Yale University Press, 2007. SC. Item #45827
It might come as a surprise to discover that a Renaissance-era art collector can get a Botticelli for much less than the wallpaper surrounding it; that's just one of the surprising details revealed in this collaborative effort, an unabashedly revisionist history which expands on the social, political, religious and economic context of Renaissance art. Just about every chapter refers to and gently rebukes influential 16th century art expert Vasari, who privileged painting, sculpture and architecture in the canon; urging readers to move beyond the era's well-known painters, sculptors and masterpieces, Woods and company consider the full range and variety of pieces marketed as "art" during the Renaissance; entire chapters are devoted to illuminated manuscripts and Cretan icons. Also challenged is the notion that Italy was the Renaissance's epicenter, with discussions of the lively arts scene in France, England and Switzerland. The closest the work comes to classic, artist-as-hero writing is the profile of Holbein the Younger, though it largely concerns the artist's challenges in the wake of the Reformation rather than the man himself. The third in a three-part series from Open University, the essays in this book are written by academics with few nods to a popular audience, though jargon is kept to a happy minimum. 200 color illustrations.
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