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The City Of Invention

The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney

The Context Of Renaissance Art

Renaissance Art: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions) - Geraldine A. Johnson

Geraldine Johnson's no-nonsense approach to Renaissance art contrasts the very different contexts in which Renaissance paintings, sculpture and crafted objects can be viewed. On the one hand she examines attitudes at the time: the very specific demands of the patrons who commissioned these works, and the uses to which the works were put, whether devotional, political, familial or domestic. On the other hand she considers the reverence with which the same objects are regarded nowadays by gallery-goers gazing through a post-Romantic lens in which the artist is seen as a creative genius in conflict with the world, giving expression to his troubled personality through his art


The scope of the book is limited by the parameters of the series in which it belongs. Nevertheless, Johnson does an excellent job, focusing on a series of individual artworks and outlining how they embody the economic, religious and political forces  of the time. Clear, precise and informed.