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Luxury Arts of the Renaissance

Overview


Today we associate Renaissance arts with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Yet gem-studded goldwork and richly embellished armor; splendid tapestries, embroideries, and textiles; ephemeral multimedia spectacles; and other opulent creations were consistently more celebrated by contemporaries. Thus, Isabella d'Este, Marchesa of Mantua, bequeathed to her children vases of semiprecious stones mounted in gold, engraved gems, ivories, antique bronzes, and marbles. Her favorite ladies-in-waiting, by contrast, ...
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Overview


Today we associate Renaissance arts with painting, sculpture, and architecture. Yet gem-studded goldwork and richly embellished armor; splendid tapestries, embroideries, and textiles; ephemeral multimedia spectacles; and other opulent creations were consistently more celebrated by contemporaries. Thus, Isabella d'Este, Marchesa of Mantua, bequeathed to her children vases of semiprecious stones mounted in gold, engraved gems, ivories, antique bronzes, and marbles. Her favorite ladies-in-waiting, by contrast, received mere paintings! This distribution underscores Renaissance aesthetic preferences and cultural values: finely-wrought luxury artifacts were extolled for their exquisite craftsmanship and the symbolic capital of their components, while paintings and sculptures in modest materials were considered of lesser consequence.
Luxury Arts of the Renaissance endeavors to return to the mainstream materials long overlooked due to historical and ideological biases. The author traces luxury arts from their status as markers of ascendancy and discernment in the Renaissance to their subsequent marginalization as extravagant trinkets unworthy of the status of art. By re-examining the objects themselves and their uses in their day, Belozerskaya demonstrates how sumptuous creations constructed both the world and taste of Renaissance elites. Without these art forms the study of Renaissance arts is impoverished and history misrepresented.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
During the Renaissance, luxury arts like jewel-encrusted goldwork, etched, gilded armor, and costly tapestries were the outward expression of elite social status and confirmed political and religious hierarchy. Often serving as diplomatic gifts, they evidenced the constant interaction among the European and Islamic elite. Covering the years 1400-1550, Belozerskaya (Rethinking the Renaissance: Burgundian Arts Across Europe) chronicles the history of these luxury arts, employing case studies to clarify their meaning, function, and use as well as the thoughts and practices of the period. Thematically arranged topics cover the spiritual and magical powers of gold and gems, weddings and funerals, personal adornment, the practicality and production of armor, and music, dance, and song. Lavishly illustrated (200 color and b&w images) and laid out, this book is a beautiful object in its own right and is readable and well documented to boot. Recommended for larger public and academic libraries and specialized collections.-Nancy Mactague, Aurora Univ. Lib., IL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Marina Belozerskaya is an independent researcher and writer focusing on the Renaissance.

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