The History Book Club discussion


Comments Showing 1-50 of 84 (84 new)    post a comment »
« previous 1

message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Oct 01, 2010 11:44PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This thread is dedicated to the Renaissance and the discussion of art and architecture belonging to this period.

The Renaissance (French for "rebirth"; Italian: Rinascimento, from ri- "again" and nascere "be born") was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Florence in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe.

The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historic era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not uniform across Europe, this is a general use of the term.

As a cultural movement, it encompassed a resurgence of learning based on classical sources, the development of linear perspective in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform.

Traditionally, this intellectual transformation has resulted in the Renaissance being viewed as a bridge between the Middle Ages and the Modern era. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term "Renaissance man".

There is a general, but not unchallenged, consensus that the Renaissance began in Florence, Tuscany in the 14th century.

Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time; its political structure; the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici; and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

The Renaissance has a long and complex historiography, and there has been much debate among historians as to the usefulness of Renaissance as a term and as a historical delineation.[9] Some have called into question whether the Renaissance was a cultural "advance" from the Middle Ages, instead seeing it as a period of pessimism and nostalgia for the classical age,while others have instead focused on the continuity between the two eras.

Indeed, some have called for an end to the use of the term, which they see as a product of presentism – the use of history to validate and glorify modern ideals.

The word Renaissance has also been used to describe other historical and cultural movements, such as the Carolingian Renaissance and the Renaissance of the 12th century.

Source: Wikipedia

message 2: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) I am a Structural drafter by trade, and I recently read:

Brunelleschi's Dome How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King by Ross King Ross King

Synopsis from Goodreads:

Even in an age of skyscrapers and sports stadiums, the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, with its immense dome, retains a rare power to astonish. Yet, for more than a century after work began on the cathedral in 1296, the proposed dome was regarded as impossible to build. It became the greatest architectural puzzle of the age, and when finally complete in 1436, was hailed as one of the wonders of the world. Ross King tells the full story of how the cupola was raised, from conception to consecration. He also tells the story of the dome's architect, the brilliant and volatile Filippo Brunelleschi. His ambition, ingenuity and rivalries are set in the context of the plagues, wars and political feuds of Renaissance Florence. It is a fascinating story.

I loved this book because not only is it about Cathedral Architecture (the reason I got into my chosen career) but it taught me so much about the origins of what Engineers do, and the reasons they do them...Great book if you are interested in innovative thinking, engineering, or just architecture in general.

message 3: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Oct 07, 2010 09:07PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Kristi, I'd have to second your recommendation, it was a very interesting book, great post!

Have you read; "Basilica: The Splendor and the Scandal: Building St. Peter's" by R.A. Scotti at all?

Basilica The Splendor and the Scandal Building St. Peter's by R.A. Scotti by R.A. Scotti

message 4: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
What a great post Kristi...I wish that everyone would take the time to set things up and describe what they have read like you have done. Not only did you cite the book and author perfectly; you provided a wonderful personal anecdote about the book and what it meant and did for you personally. Well done. The book sounds like one where the author had a plan and executed that plan perfectly and was able to tell a story not only of Brunelleschi but everything that the architect's work touches. The architect is the visionary; but the engineers have to make that building stand. I always say when looking at the Leaning Tower of Pisa - good architecture - lousy engineering.

message 5: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) Bently, the amazing thing about architecture from this time period, is that the Architects learned while doing. The thing you see that are "architectural features" now days were actually "fixes" for problems that the Architects came up against. Take Flying Buttresses for example, Architects came upon the problem that once the Cathedral walls got too high the walls would start bowing out, the fix for that was to have a Flying Buttress that would add reinforcement to the wall and support it from the outside! I love those stories! And you can see how they would work for the picture!

Rick, I haven't read it yet...but you know I will now! Thanks for the recommendation! I have been a Cathedral lover since I was in 8th grade when I wrote a 13 page paper for english class on the architecture used in of my best memories was going to europe and seeing Notre Dame...Beautiful!

message 6: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Kristi wrote: "I am a Structural drafter by trade, and I recently read:

Brunelleschi's Dome How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King by Ross King[author:Ross King|..."

I loved this book! I also enjoyed the discussion of the politics of the time and the whole art v. engineering debate. Great recommendation.

message 7: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Kristi, I love Notre Dame and I'd love to visit as many of the medieval Cathedral's I could find in Europe. I love the picture you used to show the Flying Buttresses, aren't they just beautiful!

message 8: by Vicki, Assisting Moderator - Ancient Roman History (new)

Vicki Cline | 3835 comments Mod
Seeing the picture of the flying buttresses reminded me of this fiction book The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett by Ken Follett Ken Follett. There's a lot in it about the planning and building of cathedrals.

message 9: by Kristi (new)

Kristi (kristicoleman) I have tried to read The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett by Ken Follett Ken Follett as a Written book, and as n Audiobook...I just can't seem to get through it. I like the parts about the Cathedrals, but the characters just put me off for some reason. Not sure, maybe it just wasn't the right time to read it.

