A Companion to Renaissance and Baroque Art
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More About This Title A Companion to Renaissance and Baroque Art


A Companion to Renaissance and Baroque Art provides a diverse, fresh collection of accessible, comprehensive essays addressing key issues for European art produced between 1300 and 1700, a period that might be termed the beginning of modern history.

  • Presents a collection of original, in-depth essays from art experts that address various aspects of European visual arts produced from circa 1300 to 1700
  • Divided into five broad conceptual headings: Social-Historical Factors in Artistic Production; Creative Process and Social Stature of the Artist; The Object: Art as Material Culture; The Message: Subjects and Meanings; and The Viewer, the Critic, and the Historian: Reception and Interpretation as Cultural Discourse
  • Covers many topics not typically included in collections of this nature, such as Judaism and the arts, architectural treatises, the global Renaissance in arts, the new natural sciences and the arts, art and religion, and gender and sexuality
  • Features essays on the arts of the domestic life, sexuality and gender, and the art and production of tapestries, conservation/technology, and the metaphor of theater
  • Focuses on Western and Central Europe and that territory's interactions with neighboring civilizations and distant discoveries
  • Includes illustrations as well as links to images not included in the book 


Babette Bohn is Professor of Art History at Texas Christian University. Her publications include two books on Italian prints, Agostino Carracci (1995) and Italian Masters of the Sixteenth Century (1996), and two on the drawings of Ludovico Carracci (2004) and Guido Reni (2008).

James M. Saslow is Professor of Art History, Theatre, and Renaissance Studies at Queens College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York. His most recent book, Pictures and Passions: A History of Homosexuality in the Visual Arts (1999), received two awards from the Lambda Literary Foundation.


Contributors viii

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xvii

Introduction 1
Babette Bohn and James M. Saslow

Part 1 The Context: Social-Historical Factors in Artistic Production 21

1 A Taxonomy of Art Patronage in Renaissance Italy 23
Sheryl E. Reiss

2 Judaism and the Arts in Early Modern Europe: Jewish and Christian Encounters 44
Shelley Perlove

3 Religion, Politics, and Art in Late Medieval and Renaissance Italy 65
Julia I. Miller

4 Europe’s Global Vision 85
Larry Silver

5 Italian Art and the North: Exchanges, Critical Reception, and Identity, 1400–1700 106
Amy Golahny

6 The Desiring Eye: Gender, Sexuality, and the Visual Arts 127
James M. Saslow

Part 2 The Artist: Creative Process and Social Status 149

7 The Artist as Genius 151
William E. Wallace

8 Drawing in Renaissance Italy 168
Mary Vaccaro

9 Self-Portraiture 1400–1700 189
H. Perry Chapman

10 Recasting the Role of the Italian Sculptor: Sculptors, Patrons, Materials, and Principles for the New Early Modern Age 210
Elinor M. Richter

11 From Oxymoron to Virile Paintbrush: Women Artists in Early Modern Europe 229
Babette Bohn

Part 3 The Object: Art as Material Culture 251

12 The Birth of Mass Media: Printmaking in Early Modern Europe 253
Alison G. Stewart

13 The Material Culture of Family Life in Italy and Beyond 275
Jacqueline Marie Musacchio

14 Tapestry: Luxurious Art, Collaborative Industry 295
Koenraad Brosens

15 The New Sciences and the Visual Arts 316
Eileen Reeves

16 Seeing Through Renaissance and Baroque Paintings: Case Studies 336
Claire Barry

Part 4 The Message: Subjects and Meanings 359

17 Iconography in Renaissance and Baroque Art 361
Mark Zucker

18 Renaissance Landscapes: Discovering the World and Human Nature 381
Lawrence O. Goedde

19 The Nude Figure in Renaissance Art 402
Thomas Martin

20 Genre Painting in Seventeenth-Century Europe 422
Wayne Franits

21 The Meaning of the European Painted Portrait, 1400–1650 442
Joanna Woods-Marsden

22 All the World’s a Stage: The Theater Conceit in Early Modern Italy 463
Inge Jackson Reist

23 Intensity and Orthodoxy in Iberian and Hispanic Art of the Tridentine Era, 1550–1700 484
Marcus B. Burke

Part 5 The Viewer, the Critic, and the Historian: Reception and Interpretation as Cultural Discourse 505

24 Historians of Northern European Art: From Johann Neudörfer and Karel van Mander to the Rembrandt Research Project 507
Jeffrey Chipps Smith

25 Artistic Biography in Italy: Vasari to Malvasia 525
David Cast

26 With a Critical Eye: Painting and Theory in France, 1600–43 The Case of Simon Vouet and Nicolas Poussin 541
Joseph C. Forte

27 The Italian Piazza: From Gothic Footnote to Baroque Theater 561
Niall Atkinson

28 Building in Theory and Practice: Writing about Architecture in the Renaissance 582
Carolyn Yerkes

Index 602


“The comprehensive collection of essays addresses major aspects of European visual arts produced in 1300-1700. This book offers developments in the sphere of theory and criticism with the changing tastes, attitudes, and goals among patrons and artists.”  (NeoPopRealism Journal, 1 August 2013)

"Provides a fuller context for students to understand the confluence of ideas related to art production and allows students an opportunity to examine several examples of methodological principles behind art historical research ... Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-level undergraduates through graduate students." (Choice, 1 September 2013)

“An enlightening and enabling companion to the study of Renaissance and Baroque art history from the classic heartland of the discipline to the latest frontiers.”
- Joseph Connors, Harvard University

“Focusing on the Renaissance and Baroque periods, this collection demonstrates for scholars and students alike where art history has been and where it is going.”
- David G. Wilkins, Professor Emeritus of the History of Art and Architecture, University of Pittsburg

“The editors have gathered some of the best-known scholars of Renaissance and Baroque art history to create a vibrant picture of contemporary thinking about Early Modern art, in a collection usefully organized by categories of particular interest today.”
- Mary D. Garrard, Professor Emerita, American University