How to Read Italian Renaissance PaintingBook - 2010
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The Renaissance, or rebirth, of culture began in Florence in the 14th century and by the 17th century had spread to the rest of Europe. Great ruling families of Italy became patrons of artists and architects, encouraging people like Giotto, Brunelleschi, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli, and countless others to experiment with colour, perspective, form, and light, and in time these artists sought the divine in the human figure and later in human nature. In his book How to Read Italian Renaissance Painting, author and art historian Stefano Zuffi has collected over 75 artists, reprinting their works with the aim that each one can be taken as an example of a single significant concept in the world of Renaissance art. For instance, he uses Rosso Fiorentino’s The Deposition to illustrate the idea of drama in painting, and Dominico Ghirlandaio’s The Birth of the Virgin as an example of a painting with narrative. Each of the paintings (there are over 150 works represented) has at least two pages devoted to it, with a brief description of the concept, accompanied by enlargements of specific details with further explanations. There are brief biographies of each artist, plus the author includes the date of each painting and in which gallery in the world one can find the original. An index to the themes is located in the front of the book, and an index to the artists can be found near the back. Far from being a dry treatise on the miniscule details and history of each painting, this book is very browse-able and informative without being weighty. It is recommended for anyone who is an art gallery-junkie, for those who are curious about art, or for anyone who enjoyed books like The Da Vinci Code or Marina Fiorato’s The Botticelli Secret.
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