Medusa's Gaze The Extraordinary Journey of the Tazza Farnese

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2012-10-02
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press

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The banded agate bowl known as theTazza Farneseis one of the most famous and admired objects from classical antiquity. A majestic libation bowl carved on the outside with the head of Medusa and within with an assembly of Olympian gods, theTazza'sopalescent figures and radiant colors have mesmerized emperors and artists, popes and thieves for more than two millennia. In this, the first book-length account of the "life" of this renowned masterpiece, art historian Marina Belozerskaya takes readers on a fascinating trip through history. That it has survived at all is a miracle. TheTazzawitnessed the rise and fall of Cleopatra; the sack of Constantinople by Christian knights in 1204; the flowering of the arts at Tamerlane's court at Samarqand, and, later, in Renaissance Naples and Florence; the rediscovery of Pompeii and Herculaneum; the turbulent aftermath of the French Revolution; and the birth of the modern Italian state. Along the way, the reader encounters the illustrious and the nefarious figures who have come into contact with this prized artifact. It aroused the lust of Greek, Roman, Byzantine, and Mongol rulers, consoled a heart-broken duchess, inspired major artists like Botticelli and Raphael, tempted spies and thieves, and drew the ire of a deranged museum guard who nearly destroyed it. Through the prism of this most precious bowl,Medusa's Gazebrings history vividly and intimately to life.

Author Biography

Marina Belozerskaya is a cultural historian whose previous books include To Wake the Dead, The Medici Giraffe, The Arts of Tuscany, Luxury Arts of the Renaissance, and Rethinking the Renaissance: Burgundian Arts Across Europe.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
List of Illustrationsp. xi
Cast of Major Charactersp. xv
Introductionp. 3
Cleopatra's Artificep. 8
Gem Mania in Romep. 31
The Past Acquired, Revived, and Ransackedp. 47
"A Large Dish of Onyx" in the Holy Roman Empirep. 71
Timur, World Conqueror and Connoisseurp. 87
Renaissance Collectors and Thievesp. 116
In Women's Handsp. 152
Gems and Ruins in Bourbon Naplesp. 181
The Night Watchmanp. 215
Notesp. 227
Bibliographyp. 253
Indexp. 275
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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