Ancient Greece was the cradle of western civilization; its influence reverberates today in almost every sphere of life, from philosophy and politics to literature and art. This volume explores in almost 400 stunning colour photographs the best of its architecture, paintings, sculptures and brilliantly sophisticated pottery and metalwork. This superb overview of the extraordinary riches of Greek art encompasses every era, from the abstract purity of the Cycladic figurines and the perfection of the Classical period to the 'baroque' of the Hellenistic era. The accessible and wide-ranging text begins in the Bronze Age with Minoan Crete, and proceeds through the glories of 5th-century Athens and the birth of democracy, to the feats of Alexander the Great and ultimately to Greece's conquest by Rome. Further sections examine other essential aspects of Greek culture, including architecture, religion, theatre, sport and warfare. Completing the volume is a spectacular itinerary that takes in the most beautiful cities of ancient Greece and its colonies, including Asia Minor and southern Italy. Descriptions are brought to life and cities restored to their former glory in specially commissioned colour reconstructions, including several fold-outs. With numerous diagrams, site plans, maps and a glossary, Greece: Splendours of an Ancient Civilization is a panoramic study of one of the most important periods in human history.
During the Renaissance the ideals of art and architecture became unified in the acceptance of classical antiquity and in the belief that humanity was a measure of the universe. The rebirth of classical architecture, which took place in Italy in the 15th cent. and spread in the following century through Western Europe, terminated the supremacy of the Gothic style.
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Giuseppe Pallanti, following Giorgio Vasari's lead, bases his work on a meticulous and in-depth review of archival materials in attributing a name to one of the most iconic faces in art history: Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The author looks beyond the myth enshrouding one of the absolute masterpieces of Leonardo's genius, and gives us Mona Lisa as an authentic and living woman. With his engaging and casual style, he has reconstructed her personal and historical dimension. The revelation of the mysterious identity of the model, hidden up until now and object of the most disparate and far-fetched hypotheses, certainly takes nothing away from the enigmatic quality of that "smile". It becomes even more fascinating to us after we have been immersed in the world of her affections and read her husband's will, palpably imbued with a genuine love for his "cherished wife". The beauty of her spirit now seems even more radiant than the external beauty eternalized by Leonardo.
The 14th century in Italian art is a very rich one, and Professor White's book gives architecture equal weight with painting and sculpture. The story of the Gothic style and the prehistory of the Renaissance is given: all the facts are related, but also the works of art are described with insight and for their own sakes, and not simply as data for fitting into schemes and theories. Among the great names are those of Arnolfo di Cambio, the Pisani, Cavallini, Cimabue, Duccio, Giotto, Simone Martini, and the Lorenzetti; among the buildings S. Croce, S. Maria Novella, the cathedral and the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, and the cathedrals of Siena, Orvieto, and Milan, as well as churches, castles, and civic buildings from the Val d'Aosta to Sicily. The third edition of this work includes colour illustrations and incorporates textual revisions and an updated bibliography.