Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction

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Artists like Botticelli, Holbein, Leonardo, Durer, 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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User Review  - jrcovey - LibraryThing

This is the seventh Oxford Very Short Introduction that I've read, and the first to disappoint me. It's not that I disagree with much that Johnson has to say, it's that the now-orthodox challenges to ... Read full review

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User Review  - anthonywillard - LibraryThing

This is an essay in viewing Renaissance art in terms of how its original users would evaluate it. It is particularly good on how art was used in Renaissance society, when it was not lodged in museums ... Read full review


whose Renaissance? whose art?
2 The art of the altarpiece
3 Storytelling in Renaissance art
4 The challenge of nature and the antique
5 Portraiture and the rise of Renaissance man
6 Did women have a Renaissance?
7 Objects and images for the domestic sphere
art and urbanism in Florence
the birth of the artist and of art history
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About the author (2005)

Geraldine A. Johnson is University Lecturer in History of Art at the University of Oxford, and a fellow of Christ Church, Oxford. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Her publications range from studies of Italian Renaissance art to considerations of contemporary American sculpture, and from women patrons in Early Modern Europe to the history of photography. Her work has appeared in important journals such as The Burlington Magazine, The ArtBulletin, Art History, and Renaissance Quarterly. In 1997, Cambridge University Press published a prize-winning essay collection she co-edited titled Picturing Women in Renaissance and Baroque Italy. The same press also published another volume she edited in 1998 titled Sculpture and Photography: Envisioning theThird Dimension. At present, she is completing a book on the tactile and visual reception of sculpture in Early Modern Italy.