecture and Italian Renaissance and Baroque period.