The Renaissance was one of the great periods of creative and intellectual achievement. This "age of genius," from its origins in the thirteenth century to its zenith in sixteenth-century Rome, produced some of the most fascinating and dynamic artists of all time--Donatello, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, and Leonardo da Vinci. In his adventurous new book, lavishly illustrated with 125 color illustrations, acclaimed art critic Andrew Graham-Dixon takes a fresh look at this most exciting period in art history, challenging many of the myths and misconceptions surrounding the Renaissance. [via]
The Italian scholars who first dreamed of a Renaissance wished to revive the spirit of classical antiquity after the darkness--as they saw it--of the medieval and Byzantine periods. Graham-Dixon argues, however, that the Renaissance represented a culmination rather than a complete rejection of those earlier influences. Starting in the Middle Ages with the impact of the Franciscan movement on painting in Italy, Graham-Dixon's reappraisal of the Renaissance takes us through the key moments of its development, focusing on the major artists and architects of the time: the Early Renaissance in Florence--Giotto, Masaccio, Donatello, and Brunelleschi; the Northern Renaissance--Dürer, Cranach, and Brueghel; Venice--Titian, Palladio, and Tintoretto; and the High Renaissance in Rome--Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael.
Renaissance also outlines the historical context of this time of great social as well as artistic change. It reveals the social climate in which these artists worked: the power struggles between the Renaissance rulers of the Italian city-states, the French invasions of Italy, the invention of printing, and the Protestant Reformation. Along with his vivid, highly original, and often extremely entertaining descriptions of the works themselves, Graham-Dixon not only reassesses but also brings to life one of the most glorious periods in history.