Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction

Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction

Language: English

Pages: 158

ISBN: 0192803549

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Artists like Botticelli, Holbein, Leonardo, Dürer, and Michelangelo and works such as the Last Supper fresco and the monumental marble statue of David, are familiar symbols of the Renaissance. But who were these artists, why did they produce such memorable images, and how would their original beholders have viewed these objects? Was the Renaissance only about great masters and masterpieces, or were women artists and patrons also involved? And what about the "minor" pieces that Renaissance men and women would have encountered in homes, churches and civic spaces? This Very Short Introduction answers such questions by considering both famous and lesser-known artists, patrons, and works of art within the cultural and historical context of Renaissance Europe. The volume provides a broad cultural and historical context for some of the Renaissance's most famous artists and works of art. It also explores forgotten aspects of Renaissance art, such as objects made for the home and women as artists and patrons. Considering Renaissance art produced in both Northern and Southern Europe, rather than focusing on just one region, the book introduces readers to a variety of approaches to the study of Renaissance art, from social history to formal analysis.

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meant to attest to his courage and determination, with his wrinkles simply confirming that he must be wise and experienced as well. Such attributes would, of course, have been exactly what a man who was a famous condottiere, or professional army general, as well as a titled noble, would have wanted to project when commissioning this portrait. In fact, the writer Pietro Aretino assumed that the portrait as a whole and the various objects depicted within it were a kind of visual summary of the

Duke’s entire career as seen, for instance, in the deluxe imported German suit of armour he wears and the feather-topped helmet displayed on the red velvet-covered shelf behind him, or in the various batons seen on this same ledge 64 Portraiture an d th e rise of ‘R enaissan ce man’ 18. Titian (Tiziano Vecellio), Francesco Maria della Rovere, Duke of Urbino, oil on canvas, c. 1536–8 and in his right hand, each representing one of the separate commands he had held with the armies of

he believed required only the ability to copy reality mechanically rather than demanding true artistic innovation or ingenuity. Indeed, Michelangelo famously told a contemporary who had complained of his sculpted effigy of a Medici duke looking nothing like the sitter that, in a 1,000 years, no one would know or care about the man’s appearance, whereas all would still marvel at the artist who had so skilfully carved his statue. 66 Portrait-painting in the North In Northern Europe, in contrast,

Golden Legend: for instance, see the translation by William Granger Ryan published by Princeton University Press in 1993. Michele da Carcano’s defence of religious images is quoted in Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth-Century Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style (Yale University Press, 1972), p. 41. On what makes a successful istoria, see Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting, trans. J. R. Spencer (Yale University Press, 1966), p. 75. Chapter 4 For

2002) t Geraldine A. Johnson, ‘The Lion on the Piazza: Patrician Politics ce Ar and Public Statuary in Central Florence’, in Secular Sculpture 1300–1550, ed. P. Lindley and T. Frangenberg (Shaun Tyas, 2000), naissaneR pp. 55–73 Adrian Randolph, Engaging Symbols: Gender, Politics, and Public Art in Fifteenth-Century Florence (Yale University Press, 2002) Marvin Trachtenberg, Dominion of the Eye: Urbanism, Art, and Power in Early Modern Florence (Cambridge University Press, 1997) Richard C.

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