Gasparo Contarini (1483-1542) was a major protagonist in the Counter-Reformation of the sixteenth century. A worldly Venetian patrician, he later became an ascetic advocate of Church reform and, as a Catholic cardinal, was sent to the important Colloquy of Regensburg. He failed in his mission to bring about an agreement between Lutherans and Catholics; nevertheless, his life and thought, as well as his friendships with the most vocal proponents of concord, peace, and toleration, make him an impressive and significant historical figure.
In the first biography of Contarini since 1885, Elisabeth Gleason greatly broadens our understanding of the man and his times. As a result, scholars and students will come to see Cardinal Gasparo Contarini as a reminder of alternative concepts of authority and liberty in both church and state.