A Matter of Passion: Letters of Bernard Berenson and Clotilde Marghieri

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9780520065277: A Matter of Passion: Letters of Bernard Berenson and Clotilde Marghieri

Bernard Berenson (1865 - 1959) was an American art historian specializing in the Renaissance. His book The Italian Painters of the Renaissance was an international success. Berenson was a major figure in the attribution of Old Masters, at a time when these were attracting new interest by American collectors, and his judgments were widely respected in the art world. Recent research has cast doubt on some of his authentications, which may have been influenced by the exceptionally high commissions paid to him. Between 1927 and 1955, Bernard Berenson and Clotilde Marghieri wrote to each other nearly every day. Their correspondence totals an estimated sixteen hundred letters; the several hundred selected for this volume reveal a most unusual relationship - one which Berenson and Marghieri kept virtually secret during their lifetimes. In recent years, Berenson's personality has been depicted as manipulative and self-centered. A MATTER OF PASSION changes this picture, showing us a complex and magnetic character of generous and even humble devotion. Readers will also discover how, thanks to her friendship and correspondence with Berenson, Clotilde Marghieri became one of Italy's most perceptive and insightful novelists. Besides this intimate picture of Berenson, the book contains a vast gallery of portraits of writers, artists, and prominent intellectuals including Edith Wharton, Louis Gillet, Sylve Claude, Katherine Mansfield, Desmond MacCarthy, Benedetto Croce, Roberto Pane, Renato Guttusco and many others. The editor, Dario Biocca, is the grandson of Clotilde Marghieri. He teaches European history at the University of Perugia, Italy; has a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley and has taught at various institutions in the US and Italy. He is currently at UC Berkeley teaching a course on "Walls: Separation and Integration" and 20th Century Italy.

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From Publishers Weekly:

These letters reveal a hidden side of famed art critic Bernenson (1865-1959). He first met Clotilde Marghieri in 1925, when he was in his 60s, married, and she was a budding journalist-novelist in her early 30s, soon to leave her husband's Neapolitan clan to live in her own house on the slopes of Mount Vesuvius. They developed a passionate relationship, corresponding between 1927 and 1955, yet their 1100 surviving letters came to light only in 1981 when Marghieri published a selection translated into Italian. The present lively selection, edited by her grandson, reveals two cultured narcissists who idealize each other, pour out their passions but conceal their deeper motives and emotions. Among the visitors to Berenson's hilltop villa outside Florence, briefly profiled here, are Aldous Huxley, Edith Wharton, Alberto Moravia, Roger Fry, Nancy Mitford, Ignazio Silone. Photos.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Bernard Berenson; Clotilde Marghieri; Dario Biocca
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Bernard Berenson; Clotilde Marghieri; Dario Biocca
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Berenson, Bernard, Marghieri, Clotilde,
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Bernard Berenson, Clotilde Marghieri, Dario Biocca
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