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The Renaissance Portrait

From Donatello to Bellini

written by Keith Christiansen, Stefan Weppelmann

Yale University Press | ISBN 9780300175912

Hardback – 420 pages


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In the words of the historian Jacob Burkhardt, 15th-century Italy was 'the place where the notion of the individual was born'. In keeping with this notion, early Renaissance Italy also hosted the first great age of portraiture in Europe. Artists working in Florence, Venice, and the courts of Italy created magnificent portrayals of the people around them - heads of state and church, patrons, scholars, poets, artists - concentrating for the first time on producing recognizable likenesses and expressions of personality.

Written by a team of international scholars, The Renaissance Portrait provides new research and insight into the early history of portraiture. Unlike most surveys of Renaissance art, it introduces and studies in detail the three major Italian art centres of the 15th century, exploring how the rapid development of portraiture was closely linked to Renaissance society and politics, ideals of the individual, and concepts of beauty. Close to 190 works, in media ranging from painting and manuscript illumination to marble sculpture and bronze medals, created by artists that include Donatello, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Verrocchio, Ghirlandaio, Pisanello, Mantegna, Giovanni Bellini and Antonello da Messina, are illustrated and extensively discussed. Accompanying a major exhibition in Berlin and New York and featuring artworks from international museums and collectors, "The Portrait in Renaissance Italy" is a visual and literary delight to scholars and to any lover of Renaissance art.

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