Rick, I ordered Basilica The Splendor and the Scandal Building St. Peter's by R.A. Scotti by R.A. Scotti last night! Can't wait to read it. Thanks again for the recommendation

message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
There have been a few folks who have had problems getting through the Follett book....not sure why.

Ken Follett Ken Follett

message 11: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) Hi Kristi, I hope you enjoy it as much as I did :)

message 12: by Faith (new)

Faith Justice I read The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) by Ken Follett a couple of years ago and enjoyed it. If I remember right Sarum The Novel of England by Edward Rutherfurd by Edward Rutherfurd also had substantial pieces on the building of Salisbury Cathedral in its sweeping scope.

As to the Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, my husband and I visited a year ago and it is a marvel. Hubby is a structural hobbiest. I'll have to pick up Brunelleschi's Dome How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King for him!

Just picked up Catherine de Medici Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda by Leonie Frieda for a group read. Will let you know how it works out.

message 13: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Faith, thanks for those contributions. Remember each posting must contain the book cover, author photo (when available) and author link for each book cited. You got the last one right, I have cited them all below. Unless the posting is complete the goodreads software will not populate properly, which is why we require our members do it this way. Thanks!

The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) by Ken Follett Ken Follett Ken Follett
Sarum The Novel of England by Edward Rutherfurd Edward Rutherfurd Edward Rutherfurd
Brunelleschi's Dome How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King Ross King Ross King
Catherine de Medici Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda Leonie Frieda

message 14: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Faith, remember for all citations, you must add three things when available: the book cover which you have done successfully, the author's photo when available (you got one in successfully) and always the author's link (which is the author's name in linkable text).

So here is how your citations should be in order to take advantage of the goodreads software which will then cross populate our site.

The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) by Ken Follett Ken Follett by Ken Follett

Sarum The Novel of England by Edward Rutherfurd by Edward Rutherfurd Edward Rutherfurd

Brunelleschi's Dome How a Renaissance Genius Reinvented Architecture by Ross King by Ross King Ross King

Catherine de Medici Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda by Leonie Frieda

It may seem cumbersome at first but it gets real easy and fast with practice and this is part of our guidelines.

message 15: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Jan 17, 2011 06:38PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) My wife said she had the same problem in reading Ken Follet's book "The Pillars of the Earth". For Christmas I gave her a copy of the DVD eight-part miniseries and she loved it, couldn't wait to get to the next disc and I enjoyed it as well having never read the book but it's a great story of building a wonderful cathedral bathed in light.

Ken Follett’s best-selling novel is brought to life in a star-studded and critically-acclaimed eight-part miniseries. Emerging from the war-torn shadows of England’s Dark Ages, an idealistic mason, Tom Builder (Rufus Sewell, The Holiday) sets out on a quest of erecting a glorious Cathedral bathed in light. But when that light threatens to illuminate the dark secrets of ambitious Bishop Waleran Bigod (Ian McShane, 2005 Golden Globe Best Actor, TV's Deadwood) and the battling progeny of King Henry, Queen Maud (Alison Pill, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World) and King Stephen (Tony Curran, Ondine), they’ll stop at nothing to keep those secrets safe. The epic miniseries event also stars Matthew MacFadyen (Frost/Nixon) as Prior Philip, Hayley Atwell (Love Hate) as the beautiful noblewoman Aliena and Donald Sutherland (TV's Dirty Sexy Money) as Bartholomew.

The Pillars of the Earth Episode Summaries:
Episode 1: “Anarchy”

The death of King Henry’s heir ignites a battle between Queen Maud and King Stephen to become the successor to the throne. Monk Philip is enticed by an offer from Father Waleran Bigod; in return for his endorsement of Bigod to the appointment of Bishop, Philip will be elected Prior. Tom Builder travels the countryside in search of work.

Episode 2: “Master Builder”

When a fire destroys Kingsbridge Church, Tom presents a plan to Prior Philip to construct a glorious new cathedral filled with light. As Philip politics for funds to aid in the church’s construction, he finds himself caught between Bishop Bigod and King Stephen’s supporter, Earl Percy Hamleigh.

