My art geek is showing again. I have so many novels and history tomes about me that I need to read in the evenings, but I keep gravitating towards these Delphi Complete Works ebooks. As much as I feel like Amazon is the devil at times, much as the Medici must have seemed to Renaissance Florence, I find that with offerings such as these that I still have great use for their services. If not for books such as this, I might never power up my tablet. (The app on my phone is just fine for other ebooks.)
As with the others I’ve read in this series (Leonardo and Michelangelo so far), this book is exactly what it claims to be: the complete works of the Renaissance master Raffaelo Sanzio, better known to us today as Raphael. The ebook offers the kind of luminescence that you can’t get from a paper reproduction… the kind of luminescence from which Raphael’s work seems to be created. The cover alone speaks volumes, with his porcelain Virgin practically glowing (Madonna of the Meadow, 1505-1506).
First there’s a highlights section, featuring select works for which he’s most known. It’s this section that offers the details and histories of the works. Then there’s the complete works, including a clickable list that takes you straight to the entries. Sadly, there is not a commentary on each of the works here (likely due to the sheer amount of work Raphael generated), but each work has the title, date, medium, size, and current location. This section is also broken into two categories: the paintings and the drawings. The drawings include several studies for what you see in the finished paintings. For an art geek like myself, that’s invaluable. After that, there are biographies (plural!) and more detailed discussion of some of the great works.
I rarely say ebooks are superior to paper, but this series seems to me to be the reason digital books exist. In addition to the inner lighting that brings these works to life, the reproduction quality and price tag are hard to beat as well. $2.99 vs. the $50-$200 you’d pay for a similar yet incomplete book on Raphael? Yes, please!
Highly recommended for art aficionados of every level, from the curious to the fully enlightened. I can’t praise this series enough.