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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificent Achievement, January 26, 2013
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This review is from: Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 (Hardcover)
This volume was published to accompany the exhibition of the same name at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles (until February 2013) and at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto (March to June 2013). It is not strictly a catalogue of the exhibition, as it contains reproductions of works that were not exhibited (some of them very important, like the famous scenes of the Apocalypse by the Master of the Erbach Panels). It is a big book (426 pages), sumptuously designed and lavishly illustrated with reproductions of excellent color and clarity; the jacket text says there are more than 200 reproductions, many of which are full-page. The only comparable book, to my knowledge, is "Painting and Illumination in Early Renaissance Florence, 1300-1450," the catalogue of the major Metropolitan Museum exhibition in the winter of l994-95, and, although far narrower in scope and focus, the current book greatly surpasses the earlier volume in both the quantity and quality of its illustrations. At the same time, it updates all the relevant research and scholarship, which have been surprisingly productive in the intervening score of years. The book aims to provide a more than usually nuanced picture of the visual arts in the very early days of the Florentine Renaissance by concentrating on the complementary nature and connections between manuscript illumination and panel painting and on the many artists who practiced in both media. At the center is the undeservedly neglected figure of Pacino di Bonaguida (fl. 1303-ca. 1347), the most popular illuminator of the time and also an accomplished panel painter, in fact one of the first Italian artists to achieve equal renown in both arts. Even though Pacino is recognized as "the virtual hero of this volume," (19) there is also much of Pacino's better known contemporaries, Giotto, Daddi, Gaddi, et. al., and their schools and workshops, and the various "Masters of the . . . ," whose styles are recognized even though their names are unknown.

The book is divided into five thematic areas, each introduced by one or more prefatory essays followed by signed entries on the objects of the exhibition and the copious attendant illustrations. "Painting and Illumination in Early Trecento Florence" is a general overview; "Devotional Art" treats religious panel paintings and liturgical manuscripts; "Painting and Narrative" deals with non-liturgical material, emphasizing the illumination of copies of Dante's "Divine Comedy," which became something of a minor industry in Florence at the time; "The Laudario of Sant'Agnese" presents the luxury manuscript of that compilation of songs illustrated by Pacino and the Master of the Dominican Effigies, a project which Christine Sciacca, who curated the exhibition and edited the catalogue, calls "the most beautifully executed and ambitiously designed" work of all those considered (219); and "Technical Studies: The Early Florentine Workshop" again highlights Pacino, with essays on his workshop, his techniques, and the scientific analysis of his materials and practices. The volume concludes with twenty-one pages of references that amount to a specialized bibliography of the subject (and indicate the depth and breadth of the contributors' knowledge) and comprehensive indexes of names, titles, and works of art. This is a very important contribution to our understanding of early Florentine art. I found almost all of the essays to be highly informative and very well written, and each of the entries on the art works is a concentrated review of the current state of the relevant scholarship. Much of that is necessarily centered around issues of attribution and dating, which some readers may find tedious, but which is the sort of fundamental discussion that underlies our perceptions of the art. This is an expensive book and probably not for someone with only a casual interest in early Renaissance art, but it is the type of thing that comes around only rarely, and more die-hard aficionados will find it a welcome addition to their libraries.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fabulous publication, January 8, 2013
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Ivor E. Zetler (Sydney Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 (Hardcover)
This beautiful book is a catalog of an important exhibition held at the Getty Museum. Richly illustrated with over 200 items which include 7 panels by Giotto as well as works by Daddi and Gaddi. Additionally there are 9 panels by an obscure artist Pacino de Bonaguida who was active in Florence from 1303 to 1340. de Bonaguida was a prolific illustrator and this exhibition features all the surviving leaves of his great work "Laudano of Sant'Agnese". There are also numerous examples of other illuminations by this and other artists as well as some illustrations of stained glass panels from this period.

The art works featured in this volume are generally of very high quality and beauty. Most seem to be in a good state of preservation. If you are attracted to the artistic creative output of this era I urge the prospective purchaser to acquire a copy of this outstanding publication. The general printing quality and accuracy of the color reproductions is very satisfactory.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring marvel, February 24, 2013
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This review is from: Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 (Hardcover)
Excellent printing quality, great pictures, awesome paintings. Perhaps some texts are not so interesting, dealing with owners and dates. No formal analysis. But it's typical of today's art texts.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A scholarly exposition, January 6, 2013
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This review is from: Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 (Hardcover)
Mostly concentrates on Pacino Di Bonaguida, but much detail on Giotto, Daddi and the Sienna - Florence interaction during the Trecento.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Florence at the dawn of the Renaissance; painting and illumination, April 5, 2014
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This review is from: Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 (Hardcover)
It is a very beautiful book. I saw only the pictures and read few lines. To those who like the Renaissance art in Florence, should have this book.
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Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350
Florence at the Dawn of the Renaissance: Painting and Illumination, 1300-1350 by Christine Sciacca (Hardcover - December 11, 2012)
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