An examination of the Renaissance countess explores her marriage at the age of ten into a corrupt pope's influential family, her fierce rule after the assassination of her husband, and the inspiring resistance she led against the Borgia family.
Sarah Bradford's Lucrezia Bogia: Life, Love and Death in Renaissance Italy is the first biography of Lucrezia Borgia for over sixty years .Lucrezia Borgia - an infamous murderess or simply the victim of bad press? Lucrezia Borgia's name has echoed through history as a byword for evil - a poisoner who committed incest with her natural father, Pope Alexander VI, and with her brother, Cesare Borgia. Long considered the most ruthless of Italian Renaissance noblewomen, her tarnished reputation has prevailed long since her own lifetime. In this definitive biography, a work of huge scholarship and erudition, Sarah Bradford gives a fascinating account of Lucrezia's life in all its colourful controversy. Daughter, sister, wife and mother, Lucrezia Borgia was surrounded by wealth, privilege and intrigue. But what was the truth behind her extraordinary existence - was she a monster of cruelty and deceit, or simply the pawn of her power-hungry father and brother? 'Sarah Bradford writes with cool authority and her research in Italian archives is exemplary. No other biography is likely to bring us closer to Lucrezia' Spectator 'Bradford's forte, ever since she was a history-mad girl, is thinking herself into other lives' Daily Telegraph Sarah Bradford is a historian and biographer. Her books include Cesare Borgia (1976), Disraeli (1982), winner of the New York Times Book of the Year, Princess Grace (1984), Sacherevell Sitwell (1993), Elizabeth: A Biography of Her Majesty the Queen (1996), America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (2000), Lucrezia Borgia (2005) and Diana (2007). She frequently appears on television as an authority on her biographical subjects and as a commentator on notable royal events. She is currently working on a full scale biography of Queen Victoria. She lives in London.
Between her birth in 1463 as the illegitimate daughter of the Duke of Milan, to her death in 1509 as a member of the powerful Medici family, Caterina Sforza's life crossed the firmament of Italy's High Renaissance like a shooting star. In her 46 years she bore eight children and buried three husbands. She was painted by Botticelli, slandered by Machiavelli, and feted by Pope Sixtus IV. She was celebrated as a warrior who fearlessly led her own troops into battle, and ruthlessly defended her city-state of Forli, but Caterina was eventually defeated, imprisoned and raped by Cesare Borgia. Remembered as the author of a recipe book that went through more than 100 editions, Caterina was honoured at her death as 'without a doubt the first lady of Italy'. Her youngest son would become - like her - a brilliant soldier and a national hero, and the next four generations of her descendants would include two Dukes of Tuscany, a queen of France, and a queen of England.
This colorful history of a powerful family brings the world they lived in—the glittering Rome of the Italian Renaissance—to life. The name Borgia is synonymous with the corruption, nepotism, and greed that were rife in Renaissance Italy. The powerful, voracious Rodrigo Borgia, better known to history as Pope Alexander VI, was the central figure of the dynasty. Two of his seven papal offspring also rose to power and fame—Lucrezia Borgia, his daughter, whose husband was famously murdered by her brother, and that brother, Cesare, who inspired Niccolò Machiavelli’s The Prince. Notorious for seizing power, wealth, land, and titles through bribery, marriage, and murder, the dynasty’s dramatic rise from its Spanish roots to its occupation of the highest position in Renaissance society forms a gripping tale. From the author of The Rise and Fall of the House of Medici and other acclaimed works, The Borgias and Their Enemies is “a fascinating read” (Library Journal).
In Murder of a Medici Princess, Caroline Murphy illuminates the brilliant life and tragic death of Isabella de Medici, one of the brightest stars in the dazzling world of Renaissance Italy, the daughter of Duke Cosimo I, ruler of Florence and Tuscany. Murphy is a superb storyteller, and her fast-paced narrative captures the intrigue, the scandal, the romantic affairs, and the violence that were commonplace in the Florentine court. She brings to life an extraordinary woman, fluent in five languages, a free-spirited patron of the arts, a daredevil, a practical joker, and a passionate lover. Isabella, in fact, conducted numerous affairs, including a ten-year relationship with the cousin of her violent and possessive husband. Her permissive lifestyle, however, came to an end upon the death of her father, who was succeeded by her disapproving older brother Francesco. Considering Isabella's ways to be licentious and a disgrace upon the family, he permitted her increasingly enraged husband to murder her in a remote Medici villa. To tell this dramatic story, Murphy draws on a vast trove of newly discovered and unpublished documents, ranging from Isabella's own letters, to the loose-tongued dispatches of ambassadors to Florence, to contemporary descriptions of the opulent parties and balls, salons and hunts in which Isabella and her associates participated. Murphy resurrects the exciting atmosphere of Renaissance Florence, weaving Isabella's beloved city into her story, evoking the intellectual and artistic community that thrived during her time. Palaces and gardens in the city become places of creativity and intrigue, sites of seduction, and grounds for betrayal. Here then is a narrative of compelling and epic proportions, magnificent and alluring, decadent and ultimately tragic.
