The Tigress of Forlì
Renaissance Italy's Most Courageous and Notorious Countess,
Caterina Riario Sforza de' Medici
The astonishing life of Caterina Sforza, one of the most prominent women of Renaissance Italy, who was a wife, mother, leader, and warrior with enough fierceness to make Machiavelli himself wince.
In this glittering biography, Elizabeth Lev reexamines Caterina's extraordinary life and accomplishments.
Raised in the court of Milan and wed at age ten to the pope’s corrupt nephew, Caterina was ensnared in Italy’s political intrigues early in life. After turbulent years in Rome’s papal court, she moved to the Romagnol province of Forlì. Following her husband’s assassination, she ruled Italy’s crossroads with an iron will, martial strength, political savvy — and an icon’s fashion sense. In finally losing her lands to the Borgia family, she put up a resistance that inspired all of Europe and set the stage for her progeny — including Cosimo de Medici — to follow her example to greatness.
A rich evocation of the Renaissance, The Tigress of Forlì reveals Caterina Riario Sforza as a brilliant and fearless ruler and a tragic but unbowed figure.
Giulia is the glue of this whole operation! She manages bookings, logistics, and everything in between. Having lived in Rome for her whole life, minus during university, she has a depth of knowledge that is unmatched. Giulia's goal is to ensure that each and every client has the best experience possible while in Rome. By booking with Dr. Lev, you will have access to Giulia's ideas of things to do, places to eat, and where to stay in Rome! Book a tour and have Giulia plan the rest of your trip in Rome and beyond!
How Catholic Art Saved the Faith
The Triumph of Beauty and Truth in Counter-Reformation Art
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 on stone and canvas, they enlisted the century's best artists to create a glorious wave of beautiful works of sacred Catholic 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 the masterful Michelangelo, 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.
The Silent Knight
A History of St. Joseph as Depicted in Art
Images of St Joseph are ubiquitous in the modern Catholic devotional landscape with his statues and figurines standing sentinel in every church and creche, but this was not always the case. The husband of Mary and foster father of Jesus spent the first centuries of Christian art as a great absentee, unaccounted for in visual representations of Christ’s birth and infancy.
The Silent Knight explores and chronicles the remarkable rise of Joseph’s iconography through masterpieces by some of history’s greatest artists. The first depictions of Joseph appeared in the fifth century, gradually evolving as the Church grew, accompanying the faithful through the vicissitudes of ecclesiastical history. Josephine imagery adapted at various times to provide inspirational role models for fathers, husbands, workers, the moribund, and even the pope, depending on the circumstances, leading to a striking variety of depictions in the history of art.
Each chapter of this book reveals a different facet of Joseph, contextualized in the history, spirituality, or controversy of the age, and demonstrates how artists applied their creative talents to communicate Joseph’s intercessory power to their audiences. Through the words and prayers of Saints Bernard of Clairvaux, Francis of Assisi, Bridget of Sweden, Francis de Sales, Teresa of Avila, Pius IX, and John Paul II, readers will learn how devotion to Joseph expanded in both the breadth of his intercessory powers and his geographical area of influence, galvanizing painters and sculptors to produce fascinating innovations in his iconography.
This richly illustrated book guides readers through a spectacular gallery of images by Raphael, Michelangelo, Murillo, Giotto, Caravaggio, El Greco, and more, illustrating how each one of these creative geniuses chose to highlight the increasing number of attributes ascribed to this silent saint. Written to celebrate the Year of St Joseph declared by Pope Francis, Saint Joseph in Art aims to deepen the faithful’s knowledge, appreciation, and devotion to this eminent Patron of the Universal Church through the extraordinary beauty that he has inspired.
A Body for Glory
Theology of the Body in the Papal Collections:
The Ancients, Michelangelo and John Paul II
The enigma of the body is the theme of this concise and beautiful volume, which explores Christian anthropology from the perspectives of art and theology.
The text retraces and narrates the habits and customs of ancient peoples, religious cults, and artistic ideals: the Egyptians, ancient Greece, the Romans, Christianity, and Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel.
The dynamic connection between art and theology, assisted by the teachings of John Paul II in his Theology of the Body, unlocks the mystery of the body, arriving at an understanding of what the true glory of the body is.
The volume is enriched with color images, providing valuable details comparing the many works cited in the text.
From the New York Times review of books!
The Station Churches (with George Weigel)
The annual Lenten pilgrimage to dozens of Rome's most striking churches is a sacred tradition dating back almost two millennia, to the earliest days of Christianity. Along this historic spiritual pathway, today's pilgrims confront the mysteries of the Christian faith through a program of biblical and early Christian readings amplified by some of the greatest art and architecture of western civilization.
In Roman Pilgrimage, papal biographer George Weigel, bestselling art historian Elizabeth Lev, and photographer Stephen Weigel lead readers through this unique religious and aesthetic journey with magnificent photographs and revealing commentaries on the pilgrimage's liturgies, art, and architecture. Through reflections on each day's readings about faith and doubt, heroism and weakness, self-examination and conversion, sin and grace, Rome's familiar sites take on a new resonance. And along that same historical path, typically unexplored treasures-artifacts of ancient history and hidden artistic wonders-appear in their original luster, revealing new dimensions of one of the world's most intriguing and multi-layered cities.
A compelling guide to the Eternal City, the Lenten Season, and the itinerary of conversion that is Christian life throughout the year, Roman Pilgrimage reminds readers that the imitation of Christ through faith, hope, and love is the template of all true discipleship, as the exquisite beauty of the Roman station churches invites reflection on the deepest truths of Christianity.