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For courses in Renaissance Art. This text offers an incisive and original account of fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Florentine art in its social, cultural, political, geographic, economic and religious settings. Ranging in scope from monumental and public artworks to the intimacy of the domestic interior, it explores artistic patronage and the working conditions of artists in a way that is fully accessible to the inexperienced reader.
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Turner's (arts and humanities, New York Univ.) introduction to early Renaissance Florence neatly articulates the economic, political, and religious milieu of the city's artistic efflorescence. Within that context, he artfully limns an image of the expanding urban fabric of the 14th and 15th centuries. Besides evoking the problems of artistic function, patronage, and the training and professional life of the artist, the author articulates the intricate stylistic byways that mark the onset of the new Renaissance approach in sculpture, architecture, and painting, including a survey of the interior decoration of monasteries and homes and a contextual overview of some of the key monuments of the later 15th century. While unsurprising in its approach and conclusions, this carefully etched work is more than adequate as a primer to the study of the early Renaissance in Florence. Welch (Art and Authority in Renaissance Milan, Yale Univ., 1995) casts his investigative net over all Italy. Giving particular emphasis to the social ambiance in which art is produced and consumed, his discussion is marked by its scholarly breadth, clarity of argument, and willingness to include objects not within the canonic corpus. Readers should derive a deeper appreciation of the way contemporaries may have experienced works of art and the historical, religious, and intellectual environment from which they emerged. Along with keen analyses of the materials and the making of objects, workshop practices, and the relationship of artists and patrons, the context and function of sacred, public, and domestic works are vividly delineated here. While largely eschewing the formal analysis of traditional art history, Welch's deeply informed and wide-ranging synthesis is a significant and welcome addition to the literature.?Robert Cahn, Fashion Inst. of Technology, New York
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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