Episode 3: “Redemption”

Prior Philip and Percy’s son William find themselves in a political stalemate as they compete for access to valuable stone. Jack demonstrates amazing artistic prowess as he begins to carve a monument to St. Adolphus and the destroyed Kingsbridge Cathedral. ”

Episode 4: “Battlefield”

William plans his way towards Earldom and soon discovers he is not alone in his ambition; a mysterious knight seeks the same appointment. The battle between Maud and Stephen rages, culminating in hostages from each side being seized. Philip is tortured into confessing to the betrayal of Earl Bartholomew.

Episode 5: “Legacy”

Tom attempts to mediate a camaraderie between Jack and his son, Alfred. However, their intense rivalry for the affection of Bartholomew’s daughter, Aliena, proves too much of an obstacle. Waleran and Regan Hamleigh negotiate a hostage exchange while William mounts an attack on Kingsbridge in an effort to halt Aliena’s pending success.

Episode 6: “Witchcraft”

Aliena’s brother, Richard, is shocked as he emerges from the battlefield only to find his sister destitute and incapable of supporting his knighthood. Aliena is torn between honoring a promise made to her father, Bartholomew, and her love for Jack. A catastrophe in Kingsbridge paves the way for Waleran to orchestrate Philip’s impeachment.

Episode 7: “New Beginnings”

Jack’s travels provide him with valuable information which will aid him in constructing his stepfather’s majestic dream cathedral. Aliena tracks Jack down using only her intuition and the warm trail left by his distinctive carvings. Bigod makes Philip an attractive offer, but it’s one which carries an unattractive price.

Episode 8: “The Work of Angels”

Eight years have passed. Now completely obsessed with the notion of erecting Tom’s cathedral, Jack is unable to focus on anything outside of his divine calling. Aliena remains fixated on securing her family’s right to the Earldom of Shiring and thus, fulfilling the promise she made to her father.

The Pillars of the Earth (The Pillars of the Earth, #1) by Ken Follett byKen Follett

message 16: by Faith (new)

Faith Justice Finished and reviewed Catherine de Medici: Renaissance Queen of France Catherine de Medici Renaissance Queen of France by Leonie Frieda by Leonie Frieda (no photo available). A well-researched book about a fascinating woman. Catherine de Medici deserves to be as well known as her contemporaries Elizabeth I of England and Phillip II of Spain.

message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Here is an interesting book:

The House of Wisdom How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization by Jonathan Lyons Jonathan Lyons

Goodreads Write-up:

For centuries following the fall of Rome, medieval Europe was a benighted backwater, a world of subsistence farming, minimal literacy, and violent conflict. Meanwhile, from Persia to Spain, Islamic culture was thriving, dazzling those Europeans fortunate enough to be aware of it. Muslim philosophers, mathematicians, and astronomers were steadily advancing the frontiers of knowledge, as well as exploring ancient Greek works lost or forgotten in the West.

Even while their peers waged bloody Crusades against Islam, a handful of restless Christian scholars traveled to the East to seek its wisdom. In 1109, Adelard of Bath journeyed from England to Asia Minor and returned with priceless knowledge that transformed European science. He was followed by others, such as Michael Scot, who learned Arabic in Toledo, and, it was said, became the model for Shakespeare's Prospero. The House of Wisdom tells the tale of these pilgrims, and of the knowledge they brought from Arabia to Europe—knowledge that laid the foundations for the Renaissance.

message 18: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Another book on the Sistine Chapel and it's infamous artisan.
Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling by Ross King by Ross King Ross King
"In 1508, despite strong advice to the contrary, the powerful Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo Buonarroti to paint the ceiling of the newly restored Sistine Chapel in Rome. Four years earlier, at the age of twenty-nine, Michelangelo had unveiled his masterful statue of David in Florence; however, he had little experience as a painter, even less working in the delicate medium of fresco, and none with the challenging curved surfaces of vaults. The temperamental Michelangelo was himself reluctant: He stormed away from Rome, incurring Julius's wrath, before he was eventually persuaded to begin." Michelangelo & the Pope's Ceiling recounts the fascinating story of the four extraordinary years he spent laboring over the twelve thousand square feet of the vast ceiling while the power politics and personal rivalries that abounded in Rome swirled around him. Contrary to legend, he neither worked alone nor on his back. He and his hand-picked assistants stood bending backward on a special scaffold he designed for the purpose. Battling against ill health, financial difficulties, domestic and family problems, and the pope's impatience, Michelangelo created scenes - including The Creation, The Temptation, and The Flood - so beautiful that, when they were unveiled in 1512, they stunned onlookers. In the end, he produced one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, about which Giorgio Vasari, in his Lives of the Artists, wrote, "There is no other work to compare with this for excellence, nor could there be."

message 19: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thank you for the add Alisa.

