RaveThe Wall Street Journal...Ms. Targoff is adept at keeping the reader informed of the complex geopolitical machinations taking place in Colonna’s life, among them the conflict between Clement VII and Charles V, which pits her family’s loyalties against her husband’s, and the schism in the church wrought by Lutheranism. All of this is introduced not as dry context but as high drama. Working closely with Colonna’s letters and poems, Ms. Targoff gives her the vividness of a fictional protagonist. Too often, she is depicted in modern historical accounts as a bit dull: a chaste and bloodless widow, entombed in her own piety, devoted only to God. In Ms. Targoff’s hands, she emerges as a fully human mix of ambition, desire and shame ... With luck, Ms. Targoff’s erudite and lively biography will spur scholars and publishers to place more of her poems and letters into the hands of readers, to judge her legacy for themselves.
Ingrid Rowland & Noah Charley
PositiveThe Wall Street JournalThe Collector of Lives focuses on the cultural politics of the 16th century and the vicissitudes of fortune, both Vasari’s and those of the artists he describes … Ms. Rowland and Mr. Charney’s book opens in the Palazzo Vecchio with a tantalizing, Dan Brown -style tale of the hunt for Leonardo’s lost painting depicting the Battle of Anghiari, which some believe to be hidden under one of Vasari’s own frescoes … The authors are more interested in demonstrating Vasari’s continued relevance. This is a case that hardly needs making; Vasari remains on the lips of every Renaissance art historian. Nonetheless, Ms. Rowland and Mr. Charney make frequent reference to contemporary culture and art … Readers curious about the making of Renaissance art, its cast of characters and political intrigue, will find much to relish in these pages. This is a lively, highly readable point of entry into an important and fascinating text.