Loyd Grossman drops into Marylebone High street to tell us about his delightful new book An Elephant in Rome Just behind the Pantheon, outside the church of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, stands a beguiling and strangely beautiful monument: a seventeenth century statue of an elephant carrying an obelisk.
Broadcaster and art historian Loyd Grossman takes this enigmatic sculpture as his starting point for a delightful and gorgeously illustrated exploration of art, power and politics in Baroque Rome. At the heart of this book is a dramatic depiction of one of history’s great double acts – Pope Alexander VII, a man with a mania for building and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, possibly the most important artist of his generation. Together they created a new vision of Rome and along the way pioneered a new kind of artistic soft power as well as rebranding the city as the must-see tourist destination it remains to this day. Warm, learned and engaging, Grossman is the perfect guide to a fascinating moment in the history of the eternal city.