message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
This author focuses on the Renaissance:

Ingenious Pursuits: Building the Scientific Revolution

Ingenious Pursuits Building the Scientific Revolution by Lisa Jardine Lisa Jardine

Publisher's Synopsis:

Even Einstein had to eat. We seem to forget that scientists live in the same world as the rest of us, and that their work is informed by everything they encounter day to day. Lisa Jardine explores this interconnectedness in the context of the late 17th-century scientific revolution in Ingenious Pursuits, a well-planned journey back in time that delivers precious insight into the lives of those who laid the groundwork for cloning, nuclear weapons, and Internet commerce. Robert Hooke, Christopher Wren, and Gian Domenico Cassini are just a few of the multitalented explorers that Jardine profiles through diaries, letters, and scientific records. Taking the time to fully flesh out the lives of these adventurous spirits, she shows the reader that science began as a natural curiosity about the material world, inspired by diverse interests: art, religion, medicine, engineering, and more.
Political meddling in science is nothing new; even 300 years ago rulers competed for knowledge and the status that came from scientific achievement. Jardine expands on this premise to see the colonial expansion of the time as a driving force behind research, responsible for the contemporary explosions in cartography, botany, and optics. While Ingenious Pursuits stays for the most part in the 17th century, it does remind us of our own interwoven scientific and social threads, and that perhaps the next revolutionary breakthrough will come about as much because of telemarketers as National Science Foundation grants. --Rob Lightner

message 21: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (aussierick) My two favourite books on the Renaissance have been; "Renaissance" by George Holmes and "The Panorama of the Renaissance" by Margaret Aston.

Renaissance by George Holmes by George Holmes
In this history of the renaissance George Holmes surveys the extroadinary impact of the astonishingly rich culture which dramatically affected Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. He examines the social, commercial and political background which enabled the extroadinary flourishing in the arts that took place during this period, stressing the importance of the Great commercial cities, Florence, Bruges, and Venice. Beginning with the Florentine renaissance, he traces the development of humanism in art, politics, science and philosophy and discusses the impact of the High renaissance in Italy on the rest of Europe. Lavishly illustrated and highly readable, this book is the definitive work on the renaissance.

Panorama of the Renaissance, the (Spanish Edition) by Margarete Aston by Margarete Aston
An account of the reawakening of western civilization throughout Europe, this guide re-creates the Renaissance in a series of 1000 cross-referenced images depicting all aspects of history, culture, art, science, personalities and daily life accompanied by commentary. It is organized by topics, colour-coded and cross-referenced to encourage a broad approach. Opening with an introductory survey of the defining features of this subject, the book is completed by a reference section with biographies and genealogical tables, timelines and sources of further information. It presents the Renaissance as a multi-faceted event, spanning from Italy to the rest of the Europe, and from the world of patrons and painters, courts and councils to everyday lives, at a time when people learned how to measure time, to print books and to devise machines. The illustrations are grouped into 100 topics which are allocated to eight major themes covering every aspect of intellectual, political, religious, economic, social, technological, artistic and architectural life in the Renaissance.

message 22: by Bea (last edited Mar 22, 2012 01:07PM) (new)

Bea | 1830 comments I can highly recommend this as a comprehensive survey of Italian Renaissance Art. It is primarily used as a textbook but is an enjoyable read, despite the amount of information packed in the book. The plates are gorgeous and more than half are in color. The book has gone through multiple editions.

History of Italian Renaissance Art by Frederick Hartt by Frederick Hartt(no photo)

message 23: by Bea (last edited Apr 09, 2012 02:57PM) (new)

Bea | 1830 comments

The Resurrection of Christ, Piero della Francesca, 1463, mural in fresco and tempura, Museo Civico, Sansepolcro, Italy, 88.6 x 78.7 inches

To fully appreciate the use of perspective in this fresco, imagine you are entering a communal meeting hall and looking up at the large image high on the opposing wall. Note the powerful triangular composition.

Piero della Francesca (c. 1415 – October 12, 1492) was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Today Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its serene humanism, its use of geometric forms and perspective.

Sansepolcro was the painter's home town. According to tradition, the sleeping soldier in brown armor on Christ's right is a self-portrait of Piero.

Sansepolcro was spared much damage during World War 2 when British artillery officer Tony Clarke defied orders and held back from using his troop's guns to shell the town. Although Clarke had never seen the fresco, he had read Huxley's essay on 'The Resurrection' where it was described as the world's "best picture".

It was later ascertained that the Germans had already retreated from the area — the bombardment hadn't been necessary. The town, along with its famous painting, survived. When the events of the episode eventually became clear, Clarke was lauded as a local hero and to this day a street in Sansepolcro bears his name.

