The Intellectual Life of the Early Renaissance Artist

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9780300083040: The Intellectual Life of the Early Renaissance Artist

At the beginning of the fifteenth century, painters and sculptors were seldom regarded as more than artisans and craftsmen, but within little more than a hundred years they had risen to the status of "artist". This book explores how early Renaissance artists gained recognition for the intellectual foundations of their activities and achieved artistic autonomy from enlightened patrons. A leading authority on Renaissance art, Francis Ames-Lewis traces the ways in which the social and intellectual concerns of painters and sculptors brought about the acceptance of their work as a liberal art, alongside other arts like poetry. He charts the development of the idea of the artist as a creative genius with a distinct identity and individuality. Ames-Lewis examines the various ways that Renaissance artists like Mantegna, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and D|rer, as well as many other less well-known painters and sculptors, pressed for intellectual independence. By writing treatises, biographies, poetry, and other literary works, by seeking contacts with humanists and literary men, and by investigating the arts of the classical past, Renaissance artists honed their social graces and broadened their intellectual horizons. They also experienced a growing creative confidence and self-awareness that was expressed in novel self-portraits, works created solely to demonstrate pictorial skills, and monuments to commemorate themselves after death. This book brings together a wide range of textual and visual evidence to illuminate the changing attitudes toward artists and their work, and it provides many stimulating insights into Renaissance culture and art history.

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From the Back Cover:

"Ames-Lewis provides an excellent guide to the ingenious and sometimes elaborate attempts by artists to raise their social profile, and so guarantee acceptance as courtiers and gentlefolk."— Joseph Rykwert, Times Literary Supplement "Opens our eyes, in an exciting and perceptive way, to many neglected aspects of the art of early Renaissance Europe and the lives of the men who made it."—Michael Hall, Country Life "A treasure trove of information."—Choice "Beautifully produced, in a blissfully manageable format . . . Professor Ames-Lewis has reopened an area that other scholars have shield away from for many years."—Evelyn Welch, Art Newspaper "[An] elegant book. . . . Ames-Lewis has written an excellent introduction to an important subject."— James Hall, Independent "The 150 illustrations deserve special praise for stinting on the familiar in favor of unusual and interesting works that make strong points about the social meaning of art."—Paul Raynes, Literary Review "The main merit of this book lies undoubtedly in its inclusiveness. This makes it a valuable resource for students who want to gain an oversight and who want to familiarize themselves with the debates on this topic. Ames-Lewis has here provided a compendium that will serve as a valuable starting point for further engagement."—Gabriele Neher, Art Book "Ames-Lewis provides an excellent guide to the ingenious and sometimes elaborate attempts by artists to raise their social profile, and so guarantee acceptance as courtiers and gentlefolk."—Joseph Rykwert, Times Literary Supplement "[A]n amazing compendium of information. . . What is impressive is the myriad aperçus Ames-Lewis has amassed." —Marilyn A. Lavin, CAA Reviews

About the Author:

Francis Ames-Lewis is Professor of History of Renaissance Art at Birkbeck College, University of London, and the author of Drawing in Early Renaissance Italy (ISBN 0 300 07981 8 pb., #17.95), also published by Yale University Press.

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Ames-Lewis, Francis
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