Leonardo da Vinci, Niccolò Machiavelli, and Cesare Borgia—three iconic figures whose intersecting lives provide the basis for this astonishing work of narrative history. They could not have been more different, and they would meet only for a short time in 1502, but the events that transpired when they did would significantly alter each man’s perceptions—and the course of Western history. In 1502, Italy was riven by conflict, with the city of Florence as the ultimate prize. Machiavelli, the consummate political manipulator, attempted to placate the savage Borgia by volunteering Leonardo to be Borgia’s chief military engineer. That autumn, the three men embarked together on a brief, perilous, and fateful journey through the mountains, remote villages, and hill towns of the Italian Romagna—the details of which were revealed in Machiavelli’s frequent dispatches and Leonardo’s meticulous notebooks. Superbly written and thoroughly researched, The Artist, the Philosopher, and the Warrior is a work of narrative genius—whose subject is the nature of genius itself.
Not long after Martin Luther’s defiance of the Church in 1517, dialogue between Protestants and Catholics broke down, brother turned against brother, and devastating religious wars erupted across Europe. Desperate to restore the peace and recover the unity of Faith, Catholic theologians clarified and reaffirmed Catholic doctrines, but turned as well to another form of evangelization: the Arts. Convinced that to win over the unlettered, the best place to fight heresy was not in the streets but in stone and on canvas, they enlisted the century’s best artists to create a glorious wave of beautiful works of sacred art — Catholic works of sacred art — to draw people together instead of driving them apart. How Catholic Art Saved the Faith tells the story of the creation and successes of this vibrant, visual-arts SWAT team whose war cry could have been “art for Faith’s sake!” Over the years, it included Michelangelo, of course, and, among other great artists, the edgy Caravaggio, the graceful Guido Reni, the technically perfect Annibale Carracci, the colorful Barocci, the theatrical Bernini, and the passionate Artemisia Gentileschi. Each of these creative souls, despite their own interior struggles, was a key player in this magnificent, generations-long project: the affirmation through beauty of the teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. Here you will meet the fascinating artists who formed this cadre’s core. You will revel in scores of their full-color paintings. And you will profit from the lucid explanations of their lovely creations: works that over the centuries have touched the hearts and deepened the faith of millions of pilgrims who have made their way to the Eternal City to gaze upon them. Join those pilgrims now in an encounter with the magnificent artworks of the Catholic Restoration — artworks which from their conception were intended to delight, teach, and inspire. As they have done for the faith of so many, so will they do for you.
A vivid, dramatic, and authoritative account of perhaps the most influential family in Italian history: the Medici. A dazzling history of the modest family that rose to become one of the most powerful in Europe, The Medici is a remarkably modern story of power, money, and ambition. Against the background of an age that saw the rebirth of ancient and classical learning Paul Strathern explores the intensely dramatic rise and fall of the Medici family in Florence, as well as the Italian Renaissance which they did so much to sponsor and encourage. Strathern also follows the lives of many of the great Renaissance artists with whom the Medici had dealings, including Leonardo, Michelangelo and Donatello; as well as scientists like Galileo and Pico della Mirandola; and the fortunes of those members of the Medici family who achieved success away from Florence, including the two Medici popes and Catherine de' Médicis, who became Queen of France and played a major role in that country through three turbulent reigns.
In the vein of Sarah Dunant's New York Times bestseller, Blood and Beauty, Sarah Bower reveals the burning heart of the Borgia family. A Notorious Duke An Infamous Duchess An Innocent Girl Violante isn't supposed to be here, in one of the grandest courts of Renaissance Italy. She isn't supposed to be a lady-in-waiting to the beautiful Lucrezia Borgia. But the same secretive politics that pushed Lucrezia's father to the Vatican have landed Violante deep in a lavish landscape of passion and ambition. Violante discovers a Lucrezia unknown to those who see only a scheming harlot, and all the whispers about her brother, Cesare Borgia, never revealed the soul of the man who dances close with Violante. But those who enter the House of Borgia are never quite the same when they leave-if they leave at all. Violante's place in history will test her heart and leave her the guardian of dangerous secrets she must carry to the grave. What Readers Are Saying "Glittering, gorgeous, compelling, and stunning." "A richly satisfying historical novel. It deserves prizes."
Poisoner, despot, necromancer -- the dark legend of Catherine de Medici is centuries old. In this critically hailed biography, Leonie Frieda reclaims the story of this unjustly maligned queen to reveal a skilled ruler battling extraordinary political and personal odds -- from a troubled childhood in Florence to her marriage to Henry, son of King Francis I of France; from her transformation of French culture to her fight to protect her throne and her sons' birthright. Based on thousands of private letters, it is a remarkable account of one of the most influential women ever to wear a crown.