Synopses & Reviews
With detailed interpretations of works by pivotal figures in the Italian Renaissance, this enlightening volume offers a new interpretation of this period, during which some artists emerged as thoughtful intellectuals devoted to experimentation (the avant-garde) while others repeat older themes again and again (the conservatives). Guided by one of the world’s leading art history scholars, readers embark on a journey of discovery that will transform their understanding of this important period in the history of civilization. Eschewing jargon and lengthy footnotes, the author frames the aesthetics of the Renaissance as a struggle between irrational, intuitive perception and rational, proto-scientific tendencies, showing how these diverging imperatives form a leitmotif that profoundly deepens our understanding of the Renaissance and why Italy was preeminent in this period.
This richly illustrated work teaches its readers a visual method for ‘reading’ and making sense of works of art in order to understand their development and fully appreciate their visual significance. The events that occurred in the world of Italian art in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries reveal the breathtaking modernity of Renaissance art and debunk the old-fashioned idea that Renaissance art is ‘old fashioned’. It will even transform our understanding of today’s art world.
Richly illustrated, and featuring detailed descriptions of works by pivotal figures in the Italian Renaissance, this enlightening volume traces the development of art and architecture throughout the Italian peninsula in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
- A smart, elegant, and jargon-free analysis of the Italian Renaissance – what it was, what it means, and why we should study it
- Provides a sustained discussion of many great works of Renaissance art that will significantly enhance readers’ understanding of the period
- Focuses on Renaissance art and architecture as it developed throughout the Italian peninsula, from Venice to Sicily
- Situates the Italian Renaissance in the wider context of the history of art
- Includes detailed interpretation of works by a host of pivotal Renaissance artists, both well and lesser known
About the Author
Christiane L. Joost-Gaugier is a three-time graduate of Harvard University (AB, AM, PhD) and an internationally known art historian. She has taught and lectured in numerous American universities and chaired departments at the University of New Mexico and Wayne State University. Professor Joost-Gaugier has written extensively on Italian art and architecture and has authored more than 200 publications, including six books. Her work has been supported by numerous research grants and published in international journals, exhibition catalogues, and conference proceedings. In 2005 she was awarded an honorary Phi Beta Kappa for Lifetime Achievement by Harvard University.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations vi
Frontispiece: Map of places mentioned xiii
Introduction: The Italian Renaissance as an Idea Rather Than a Period 1
1 What a Difference a Hundred Years Makes 8
2 How It All Started: Florence and Umbria 31
3 What Happened Next in Florence 68
4 Searching for the Renaissance (1): Siena and Southward to Sicily 92
5 Searching for the Renaissance (2): From Northern Italy Back to Umbria 118
6 The Triumph of the Intellectual Avant-Garde: The High Renaissance 152
7 Some Other Artists of the High Renaissance 184
8 The Swan Song of Renaissance Art 200
9 The Break and the New Avant-Garde: Early Mannerism 209
10 What Was the Italian Renaissance? Conclusions in the Bigger Picture 246
Appendix A: Artists Mentioned 258
Appendix B: Some Suggested Readings 262