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The Renaissance Portrait: From Donatello to Belliniby Keith (edt) Christiansen
Synopses & Reviews
In the words of cultural historian Jacob Burkhardt, fifteenth-century Italy was "the place where the notion of the individual was born." In keeping with that idea, early Renaissance Italy was a key participantand#160;in the first great age of portraiture in Europe. As groundbreaking artists strove to evoke the identity or personality of their sittersand#8212;from heads of state and church, military commanders, and wealthy patrons to scholars, poets, andand#160;artistsand#8212;they evolved daring new representational strategies that would profoundly influence the course of Westernand#160;art. More than a mere likeness, the fifteenth-century Italian portrait was an attempt to wrest from the unpredictability of life and the shadow of mortality and image that could be passed down to future generations.
Theand#160;Renaissance Portrait, which accompanies a landmark exhibition at the Bode-Museum, Berlin, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York,and#160;provides new research and insight into the early history of portraiture in Italy, examining in detail how its major art centersand#8212;Florence, the princely courts, and Veniceand#8212;saw the rapid development of portraiture as closely linked to Renaissance society and politics, ideas of the individual, and concepts of beauty. Essays by leading scholars provide a thorough introduction to Renaissance portraiture, while individual catalogue entries illustrate and extensively discuss more than 160 magnificent examples of painting, drawing, manuscript illumination, sculpture, and medallic portraiture by such artistsand#160;as Donatello, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Verrocchio, Ghirlandaio, Pisanello, Mantegna, Antonello da Messina, and Giovanni Bellini. With abundant style and visual ingenuity, these masters transformed the plain facts of observation into something beautiful to behold.
In this fascinating book, the Florentine-trained painter-architect Fra Carnevale—until now a mysterious, quasi-legendary figure—emerges as a well-defined and pivotal artist at the court of Urbino. With hundreds of exquisite illustrations, many of little-known works, the book transforms our knowledge of an important chapter in the history of Renaissance art.
Accompanying a major international exhibition, this catalogue features outstanding portraits in a variety of media, and provides a comprehensive study of Italy's great age of portraiture
In the words of the historian Jacob Burkhardt, 15th-century Italy was "the place where the notion of the individual was born." In keeping with this notion, early Renaissance Italy also hosted the first great age of portraiture in Europe. Artists working in Florence, Venice, and the courts of Italy created magnificent portrayals of the people around them—heads of state and church, patrons, scholars, poets, artists— concentrating for the first time on producing recognizable likenesses and expressions of personality.
Written by a team of international scholars, The Renaissance Portrait provides new research and insight into the early history of portraiture. Unlike most surveys of Renaissance art, it introduces and studies in detail the three major Italian art centers of the 15th century, exploring how the rapid development of portraiture was closely linked to Renaissance society and politics, ideals of the individual, and concepts of beauty. Close to 190 works, in media ranging from painting and manuscript illumination to marble sculpture and bronze medals, created by artists that include Donatello, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Verrocchio, Ghirlandaio, Pisanello, Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini, and Antonello da Messina, are illustrated and extensively discussed.
Few artists have managed to imprint their personality so indelibly on posterity as Andrea Mantegna (c. 14301506). Before he reached the age of twenty, Mantegna was already being praised for his alto ingegno (exalted genius), and he became the court artist for the Gonzaga family in Mantua before he was thirty. Yet, this book argues, Mantegna was not simply a great painter. Together with Donatello, he was the defining genius of the 15th century: the measure of what an artist could be. His highly original and deeply personal vision, the descriptive richness of his pictures, and his biting, hypercritical but always exalted mind gave Mantegnas art an extraordinary edge and earned him a preeminent place in the Renaissance.
About the Author
Keith Christiansen is Jayne Wrightsman Curator of European Paintings at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.
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