The Art History Newsletter

Renaissance Category Archives

Religious Modernism

7 February 2012 | Awards, Books, Renaissance

Alexander Nagel’s award-winning The Controversy of Renaissance Art focuses on Italy. In his words, This book offers an alternative to the view that Renaissance art struggled to break away from the confines and superstitions of medieval religion, but at the same time it ranges itself against the more recent tendency to let the art fall [...]


‘the politics in pictures’

25 January 2012 | Awards, Books, Renaissance

One of four books nominated for CAA’s Morey Award, Michael W. Cole’s Ambitious Form: Giambologna, Ammanati, and Danti in Florence is a group portrait of three late Cinquecento sculptors. They are most often compared to their forerunner Michelangelo, but were just as influenced by each other, Cole writes: Early writers make it clear that sculptors [...]


‘Jan Gossart’s Renaissance’

18 January 2012 | Awards, Renaissance

Next up in our CAA Barr Award coverage, a consideration of Man, Myth, and Sensual Pleasures: Jan Gossart’s Renaissance: It delivers 484 pages of catalogue-raisonné detail, scholarship-packed analysis, and long-overdue re-evaluation of this neglected artist. It also overstates its case. Nearly every essay protests Gossart’s low reputation and minimizes his failings. “One of the most [...]


Leonardo and Richter

17 December 2011 | Contemporary, Current Events, Museums, Renaissance

Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan The National Gallery, London, 9 November 2011 – 5 February 2012 Gerhard Richter: Panorama Tate Modern, London, 6 October 2011 – 8 January 2012 Two great exhibitions currently taking place in London, Leonardo Da Vinci: Court Painter at Milan at The National Gallery (until 5 February [...]


Myth and ‘Mediocritas’

3 August 2011 | Books, Medieval, Renaissance

Three new books on medieval and Renaissance Venice and Florence caught my attention recently. Most significantly: Blake de Maria’s Becoming Venetian: Immigrants and the Arts in Early Modern Venice. The famous social stability of the multicultural Republic of Venice he calls partly a myth and credits partly to its “ethos of mediocritas, a state dictum [...]


The Genre Called Genre

11 June 2011 | Renaissance, Teaching, Uncategorized

As a regular teacher of survey courses in Western Art, I find it very satisfying when new scholarship addresses its problems and offers solutions. In the June 2011 Art Bulletin, Margaret A. Sullivan writes: “For artists, whose calling required careful observation of the world around them, this heightened appreciation of the spectator elevated their own [...]


Quanto Michelangelo

7 June 2011 | Books, Career, Renaissance

When I learned of John T. Spike’s Young Michelangelo: The Path to the Sistine after it was published last year, I immediately thought of Andrew Graham-Dixon’s 2008 book Michelangelo and the Sistine Chapel, and Ross King’s Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling of 2003. While I admit that much of the publishing world remains obscure to [...]


Creighton Gilbert, 1924-2011

14 April 2011 | Renaissance

The Renaissance art historian Creighton Gilbert died on April 6, 2011.  On his life and career see the entry in the Dictionary of Art Historians.  We will post an obituary when it appears in the press.


Leo Steinberg, 1920-2011

14 April 2011 | Modern, Renaissance

The great art historian and critic Leo Steinberg died in New York City on March 13, 2011. Steinberg, more than any other historian of Renaissance art, believed in the power of pictorial structure to generate meaning. On Steinberg’s life and work see the New York Times obituary and the entry in the online Dictionary of [...]


Word and Image in the Renaissance

28 January 2011 | Books, Renaissance

Among the new books I’ve received lately are two on Renaissance art written by distinguished scholars of literature: Michelangelo: A Life on Paper by Leonard Barkan and Blessed and Beautiful by Robert Kiely. I once took a graduate course on the Renaissance revival of antiquity with Barkan, a talented teacher who had us read classic [...]


