How to Read Italian Renaissance Painting

How to Read Italian Renaissance Painting

Book - 2010
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Filled with great masterpieces by such artists as Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, Masaccio, Piero della Francesca, Mantegna, and Titian, How to Read Italian Renaissance Painting takes the reader into their world. As in the internationally successful and innovative How to Read a Painting, each spread uses an important painting as a way to explain a key concept, with numerous large details. Here, 180 works illuminate key ideas in Renaissance painting, from "perpective" and "the golden section" to "grace" and "symbolism." In addition, there are brief biographies of the major artists. The result is an original, accessible, and affordable volume that offers an introduction into the art and culture of the Italian Renaissance.
Publisher: New York : Abrams, c2010
ISBN: 9780810989405
Branch Call Number: 759.5 Zuf 3558ad 1
Characteristics: 399 p. :,col. ill. --


From Library Staff

DanniOcean Aug 17, 2010

reviewed in Stratford Gazette's Shelf Life column August, 2010

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Feb 07, 2011

Will be interesting to see if this changes the art gallery experience for someone who would normally pay very cursory attention to Renaissance paintings.

DanniOcean Aug 17, 2010

reviewed in Stratford Gazette's Shelf Life column August, 2010


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DanniOcean Aug 17, 2010

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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