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Idols & Rivals



This volume probes the relationship between art and competition from antiquity to the early modern era. In Western antiquity, practices of imitation and competition were thought to enhance creativity; in the Renaissance, Leonardo believed that “good envy” spurred excellence. Some of the most famous works of antiquity and the later Renaissance and Baroque periods were born of fierce competition.

Through a series of illustrated accounts, this volume reveals the mutual inspiration and cooperation among artists of the past, as well as the envy, intrigue and slander incurred through competition for prestigious commissions. Some of the famous rivalries include Euthymides and Euphronios; Brunelleschi and Ghiberti; and Leonardo and Michelangelo. Conversely, a few relationships forged by mutual esteem include Sofonisba Anguissola and Lavinia Fontana as well as Jan Vermeyen and the gemstone-cutter Ottavio Miseroni.

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