Do you agree with Huxley? Do you think this work could fairly be described by a reasonable person as "the world's best picture"?

Wikipedia articles

Piero della Francesca -

The Lives of the Artists by Giorgio Vasari by Giorgio Vasari Giorgio Vasari

Piero Della Francesca by Ronald Lightbown by Ronald Lightbown (no photo)

Along The Road; Notes And Essays Of A Tourist (no cover photo) by Aldous Huxley Aldous Huxley (contains essay on "The World's Best Picture)

The Piero della Francesca Trail by John Pope-Hennessy John Pope-Hennessy (no photo)

message 24: by Bea (new)

Bea | 1830 comments In the Piero della Francesca fresco above, note that the soldier to the left of Christ holding the spear has no legs!

Did this strike you before you were told? Piero sacrificed realism for composition. Does this detract in any way from the picture?

message 25: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
To tell you the truth, I never noticed it until you pointed it out Bea. I think all eyes are on the Christ figure.

message 26: by Bea (new)

Bea | 1830 comments I agree with you, Bentley, and I think that the focus might have been lost if there had been some confusing tangle of limbs at the bottom.

message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I am not sure that I agree that this is the world's best picture though...I can think of so many others that I like or love better.

message 28: by Bea (new)

Bea | 1830 comments Me either. It might not even be my favorite painting by Piero. But if Huxley saved Sansepulcro from from bombardment, more power to him.

This one has a lot more going on. It was painted as a panel for the altarpiece in Sansepolcro but now resides at the National Gallery in London.

These quotes from Wikipedia shows how strongly geometric Piero's work was:

"Christ, John's hand, the bird and the bowl form an axis which divides the painting in two symmetrical parts. A second division is created by the tree on the left, which instead divides it according to the golden ratio.

Piero della Francesca was renowned in his times as an authority on perspective and geometry: his attention to the theme is shown by John's arm and leg, which form two angles of the same size."

Wikipedia article:

The Baptism of Christ, Piero della Francesco, Tempura on panel, 66 in by 46 in (168cm x 114cm), National Gallery, London

message 29: by Alisa (last edited Jan 04, 2013 05:05PM) (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Another perspective on this period in history:

Furies: War in Europe 1450-1700
Furies War in Europe 1450-1700 by Lauro Martines by Lauro Martines
We think of the Renaissance as a shining era of human achievement: a pinnacle of artistic genius and humanist brilliance, the time of Shakespeare, Michelangelo, and Montaigne. Yet it was also an age of constant, harrowing warfare. Armies, not philosophers, shaped the face of Europe as modern nation-states emerged from feudal society. In Furies, one of the leading scholars of Renaissance history captures the dark reality of the period in a gripping narrative mosaic.

As Lauro Martines shows us, total war was no twentieth-century innovation. These conflicts spared no civilians in their path. A Renaissance army was a mobile city-indeed, a force of 20,000 or 40,000 men was larger than many cities of the day. And it was a monster, devouring food and supplies for miles around. It menaced towns and the countryside-and itself-with famine and disease, often more lethal than combat. Fighting itself was savage, its violence increased by the use of newly invented weapons, from muskets to mortars.

For centuries, notes Martines, the history of this period has favored diplomacy, high politics, and military tactics. Furies puts us on the front lines of battle, and on the streets of cities under siege, to reveal what Europes wars meant to the men and women who endured them.

message 30: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Thanks Alisa.

message 31: by Peter (new)

Peter Flom One of the many interesting things in the book The Better Angels of Our Nature Why Violence Has Declined by Steven Pinker Steven Pinker Steven Pinker is his statement that, since the end of WWII, no army has crossed the Rhine in anger. He says the last time there was such a long period without that happening was 333 AD.

message 32: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) We don't seem to have a folder for Baroque, so am adding this here.

Baroque: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting
Baroque Architecture, Sculpture, Painting by Rolf Toman by Rolf Toman

Almost 200 years of Baroque art are presented in striking images and thought-provoking text -- capturing the theatrical pathos, illusionistic devices, and interplay of different styles that made 17th-century and 18th-century European culture extravagant, showy, and even pretentious. An in-depth study of moving works of art from various European countries exposes the sensual beauty of these objects as well as their allegorical representation of religious beliefs. Black-and-white and color photos. 11" x 12 1/2".

message 33: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) M: The Man Who Became Caravaggio

