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History of Italian Renaissance - famous paintings

Updated on September 13, 2014

History of italian renaissance art, paintings, sculpture and architecture.

If you you're interested in the famous italian renaissance art, its paintings, sculptures and the amazing architecture, then this coffee table book History of Italian Renaissance Art (Paper cover) (7th Edition) by Frederick Hartt is a precious gift indeed. It's a book full of brilliantly photographed pictures in colour, only a few are in black and white.

If you always wanted to know more about the Italian renaissance and its inpact on the world, this book would give you the information you need. Without being an "old school" boring history book, this book is beautiful and thorough at the same time, a good read and a pleasure to look at.

It is a great reference book for artist and art lover alike.

The History of the Italian Renaissance Art.

Botticelli - The Birth of Venus
Botticelli - The Birth of Venus

History of Italian Renaissance Art (7th edition)

a classic under the the italian renaissance books

The authors Frederick Hartt and David Wilkins already distinguished themselves with a variaty of books about the renaissance era. Frederick Hartt wrote for instance the well received volumes on the painting, sculpture, and drawings of Michelangelo and "Love in Baroque Art". And David Wilkins is known for "Maso di Banco: A Florentine Artist of the Early Trecento". This book however, History of Italian Renaissance Art shows there scholarship written in a very enthusiastically and easy to understand language.

It spans an art timeline between c. 1250 and 1600 and contains a wealth of information starting with Italy and the Italian art in general.

Continuing with the art in Tuscany and Rome, Florentine art of the early trecento and the gothic and renaissance in Florentine painting.

Keeping a chronological order they lead us through the art history timeline of Italy. The Heritage of Masaccio, the renaissance architecture and what's a book about the Italian renaissance without Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.

It gives us insight in the the role of the Medici family during this time, how Linear Perspective came into play, The Pazzi Chapel and lots more.

The famous artists like Donatello, Fra Angelico, Titian, Botticelli, Tintoretto and Caravaggio. Only to name a few...!! are not left out.

History of Italian Renaissance Art is a complete book which is both a pleasure to the eye as a good read.


Prefaces and Forewords 6



1. Italy and Italian Art 27

2. Duecento Art in Tuscany and Rome 43

3. Florentine Art of the Early Trecento 76

4. Sienese Art of the Early Trecento 104

5. Later Gothic Art in Tuscany and Northern Italy 133


6. The Beginnings of Renaissance Architecture 152

7. Gothic and Renaissance in Tuscan Sculpture 167

8. Gothic and Renaissance in Florentine Painting 187

9. The Heritage of Masaccio and the Second Renaissance Style 213

10. The Second Renaissance Style in Architecture and Sculpture 229

11. Absolute and Perfect Painting: The Second Renaissance Style 252

12. Crisis and Crosscurrents 290

13. Science, Poetry, and Prose 317

14. The Renaissance in Central Italy 350

15. Gothic and Renaissance in Venice and Northern Italy 378


16. The High Renaissance in Florence 430

17. The High Renaissance in Rome 479

18. High Renaissance and Mannerism 535

19. High and Late Renaissance in Venice and on the Mainland 582

20. Michelangelo and the Maniera 631

Glossary 662

Bibliography 669

Index 678

Credits 696

As classic as this book may seem, the pictures (and there are a lot of them...) and the style of writing gives it an edge and a joy to read.

History of Italian Renaissance Art (7th edition) by Frederick Hartt and David Wilkins let us experience the rich artistic legacy in painting, sculpture, and architecture of the Italian Renaissance in full colour!

Who are your most favorite artists of the Renaissance era - difficult choice...

Fra Filippo Lippi
Fra Filippo Lippi

The Book pictures the whole renaissance era, from the start of the perspective till Caravago...

Do you have a favorite artist and why ?

Who is your favorite renaissance artist

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Reviews of History of Italian Renaissance Art - 7th edition

by Frederick Hartt and David G. Wilkins

The fact alone that this book is already in it's 7th edition tells us the quality of the work. The first editions where with more black and white pictures, but this modernized edition is in full colour, it shows the art of the renaissance in al it's grandeur.

If you are looking for a great book about the renaissance then this is the one. I'm just posting some of the reviews of Amazon here, but if you want to read some more reviews you can find them here

Fredrick Hartt is a man whose love of his subject is only equal to his willingness to expalin it in terms of the layman. He does not limit the purview of the book to merely the depiction of Italian life and piety, but brings in narrative and anecdotes to enliven the tome. He introduces us to the vocabulary of the arts, not consigning them to an inconvenient niche in the appendix, neither condescending incessantly or immersed in jagon. The resplendent illustrations, true eye candy, fill the book, making it a true bargain. Hartt truly deserves the copious awards given to him by the patrons of the arts. My only regret is that the usuerers of my school book store had not charged such a bloated price ($72) for this book.


The Renaissance

The revival of the arts

Often the renaissance is defined as the revival of the arts under the influence of classical models during the 14th-16th centurary. As early as 1550 Vasari already used the word rinacita to describe this rebirth of the arts.

In the visual arts the term is now used with some care. The influence of classical models is not easy to distinguish in Italy, where the classical tradition is virtually unbroken, and a term which can be made to cover Giotto to one end and Titian at the other is too vague. Therefore there we do use the terms as early renaissance and high renaissance.

Generally one can say that Giotto has begun the Renaissance and used the classical ideas. He painted persons with real personalities. The ideas of individualism started to take form. But it was only in the 15th century when it really started with Masaccio and Donatello, using line perspective for the first time and experimenting with space and shades.'

The period 1420-1500 therefore is called the Early Renaissance and the term High Renaissance is reserved for the tiny span of time when a pure,classical, balanced harmony was attained, and when artists of the first rank were in absolute control of there techniques, able to render anything they wanted with the maximum of fidelity to nature. It is this mastery of technique which is one of the differences between the early and the high Renaissance.

The High renaissance lasted from c. 1500 to about 1527, the date of the sack of rome by the mutinous troops of Charles V. And it includes the earlier works of Michaelangelo, all the works of Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci. The later works of Michaelangelo is dedicated to different ideals andthe style of the period 1530/1600 is now generally known as Mannerism, while the style of the 17th century is the Baroque.



During the Renaissance a lot happened in the society. Marco Polo went to China, Leonardo was making inventions by the day, Galileo named the moons of Jupiter just to name a few things.

What do you think ?

What is the most appealing or inspiring factor of the Renaissance ? - art, science, religion, fashion, travel or discoveries. philosophy...

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    • Sher Ritchie profile image

      Sher Ritchie 6 years ago

      One thing I find inspiring is that the search for greater naturalism in art - ie the Renaissance as it was expressed in art - began when the church decided it should encourage less stylisation and more realism in art. The clerics wanted an art that 'ordinary people' could understand. The increasing stylization of late Medieval art was hindering the use of art as an "instructor of the illiterate." How could people understand (say) Noah's flood if the art used to portray it was incomprehensible to them? And it is here artists like Giotto enter the history, for they could create the realism that the church wanted. 'Ordinary people' could look at the 'cycles' of artists like Giotto and UNDERSTAND the histories being thus portrayed. In turn, this gave 'secular' artists scope to explore realism, and so flowered Renaissance art.