For Jacob Burckhardt, wrting "The Civilisation of the Renaissance" in Italy in 1860, artistic purpose and commitment to beauty were defining characteristics of Italian Renaissance culture. Burckhardt's analysis has been widely accepted but little has been done to define the Renaissance concept of beauty. In this volume, 15 contributing scholars reveal that ways of perceiving, conceiving and creating beauty were as diverse as the cultural influences at work in the period, deriving from antique, medieval and more recent literature and philosophy, adn from contemporary notions of morality and courtly behaviour. Approaches include discussion of contemporary critical terms and how these determined writers' appreciation of paintings, sculpture, architecture and costume; studies of the quest to crate beauty in the work of artists such as Botticelli, Leonardo, Raphael, Parmigianino and Vasari; and the investigation of changes in the concept relating to the biological functioning of the eye and brain, or to technical innovations, like those found in Venetian glass.
The volume is introduced by Elizabeth Cropper who offers an historical overview of art historians' study of the Renaissance concept of beauty. Many of the papers were first presented at the 1996 Association of Art Historians' conference.
Table of Contents
The biographical basis of Renaissance aesthetics, John Onians; the perception of beauty in landscape in the quattrocento, Alison Cole; "condecenti et netti" - beauty, dress and gender in Italian Renaissance art, Jane Bridgeman; Giovanni Sabadino degli Arienti and a practical definition of magnificence in the context of Renaisssance architecture, Rupert Shepherd; beauty as an aesthetic and artistic ideal in late 15th-century Florence, David Hemsolt; defining the beautiful in early Renaissance Germany, Andrew Morrall; the artist as beauty, Mary Rogers; "la piu bella e melio lavarata opera" - beauty and good design in Italian Renaissance architecture, Georgia Clarke; poetry in motion - beauty in movement and the Renaissance conception of leggiadria, Sharon Fermor; resplendent vessels - Parmigianino at work in the Steccata, Mary Vaccaro; Michalangelo's Christian neoplatonic aesthetic of beauty in his early ouevre - the nuditas virtualis image, Joanne Snow-Smith; Venetian glass and Renaissance self-fashioning, Paul Hills; Vasari's interpretation of female beauty, Liana de Girolami Cheney; the notion of beauty in Francesco Bocchi's "Bellezze della citta di Fiorenza" I, Thomas Frangenberg; the notion of beauty in Francesco Bocchi's "Bellezze della citta di Fiorenza" II, Robert Williams.