Along with Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, and Donatello, Nanni di Banco (ca. 1374-1421) determined the course of Renaissance art in Florence, and yet he has received relatively little critical attention. Here Mary Bergstein brings a fresh, wide-ranging critical perspective to bear on the artist who created some of the most important public works of the early Renaissance period, including his life-size niche figures for Orsanmichele and the Assumption of the Virgin for the Porta della Mandorla of the cathedral of Florence. She offers a complete study of the artist, including a much-needed social history of his sculpture. In a series of five thematic essays, Bergstein interweaves biography with rich explorations of the political, historical, and cultural context in which Nanni worked, while offering new insights into several of his most famous sculptures. The book concludes with a catalogue raisonné and a documentary register.
Nanni has been typically viewed as a traditional stonecarver who took up a verbatim archaeology of classical forms in statuary, but lacked an overarching sense of imagination. Bergstein seeks to redress this notion, beginning with an exploration of Nanni's aesthetic and intellectual development, most notably through his leadership role in the stonemason's guild. Nanni's sculpture, she maintains, frequently expressed a gravitas of character and physical presence, nuanced by a profound awareness of mortality, whereas his approach to immortality was transcendent in its attempt to link the spiritual concerns of the Florentine city-state with those of the entire Christian cosmos.
"[An] admirable study . . . The whole magnum opus, which is beautifully illustrated with a wealth of black and white photographs, concludes with an impressively scholarly catalogue raisonné . . ."--Brian Tovey, The Art Newspaper
"Nanni was a pivotal force in the evolution of the Renaissance style of grandeur and naturalism in sculpture, possibly more so than Donatello, Mary Bergstein argues convincingly . . . Ms. Bergstein's book is a penetrating and insightful analysis of Nanni's work."--Eric Gibson, The Wall Street Journal
"With this monograph in English, the first of its kind, Mary Bergstein . . . begins to give Nanni di Banco the recognition that is surely his due."--Shelley E. Zurav, Renaissance Quarterly
"In this beautifully illustrated and produced book . . . Bergstein has provided an English-speaking readership with a much-needed assessment of Nanni di Banco's oeuvre. . . . Bergstein's ability to integrate formal analysis into a social and historical context gives this book a depth that should ensure Nanni di Banco's place as one of the major sculptors of early-fifteenth-century Florence."--Cordelia Warr, The Art Book
"No monograph in English has been published on Nanni di Banco until now. This omission is admirably redressed in this book by Mary Bergstein, which for once sets Nanni in his rightful place amongst the leading artists of his generation. It will prove to be an essential reference point for subsequent scholarship on this seminal period in Florentine art history. . . . In addition to the excellent text and the useful documentation and analysis, the book contains very good illustrations."--Roger Tarr, History
File created: 9/23/2014