M The Man Who Became Caravaggio by Peter Robb by Peter Robb

A New York Times Notable Book of the YearAs vividly and unflinchingly presented herein with "blood and bone and sinew" (Times Literary Supplement) by Peter Robb, Caravaggio's wild and tempestuous life was a provocation to a culture in a state of siege. The end of the sixteenth century was marked by the Inquisition and Counter-Reformation, a background of ideological war against which, despite all odds, brilliant feats of art and science were achieved. No artist captured the dark, violent spirit of the time better than Caravaggio, variously known as Marisi, Moriggia, Merigi, and sometimes, simply M. As art critic Robert Hughes has said, "There was art before him and art after him, and they were not the same." Robb's masterful biography "re-creates the mirror Cravaggio held up to nature," as Hilary Spurling wrote in The New York Times Book Review, "with singular delicacy as well as passion and panache."

message 34: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) The Art of Gothic: Architecture, Sculpture, Painting

The Art of Gothic Architecture, Sculpture, Painting by Rolf Toman by Rolf Toman

Courtly splendor and bourgeois pride, religious fanaticism and ascetic seclusion from the world, the search for intimacy: all are mirrored in the art of the Gothic period. Gothic monuments bear witness to a dynamic age, when old values were being redefined, often with great drama and debate. Here is a richly-illustrated overview of the period's architecture, sculpture, painting, stained glass, and jewelry, from its 12th-century French origins to its early 16th-century conclusion.

message 35: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Saving Italy: The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis

Saving Italy The Race to Rescue a Nation's Treasures from the Nazis by Robert M. Edsel by Robert M. Edsel (no photo)

When Hitler’s armies occupied Italy in 1943, they also seized control of mankind’s greatest cultural treasures. As they had done throughout Europe, the Nazis could now plunder the masterpieces of the Renaissance, the treasures of the Vatican, and the antiquities of the Roman Empire.
On the eve of the Allied invasion, General Dwight Eisenhower empowered a new kind of soldier to protect these historic riches. In May 1944 two unlikely American heroes—artist Deane Keller and scholar Fred Hartt—embarked from Naples on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, tracking billions of dollars of missing art, including works by Michelangelo, Donatello, Titian, Caravaggio, and Botticelli.

With the German army retreating up the Italian peninsula, orders came from the highest levels of the Nazi government to transport truckloads of art north across the border into the Reich. Standing in the way was General Karl Wolff, a top-level Nazi officer. As German forces blew up the magnificent bridges of Florence, General Wolff commandeered the great collections of the Uffizi Gallery and Pitti Palace, later risking his life to negotiate a secret Nazi surrender with American spymaster Allen Dulles.

Brilliantly researched and vividly written, Saving Italy brings readers from Milan and the near destruction of The Last Supper to the inner sanctum of the Vatican and behind closed doors with the preeminent Allied and Axis leaders: Roosevelt, Eisenhower, and Churchill; Hitler, Göring, and Himmler.

An unforgettable story of epic thievery and political intrigue, Saving Italy is a testament to heroism on behalf of art, culture, and history.

message 36: by Jill (last edited Jun 02, 2013 12:48PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Probably one of the most recognized paintings in the world, The Last Supper hides a truth far more fascinating than fiction. Good research on the painting and the author who became an immortal. Don''t be misled......this is not the Da Vinci Code but the real thing.

Leonardo and the Last Supper

Leonardo and the Last Supper by Ross King by Ross King Ross King


Early in 1495, Leonardo da Vinci began work in Milan on what would become one of history's most influential and beloved works of art-The Last Supper. After a dozen years at the court of Lodovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, Leonardo was at a low point personally and professionally: at forty-three, in an era when he had almost reached the average life expectancy, he had failed, despite a number of prestigious commissions, to complete anything that truly fulfilled his astonishing promise. His latest failure was a giant bronze horse to honor Sforza's father: His 75 tons of bronze had been expropriated to be turned into cannons to help repel a French invasion of Italy. The commission to paint The Last Supper in the refectory of a Dominican convent was a small compensation, and his odds of completing it were not promising: Not only had he never worked on a painting of such a large size-15' high x 30' wide-but he had no experience in the extremely difficult medium of fresco.

In his compelling new book, Ross King explores how-amid war and the political and religious turmoil around him, and beset by his own insecurities and frustrations-Leonardo created the masterpiece that would forever define him. King unveils dozens of stories that are embedded in the painting. Examining who served as the models for the Apostles, he makes a unique claim: that Leonardo modeled two of them on himself. Reviewing Leonardo's religious beliefs, King paints a much more complex picture than the received wisdom that he was a heretic. The food that Leonardo, a vegetarian, placed on the table reveals as much as do the numerous hand gestures of those at Christ's banquet. As King explains, many of the myths that have grown up around The Last Supper are wrong, but its true story is ever more interesting. Bringing to life a fascinating period in European history, Ross King presents an original portrait of one of the world's greatest geniuses through the lens of his most famous work.

