Rome: A Cultural History
For almost a thousand years, Rome held sway as the spiritual and artistic centre of the world. Hughes vividly recreates the ancient Rome of Julius Caesar, Marcus Aurelius, Nero, Caligula, Cicero, Martial and Virgil. With the artistic blossoming of the Renaissance, he casts his unwavering critical eye over the great works of Raphael, Michelangelo and Brunelleschi, shedding new light on the Old Masters. In the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when Rome's cultural predominance was assured, artists and tourists from all over Europe converged on the city. Hughes brilliantly analyses the defining works of Caravaggio, Velasquez, Rubens and Bernini. Hughes' Rome is a vibrant, contradictory, spectacular and secretive place; a monument both to human glory and human error. In equal parts loving, iconoclastic, enraged and wise, peopled with colourful figures and rich in unexpected details, ROME is an exhilarating journey through the story of one of the world's most glorious cities.
Revised for the paperback edition - a dazzling biography of the Eternal City - 'A tour of the great city with a great guide: who could do this better?' EVENING STANDARD.
Essential baggage for a Roman holiday. -- John Harding Daily Mail 20120427 in this Herculean undertaking, Hughes has captured much of the true spirit of Rome: the aspiration to great achievement despite obstacles, setbacks or failures PROSPECT Hughes proves an entertaining and erudite guide. He is an impeccable raconteur, commanding, self-confident, witty -- Alastair Sooke DAILY TELEGRAPH the book's muscle and sinew lie in Hughes's supremely eloquent vingnettes of churches and palaces, statues and paintings - evocations of art and place crafted with all the swagger and savour of a critic who can make his readers see, and feel, afresh...He never disappoints -- Boyd Tonkin THE INDEPENDENT No one can nail a painting like Hughes -- Rachel Spence FINANCIAL TIMES this is the work of un maestro -- Christopher Bray WORD I would read Mr Hughes's book if I were going to Rome. I'd read it if I weren't going to Rome. You could read it instead of going to Rome, though given the choice, I'd choose Rome. Reading the book is like being taken around the Eternal City on a long brisk march by an entertaining, erudite acquaintance with a gift for storytelling and the oddly rare ability to describe what something actually looks like. -- Francine Prose INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNE This isn't an upmarket Rough Guide for American tourists, it's an award-winning broadcaster on top form. -- Sue Arnold THE GUARDIAN 20120623