This book focuses on the values, priorities, and motives of patrons and the purposes and functions of art works produced north and south of the Alps and in post-Byzantine Crete. It begins by considering the social range and character of Renaissance patronage and ends with a study of Hans Holbein the Younger and the reform of religious images in Basle and England.
Viewing Renaissance Art considers a wide range of audiences and patrons from the rulers of France to the poorest confraternities in Florence. The overriding premise is that art was not a neutral matter of stylistic taste but an aspect of material production in which values were investedwhether religious, cultural, social, or political.
Editors Woods, Carol M. Richardson, and Angeliki Lymberopoulou-all lecturers of art history at the Open University, UK-present a strong foundation for the study of Renaissance artworks produced north and south of the Alps and in post-Byzantine Crete. Throughout, they reinforce the need to understand the social landscape if one is to understand the art: both the rich and the poor of the era appreciated the significance of art objects, and a combination of sacred and secular influence prevailed. The authors detail illuminated manuscripts, the Renaissance in France, appreciation for Greek Orthodox and Byzantine art, and the significant relationship between art and death. Their progression through the time period-with a culminating chapter devoted to Hans Holbein the Younger and the reform of religious art-flows logically, highlighting important points of focus. The sound text and fine photo reproductions (200 color) are contained in a seemingly durable paperback format, which reduces the price for students. A fine addition to public libraries and libraries specializing in art history, especially when combined with Making Renaissance Art, also edited by Woods, and Locating Renaissance Art, edited by Carol M. Richardson, the other two books in this series.