The Da Vinci Code (Robert Langdon, #2) by Dan Brown by Dan Brown Dan Brown

message 37: by Alisa (new)

Alisa (mstaz) Uh oh, another one to add to the TBR pile. I have read Ross King's other works and found them very readable and quite interesting. It has sucked me into a topic I would not otherwise decide to read.

Ross King Ross King

message 38: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
I actually saw that painting in the flesh - magnificent even now although they limit the number of folks who can view it and you have to go through climate controlled chambers.

message 39: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) How special is that, Bentley!! Did it look the way you expected? I saw the Mona Lisa and was underwhelmed.

message 40: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Marble turned to flesh. Michelangelo's incomparable head of David.

message 41: by Jill (last edited Apr 22, 2014 06:19AM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Italian Renaissance Art

Italian Renaissance Art by Stephen J. Campbell by Stephen J. Campbell(no photo)


Drawing on the most recent scholarship, this book is accessible to students and non-specialist readers, telling the story of art in the great centers of Rome, Florence, and Venice, while profiling a range of other cities and sites throughout Italy. While the book presents the classic canon of Renaissance painting and sculpture in full, it expands the scope of conventional surveys by offering a more through coverage of architecture, decorative and domestic art, and print media. Rather than emphasizing artists’ biographies, this new account concentrates on the works, discussing means of production, the place for which images were made, concerns of patrons, and the expectation and responses of the works first viewers. Renaissance art is seen as decidedly new, a moment in the history of art whose concerns persist in the present.

message 42: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Jill wrote: "How special is that, Bentley!! Did it look the way you expected? I saw the Mona Lisa and was underwhelmed."

Yes, I saw the Mona Lisa and was pleased that I got to see the original but felt the same way. I did not feel underwhelmed about the painting by Leonardo of the Last Supper. It was like looking through a window and actually seeing these folks around a table. The colors of course are not as brilliant as they once were and they are doing their best to control the environment but a really brilliant work it was.

message 43: by Jeremy (new)

Jeremy A little while ago I finished reading a book about a Renaissance book finder named Poggius Bracciolini and the importance of having found a copy of Lucretius' De Rerum Natura (On the Nature of Things) and the influence this had on the way people started perceiving the world around them. A great read!

The Swerve How the World Became Modern by Stephen Greenblatt by Stephen Greenblatt

Other related books include:

Two Renaissance Book Hunters The Letters of Poggius Bracciolini to Nicolaus De Niccolis by Phyllis Walter Goodhart Gordan by Phyllis Walter Goodhart Gordan


The Nature of Things by Lucretius by Lucretius

message 44: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4374 comments Mod
An upcoming book:
Release date: October 7, 2014

The Ugly Renaissance: Sex, Greed, Violence and Depravity in an Age of Beauty

The Ugly Renaissance Sex, Greed, Violence and Depravity in an Age of Beauty by Alexander Lee by Alexander Lee (no photo)


Renowned as a period of cultural rebirth and artistic innovation, the Renaissance is cloaked in a unique aura of beauty and brilliance. Its very name conjures up awe-inspiring images of an age of lofty ideals in which life imitated the fantastic artworks for which it has become famous. But behind the vast explosion of new art and culture lurked a seamy, vicious world of power politics, perversity, and corruption that has more in common with the present day than anyone dares to admit.

In this lively and meticulously researched portrait, Renaissance scholar Alexander Lee illuminates the dark and titillating contradictions that were hidden beneath the surface of the period’s best-known artworks. Rife with tales of scheming bankers, greedy politicians, sex-crazed priests, bloody rivalries, vicious intolerance, rampant disease, and lives of extravagance and excess, this gripping exploration of the underbelly of Renaissance Italy shows that, far from being the product of high-minded ideals, the sublime monuments of the Renaissance were created by flawed and tormented artists who lived in an ever-expanding world of inequality, dark sexuality, bigotry, and hatred.

The Ugly Renaissance is a delightfully debauched journey through the surprising contradictions of Italy’s past and shows that were it not for the profusion of depravity and degradation, history’s greatest masterpieces might never have come into being.

message 45: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) Sounds naughty, Jerome....I might have to buy it!!!!!

message 46: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) A very complete and detailed look at the architecture of the Renaissance period.

