In this gem of a book, Loyd Grossman explores the art and heritage of his beloved Rome. His starting point is the enigmatic and strangely beautiful monument of an elephant carrying on obelisk outside Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, just behind the Pantheon.
This intriguing vision leads us back to 1650 when, due to the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War, the power of the Catholic Church – and so Rome itself – had been shattered. Yet a new Pope, Alexander VII, was determined to restore the prestige of his church by making Rome the must-visit destination for Europe’s intellectual, political and cultural elite. To help him do so, he enlisted the talents of Gianlorenzo Bernini, already celebrated as the most important living artist.
Together, Alexander VII and Bernini created a Baroque Rome more beautiful and grander than since the day of Emperor Augustus.
With travel limited as it is at the moment, “An Elephant in Rome” is the perfect escape!
Hardback, Pallas Athene, £19.99 – signed copies available
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