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The Renaissance Portrait: From Donatello to Bellini

The Renaissance Portrait: From Donatello to Bellini

Christiansen, Keith, and Stefan Weppelmann, eds., with essays by Patricia Lee Rubin, Beverly Louise Brown, Peter Humfrey, and Rudolf Preimesberger, and contributions by Andrea Bayer, Francesco Caglioti, Eleonara Luciano, and Stephen K. Scher
432 pages
261 illustrations
CHOICE: Outstanding Academic Title (2012)
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In the words of cultural historian Jacob Burckhardt, fifteenth-century Italy was "the place where the notion of the individual was born." In keeping with that idea, early Renaissance Italy was a key participant in the first great age of portraiture in Europe. As groundbreaking artists strove to evoke the identity or personality of their sitters—from heads of state and church, military commanders, and wealthy patrons to scholars, poets, and artists—they evolved daring new representational strategies that would profoundly influence the course of Western art. More than a mere likeness, the fifteenth-century Italian portrait was an attempt to wrest from the unpredictability of life and the shadow of mortality an image that could be passed down to future generations.

The Renaissance Portrait, which accompanies a landmark exhibition at the Bode-Museum, Berlin, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, provides new research and insight into the early history of portraiture in Italy, examining in detail how its major art centers—Florence, the princely courts, and Venice—saw the rapid development of portraiture as closely linked to Renaissance society and politics, ideas of the individual, and concepts of beauty. Essays by leading scholars provide a thorough introduction to Renaissance portraiture, while individual catalogue entries illustrate and extensively discuss more than 160 magnificent examples of painting, drawing, manuscript illumination, sculpture, and medallic portraiture by such artists as Donatello, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Verrocchio, Ghirlandaio, Pisanello, Mantegna, Antonello da Messina, and Giovanni Bellini. With abundant style and visual ingenuity, these masters transformed the plain facts of observation into something beautiful to behold.

Portrait of a Woman with a Man at a Casement, Fra Filippo Lippi  Italian, Tempera on wood
ca. 1440
Portrait of a Woman, Piero del Pollaiuolo (Piero di Jacopo Benci)  Italian, Tempera on wood
ca. 1480
Selvaggia Sassetti (born 1470), Davide Ghirlandaio (David Bigordi)  Italian, Tempera on wood
ca. 1487–88
Portrait of a Young Man, Biagio d'Antonio  Italian, Tempera on wood
probably ca. 1470
Portrait of a Young Man, Hans Memling  Netherlandish, Oil on oak panel
ca. 1472–75
Francesco Sassetti (1421–1490) and His Son Teodoro, Domenico Ghirlandaio (Domenico Bigordi)  Italian, Tempera on wood
ca. 1488
Portrait of a Young Woman, Lorenzo di Credi (Lorenzo d'Andrea d'Oderigo)  Italian, Oil on wood
ca. 1490–1500
Lorenzo de' Medici, 'il Magnifico' (1448–1492), Niccolò Fiorentino (Niccolò di Forzore Spinelli)  Italian, Bronze, Italian
ca. 1490
Francesco d'Este (born ca. 1429, died after 1486), Rogier van der Weyden  Netherlandish, Oil on wood
ca. 1460
Portrait of a Young Man, Cosmè Tura (Cosimo di Domenico di Bonaventura)  Italian, Tempera on wood
Federico Gonzaga (1500–1540), Francesco Francia  Italian, Tempera on wood, transferred from wood to canvas and then again to wood
Francesco Sforza (1401–1466), Pisanello (Antonio Pisano)  Italian, Bronze, Italian
ca. 1441
Portrait of a Man, possibly Matteo di Sebastiano di Bernardino Gozzadini, Maestro delle Storie del Pane, Tempera on wood
Portrait of a Woman, possibly Ginevra d'Antonio Lupari Gozzadini, Maestro delle Storie del Pane, Tempera on wood
Federigo da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino, Savelli Sperandio  Italian, Bronze, Italian
ca. 1474–82
Cardinal Guillaume d'Estouteville (1403–1483), Bishop of Ostia and Cardinal Archbishop of Rouen, Mino da Fiesole (Mino di Giovanni)  Italian, Marble, Italian, Rome
third quarter 15th century
Portrait of a Man, Cosimo Rosselli  Italian, Tempera on wood
ca. 1481–82
A Boy, Gian Cristoforo Romano  Italian, Marble, Italian, Rome
late 15th–early 16th century
Giovanni Gioviano Pontano (1426–1503), Adriano Fiorentino (Adriano di Giovanni de' Maestri)  Italian, Marble, Italian, Naples
ca. 1490
Portrait of a Young Man, Antonello da Messina (Antonello di Giovanni d'Antonio)  Italian, Oil on wood
ca. 1470
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Christiansen, Keith, Stefan Weppelmann, Patricia Lee Rubin, Bode-Museum, and Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York, N.Y.), eds. 2011. The Renaissance Portrait: From Donatello to Bellini. New York : New Haven [Conn.]: Metropolitan Museum of Art ; Distributed by Yale University Press.