The Story of Renaissance Architecture

The Story of Renaissance Architecture by Sonia Servida by Sonia Servida (no photo)


Focusing on the Renaissance period, this book gives readers the tools they need to grasp the architectural language and building forms of this style. Part of an accessibly written and generously illustrated series on architecture through the ages, this book features the Renaissance period's most important architects, buildings and cities, interior and exterior photographs, detailed images, and drawings and plans. The book offers a general introduction to the period and discusses the primary characteristics of the style, along with commonly used techniques and materials. Renaissance began in fifteenth-century Italy as an attempt to revive Rome's Golden Age. Its orderly use of columns, domes, arches, and entablatures recalls classic Roman architecture, but adapted for contemporary use in churches and urban dwellings. Some of the most recognizable Renaissance structures are the Chateau de Fontainebleau, the Ducal Palace at Urbino, England's Greenwich Hospital, and St. Peter's Cathedral in Vatican City.(

message 47: by Jerome, Assisting Moderator - Upcoming Books and Releases (new)

Jerome | 4374 comments Mod
The History of the Renaissance World: From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople

The History of the Renaissance World From the Rediscovery of Aristotle to the Conquest of Constantinople by Susan Wise Bauer by Susan Wise Bauer Susan Wise Bauer


Beginning in the heady days just after the First Crusade, this volume the third in the series that began with The History of the Ancient World and The History of the Medieval World chronicles the contradictions of a world in transition. Popes continue to preach crusade, but the hope of a Christian empire comes to a bloody end at the walls of Constantinople. Aristotelian logic and Greek rationality blossom while the Inquisition gathers strength. As kings and emperors continue to insist on their divine rights, ordinary people all over the world seize power: the lingayats of India, the Jacquerie of France, the Red Turbans of China, and the peasants of England.

New threats appear, as the Ottomans emerge from a tiny Turkish village and the Mongols ride out of the East to set the world on fire. New currencies are forged, new weapons invented, and world-changing catastrophes alter the landscape: the Little Ice Age and the Great Famine kill millions; the Black Death, millions more. In the chaos of these epoch-making events, our own world begins to take shape.

Impressively researched and brilliantly told, The History of the Renaissance World offers not just the names, dates, and facts but the memorable characters who illuminate the years between 1100 and 1453 years that marked a sea change in mankind's perception of the world.

message 48: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) A study of the master painter of the Italian High Renaissance.


Titian by Filippo Pedrocco by Filippo Pedrocco(no photo)


In the quarter century since the last catalogue raisonne of Titian, more research has been carried out on the painter than in the whole of the previous four hundred years. New documentation has come to light, pictures have been cleaned and major exhibitions have allowed for scrupulous comparisons to be made. As a result, Titian's whole oeuvre has been reassessed, many old questions of attribution settled-- and a few new ones raised.
Titian's place as one of the giants of Western culture has never been in doubt. He represents the culmination of the Venetian school, evolving a technique of free, spontaneous brushwork and a rendering of form through color that amazed his contemporaries and is now seen by some as foreshadowing Impressionism. In a long life of nearly ninety years he painted hundreds of canvases, ranging from moving and intense religious images, through penetratingly psychological portraits (including Charles V and Philip II of Spain) to sensuously erotic mythological scenes like "Bacchus and Ariadne" and the "Venus of Urbino." Over 250 paintings are now attributed to him. All are illustrated here with detailed commentaries giving the circumstances of their commission, their subsequent history and stylistic analysis. Also included is an exhaustive bibliography. The fruit of many years' research, "Titian "is a monument of scholarship that will remain definitive for the foreseeable future.

message 49: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Great adds folks

message 50: by Jill (new)

Jill Hutchinson (bucs1960) One of the great scams of the Renaissance that proves truth is stranger than fiction.

The Scarith of Scornello: A Tale of Renaissance Forgery

The Scarith of Scornello A Tale of Renaissance Forgery by Ingrid D. Rowland by Ingrid D. Rowland (no photo)


Bored teenager Curzio Inghirami staged perhaps the most outlandish prank of the seventeenth century when he hatched a wild scheme that preyed on the Italian fixation with ancestry by forging an array of ancient Latin and Etruscan documents. Stashing the counterfeit treasure in scarith (capsules made of hair and mud) near Scornello, Curzio reeled in seventeenth-century Tuscans who were eager to establish proof of their heritage and history. However, despite their excitement, none of these proud Italians could actually read the ancient Etruscan language, and they simply perpetuated the hoax. Written with humor and energy by Renaissance expert Ingrid Rowland, The Scarith of Scornello traces the career of this young scam artist whose "findings" reached the Vatican shortly after Galileo was condemned by the Inquisition, inspiring participants on both sides of the affair to clash again—this time over Etruscan history. In her investigation of this seventeenth-century caper, Rowland captivates readers with her obvious delight in Curzio's far-reaching prank.

« previous 1
back to top