1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A good introduction to Raphael,
This review is from: Raphael (Hardcover)
Customer review from the Amazon Vine Programme (What's this?)I enjoyed this book and found it both interesting and readable. This is a bonus because I have found, after many years in art education, that books on art history are frequently neither. However, the book falls between two stools, is it an academic or popular biography? Even though there is an excellent section of notes, from time to time it strays into supposition and faction, telling us what Raphael saw and thought when there are no references cited. It is not always totally clear what has been documented and what is the author's surmise. This probably does not detract from the book's worth as a means of learning about Raphael, but it does make one query its credentials as an academic biography, but, at the same time, its tone is more serious than most popular biographies.
I found his analysis of Raphael's painting and his tracing of the various influences that affected the way his painting developed fascinating, especially when his comments were supported by illustrations.
Although he does deal with some of the background history, I would have liked more detail about the political scene in Italy in the late fifteenth century to make sense of what happened next, but, since the author is Italian, perhaps he assumed that an Italian audience would have this knowledge. Equally frustrating in some ways was the discussion about the differences in character and behaviour between Raphael and his near contemporaries and rivals, Leonardo and Michelangelo. I wanted to know more. I feel that an opportunity was lost.
All in all, this a good introduction to Raphael and his work but it could have been so much more.