From Publishers Weekly
Six hundred years ago, Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunelleschi finished one and two in a contest to design the decorative bronze doors that now grace Florence's beloved Baptistry. Ghiberti, the youngest entrant, was the victor and subsequent recipient of many of the city's most sought-after projects. Wounded by his loss to the upstart Ghiberti, Brunelleschi (who was better educated and from a more respectable family than his rival) set out to reintroduce the glory of Antiquity in their age. Brunelleschi went on to design the dome that has long symbolized Florence's cityscape and succeeded in popularizing the return to the architectural vocabulary of Greece and Rome. Walker, author of various YA books and Every Day's a Miracle, contends (though too often he simply conjectures) that while fighting for architectural and sculptural commissions and fuming at one another, the two artists brought out the best in each other, their peers and subsequent generations. While that may be so, this book is hurt by the author's attempts to construct his imagined narrative without sufficient evidence to do so convincingly. Descriptions lacking originality and force (Brunelleschi's dome is "a vision of curving red tile and white marble perfection set against the pale blue Tuscan sky") and weak argumentation make this a disappointing popularization of the lives and work of two very talented men.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Drawing on a wealth of original source material and contemporary biographies, this engaging account introduces readers to rivals Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti, the young geniuses whose artistic visions were the beginnings of the Renaissance in Florence. Their lives and works are the main topics of this book, but Walker also interweaves the stories of other famous individuals such as Donatello and the Medicis. He frequently speculates on motivations and activities that might have taken place during undocumented years but reminds readers that he is only offering logical conjectures. He makes note of past events that impacted Florentine life of the day, such as the plague, the Great Schism, and the Guelf/Ghibelline struggle. Use of anecdotes, particularly the tale of an elaborate practical joke, shows the human side of these masters. Eighteen black-and-white photographs, some full page, some very small, show the major works discussed in the text. Extensive source notes are included.Kathy Tewell, Chantilly Regional Library, VA
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to the