Brunelleschi’s Egg

1 December 2010 | Renaissance

In the Spring/Summer 2010 issue of Woman’s Art Journal, the editors write: Even with the rising presence of art by women in museums and on bookstore shelves, Woman’s Art Journal continues to find a receptive audience for its mission: recognition of women artists of the past and present. From the overwhelming number of books and [...]


Campbell’s Books

29 November 2010 | Baroque/Neoclassical, Renaissance

The final issue of Decorative Arts includes reviews of two recent books by the new Metropolitan Museum director Thomas Campbell. Hans Hubach considers the exhibition catalogue to Tapestry in the Baroque: Threads of Splendor: Following the great success of his Tapestry in the Renaissance: Art and Magnificence (2002), Thomas Campbell has once again succeeded in [...]


Art History = History?

11 November 2010 | Books, Renaissance

In the Summer 2010 Representations Christopher Pye writes: In their introduction to the recent volume Renaissance Florence: A Social History, the editors offer a reflection on their own methodological moment … We are poised at an exciting moment in the history of our disciplines when we can with profit consider the ways in which the [...]


In the papers

14 October 2010 | Baroque/Neoclassical, Books, Modern, Photography, Renaissance

Recently in the papers: In the Economist, reviews of Eadweard Muybridge at the Tate, and Bronzino at the Palazzo Strossi. In the FT, Jackie Wullschlager on four books on Caravaggio (Strinati, Fried, Graham-Dixon, Schütze). At the NYRBlog, a teaser of Willibald Sauerländer’s article on Franz Xaver Messerschmidt. In the Guardian, Rosemary Hill on the pre-Raphaelites [...]


Wood/Nagel’s ‘Anachronic Renaissance’

7 October 2010 | Books, Renaissance, Theory

Alexander Nagel and Christopher Wood have recently published Anachronic Renaissance, an expansion of their 2005 Art Bulletin “intervention” (pdf), a “reconsideration of the problem of time in the Renaissance”: While a work of art does bear witness to the moment of its fabrication … it is equally important to understand its temporal instability: how it [...]


In the papers

18 September 2010 | Africa, Ancient, Baroque/Neoclassical, Contemporary, Modern, Renaissance, Theory

Recently in the papers: Kaelen Wilson Goldie on Routes d’Arabie at the Louvre (The National) On Dynasty and Divinity: Ife Art from Ancient Nigeria, previously in Santander, Madrid and London, now in Houston, and later in Indianapolis, Richmond and New York: Douglas Britt (Houston Chronicle); The Economist; Itziar Reyero (; Richard Dorment (The Telegraph); Jonathan [...]


‘architecture does not narrate’

13 August 2010 | Architecture, Books, Renaissance

In, Roy Eriksen considers Christoph Luitpold Frommel’s 2007 book The Architecture of the Italian Renaissance: The publisher of The Architecture of the Italian Renaissance describes it as “a landmark survey and analysis of Italian Renaissance architecture by an internationally renowned expert in the field.” The claims are true … He channels into the volume [...]


‘Seeing Sex in Renaissance Europe’

9 August 2010 | Books, Renaissance

Diane Wolfthal, author of the widely reviewed books The Beginnings of Netherlandish Canvas Painting, 1400-1530 (1989) and Images of Rape: The “Heroic Tradition” and its Alternatives (1999), now has a new book out – In and Out of the Marital Bed: Seeing Sex in Renaissance Europe. “This book explores images whose sexual content has all [...]


“Art history has been hijacked by other disciplines”

5 August 2010 | Museums, Renaissance, Teaching, Theory

A show at the Yale University Art Museum points to an issues that many graduate programs seems to be addressing in one way or another. Laurence Kanter says: “Original works of art have been forgotten. They’re being used as data, without any sense of whether they’re good, bad or indifferent.” He added: “No one wants [...]


What Makes a Genius?

22 July 2010 | Awards, Books, Renaissance

A Virginia newspaper, The News Leader, profiles UVA professor Cammy Brothers, whose book Michelangelo, Drawing, and the Invention of Architecture recently won the Charles Rufus Morey Book Award from the College Art Association and the Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians: Michelangelo stands apart from his contemporaries. But is he [...]