The Painted Book in Renaissance Italy


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Jonathan J. G. Alexander

View Inside Format: Hardcover
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A comprehensive survey examining the vibrant and sumptuous art of illumination during a period of profound intellectual and cultural transformation

Hand-painted illumination enlivened the burgeoning culture of the book in the Italian Renaissance, spanning the momentous shift from manuscript production to print. This major survey, by a leading authority on medieval and renaissance book illumination, gives the first comprehensive account in English of an immensely creative and relatively little-studied art form.

Jonathan J. G. Alexander describes key illuminated manuscripts and printed books from the period and explores the social and material worlds in which they were produced. Renaissance humanism encouraged wealthy members of the laity to join the clergy as readers and book collectors. Illuminators responded to patrons’ developing interest in classical motifs, and celebrated artists such as Mantegna and Perugino occasionally worked as illuminators. Italian illuminated books found patronage across Europe, their dispersion hastened by the French invasion of Italy at the end of the 15th century. Richly illustrated, The Painted Book in Renaissance Italy is essential reading for all scholars and students of Renaissance art.

Jonathan J. G. Alexander is Sherman Fairchild Professor Emeritus of Fine Arts at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York.

“The product of a lifetime’s scholarship, it is beautifully designed, as befits the subject matter. . . . This book is a fitting tribute to the humanistic tradition of scholarship, book production and ownership that speaks to a community of scholars and humanists that stretches back in time as well as into the future.”—M. A. Michael, The Art Newspaper

The Painted Book in Renaissance Italy is a magnificent achievement and will remain a major reference work for many years to come.”—Federico Botana, Renaissance Quarterly

Received a commendation from the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading, and Publishing, DeLong Book History Prize.

Won the 2017 Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title
ISBN: 9780300203981
Publication Date: August 16, 2016
400 pages, 10 x 11 1/2
100 color + 150 b/w illus.