Farewell to the World. A History of Suicide by Marzio Barbagli, Polity Press (September 2015)
Raphael: A Passionate Life by Antonio Forcellino, Polity Press (2012)
Paul Johnson has reviewed the book in The Literary Review (June 2012), describing it as an “ebullient book, elegantly translated by Lucinda Byatt”. He goes on to say that “the author is ingenious and fastidious in describing Raphael’s works, and his book will give pleasure to those coming to them for the first time; it even highlights a few things connoisseurs may have missed.”
Tumult and Order. La Malcontenta 1924-1939 by Antonio Foscari (Lars Muller Publishers, autumn 2012)
This is the untold story of how La Malcontenta, Palladio’s masterpiece which stands on the Brenta, in the Veneto, was rescued by Albert (Bertie) Clinton Landsberg in the 1920s. It is also the story of the glittering high society that was drawn to Venice – to its palaces and to the Lido. Cole and Linda Porter, Diaghilev, Serge Lifar, Paul Morand and many other extraordinary characters populate Antonio Foscari’s extraordinary account. The book also contains a postscript on the later story of the villa after the Second World War: how it passed from Bertie to Claud Phillimore, an aristocratic Englishman and well-known architect specialising in English country houses, and then finally returned to its present owners, Antonio Foscari and his family, descendants of the Foscari brothers by whom it was built. [I recently found this interesting review by Thomas Wensing here, along with that of Guido Beltramini’s book, The Private Palladio, also published by Lars-Muller, 2012.]
The Lost Michelangelos by Antonio Forcellino, Polity Press, June 2011
Antonio Forcellino – leading art restorer and Michelangelo specialist – recounts the extraordinary voyage of discovery that led him to attribute two little known panel paintings to Michelangelo. The first, known as the Ragusa Pietà, was painted by Michelangelo in 1545-6 and presented to Cardinal Pole who took it with him to the Council of Trent. The Pietàis now in America where it has been owned by the Kober family since the 1880s. The second panel painting, a Crucifixion, is currently housed in the Ashmolean, but is owned by the Jesuit foundation that runs the private Oxford college, Campion Hall. Forcellino attributes the Crucifixion to Michelangelo who painted it for his intimate friend, Tomaso Cavallieri.