The Raphael Trail
The Secret History of One of the World's Most Precious Works of Art
By (author) Joanna Pitman
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Raphael Trail by Joanna Pitman
Book DescriptionRaphael's "St George and the Dragon" is the work of a genius - an exquisitely rendered vision of heroism and innocence by one of the greatest painters of all time. Yet, the painting's creation is only the beginning of a fascinating story that spans centuries of power play and intrigue, taking in a cast of characters both colourful and terrifying. For the young Raphael, the painting was an expression of his growing talents and a crucial step in his ascent to the peak of the Renaissance art world. But for a succession of jealous owners, it became a symbol of power and prestige. Painted in Italy, "St George and the Dragon" was sent to England as a gift for Henry VII in exchange for the prestigious knighthood of the Garter, art being traded for honour. The painting then mysteriously disappeared for a century before re-emerging as one of the key works in the great collection of art built up by Charles I, only to be sold when the collection was forcibly broken up after his execution. When Catherine the Great, a monarch of enormous appetites - political, sexual and cultural - later heard the painting was again on the market, she dispatched the famous philosopher Diderot to add it to her vast collection at the Hermitage in Russia. Treated both as an icon and as a Western masterpiece, "St George and the Dragon" survived fire and the Russian Revolution, only to be sold by the arch-Communist Stalin to Andrew Mellon, Capitalism's chief priest and one of the last US Robber Barons, in a secret and utterly illicit transaction. Exceptionally written and breathlessly paced, "The Raphael Trail" shows how the greatest beauty in art can provoke the basest instincts in man.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780091901721
(199mm x 126mm x 20mm)
Imprint: Ebury Press
Publisher: Ebury Publishing
Publish Date: 5-Apr-2007
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author Joanna Pitman
Dragon's Trail, Paperback (April 2008)
In her fascinating new book, Pitman has written an enthralling micro history of Raphael's painting "St. George and the Dragon"--as well as the colorful rogue's gallery of historical characters who have owned it.
On Blondes, Paperback (March 2004)» View all books by Joanna Pitman
In art and literature, in history and popular culture, blonde has never been a mere colour. From Greek prostitutes mimicking the golden-haired Aphrodite, to the Californian beach babe we see the lengths to which women will go to become blonde. This work provides us with a view of the power of the blonde throughout the ages.
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Author Biography - Joanna Pitman
Joanna Pitman read Japanese at Cambridge University and was Tokyo correspondent for The Times from 1990-1994, where she now works as the photography critic. Her first book, On Blondes, was published to considerable acclaim. She lives in London with her family.
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