The Italian Renaissance was an era of unparalleled creativity. This great 'rebirth' in the arts and sciences, resulting in sortie of the most remarkable works of art ever produced, effectively formed a bridge between the Middle Ages and the modern world. In the context of painting, there was a rediscovery of naturalistic techniques and a new interest in portraiture, in landscapes and in the themes of classical mythology. The pioneering achievements of artists such as Giotto in the fourteenth century, which paved the way for Masaccio and Donatello in the fifteenth century were in turn eclipsed by the supreme geniuses of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo and Titian. This imaginative richness produced some of the most enduring images in all art history, many of which are reproduced in this ideal introduction to an age of masterpieces.
Art historian Sara Elliott has produced a lively and wide-ranging account of this great era of Western civilization, including extensive captions to each colour plate and many invaluable comparative illustrations.