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The Art of Florence [2 volumes] Hardcover – Box set, May 1, 1999

4.8 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Florence is the city of Michelangelo, Leonardo, Dante, Masaccio, Botticelli, Giotto, Cellini and Machiavelli. This mammoth, two-volume survey lets one trace the shifting styles of Florentine painting, sculpture and architecture amid crosscurrents of political turmoil, Renaissance thought, princely patronage, commerce, wars, plague. It would be hard to match this opulent set for comprehensive detail or wealth of illustration. Among the 1553 plates (nearly half in color) are photographs, sketches, plans and hundreds of full-page reproductions. The text is designed to appeal to lay readers as well as to specialists. It brings Renaissance giants down to human proportions as it follows the rise of Florence from mercantile center to militant republic and to its late 16th-century decline foreshadowed by mannerism in the arts. The authors are art professors--Andres and Hunisak at Middlebury College, Turner at NYU; photographer Okamura's credits include The Vatican Frescoes of Michelangelo.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

This expensive and elaborate set, replete with a wealth of excellent photographs, presents the art of Renaissance Florence in two beautiful, oversized volumes. Along with this visual feast comes a substantial and well-written chronological account of Florentine architecture, sculpture, and painting from 1200 to 1600. Basic historical and political background is incorporated into the text, making it informative and accessible to students and others with no prior knowledge of Italian Renaissance art or history. Although not a full history of Italian Renaissance art because of its limitation to one city, and lacking full scholarly apparatus (publication histories, dimensions of some works, etc.), this work will delight students, travelers, and general readers as well as specialists.
- Kathryn W. Finkelstein, M.Ln., Cincinnati
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1312 pages
  • Publisher: Artabras; Slp edition (May 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0896601110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0896601116
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 12.2 x 15 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 24.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,077,732 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This magnificent two volume book is a rare combination of outstanding substantive scholarship and state of the art photography. If you are looking for a light-weight book--physically or intellectually--this is not the book for you. Rather, the book provides a comprehensive history of Florence, both art history and political history, by noted scholars. The illustrations are lavish and compare extremely favorably with other art books in our library that illustrate the art treasures of Florence. Given the length of the book and the quality of the illustrations, the price is reasonable. The book can be enjoyed by the armchair traveler as well as by the tourist.
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Format: Hardcover
This is one of those books I wish I could give six or even seven starts. This is not only a book about great art; it is itself a beautiful work of art. The care lavished in making this book shows from the beautifully decorated slipcase to the wonderfully textured covers (my kids say they feel furry), to its large format and glorious reproductions. There are many foldouts showing large-scale works in broad sweep and even full-page reproductions of details of works shown in the book.
While the artwork shown is dazzling to the eye and overwhelming to the mind, the articles illuminating the works are first rate as well. One really nice feature of the articles is that there are marginal listings of the plates and figures discussed in each paragraph so it is easy to find text related to the images in which you are interested.
There are two volumes and over 1,300 pages. Volume 1 begins with a brief essay on Florence's prelude to greatness (59 B.C. 0 A.D. 1200). Then the book is organized into sections of varying size: Civic Price and Prosperity (1200 - 1340), An Age of Crisis (1340-1400), Images of a Free Republic (The Early 15th Century), and The Era of Cosimo De' Medici (1430-69). Volume two has: Lorenzo Il Magnifico (1469-92), The End of the Republic (1492-1530, and ends with The Medicean Principate (1530 - c. 1600). Each of these larger sections is organized in the same way - Architecture, then sculpture, and then painting. It is quite fascinating to watch how tastes and techniques evolve over the centuries.
There is also a glossary, bibliography, a section on the photographer and authors, an index and photo credits.
This isn't a book you will likely read from beginning to end. It is almost an ocean you will want to spend time exploring for years in order to take in all that it has to offer. It is almost impossible to not take away something new every time you open its magnificent pages. This is a real treasure for your library. I know is one in mine.
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Format: Hardcover
Clearly this publication was a newsworthy event when it was first issued, garnering praise from the New York Times Book Review andthe Washington Post alike. Now these magnificent slipcased volumes are making news once again.Nothing else has changed about this popular monument of scholarly and publishing history and winner of the prestigious Prix Vasari in France. Matching an elegant and sophisticated text by three leading art historians with more than 700 glorious color photographs and another 854 duotones and architectural drawings, The Art of Florence immerses us in the creative life of the city that gave birth to the Renaissance.
This important and uncommonly beautiful publication gracefully links the city's architecture, sculpture, and painting to its rich social fabric and dramatic political life. The Art of Florence is truly a masterpiece...
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Format: Hardcover
Talk about magnificently beautiful! THE ART OF FLORENCE does full justice to its subject -- and it's a lot cheaper than plane fare to Italy.
The last time I was in Italy I witnessed three muggings, one in the Church of Santa Maria Novella, and those experiences were so unnerving that I couldn't fully concentrate on the loveliness of the many treasures before me. I barely remember any of them. So what a delight to discover so many of them in stunning full-color plates, to be enjoyed again and again in the comfort and safety of my own home.
The dual volume book is divided into historical sections of about a generation each in length. Each begins with a lucid account of the history of the city during that period with emphasis on the political, social and economic events that influenced the patronage of art at that time. There are separate accounts of the architecture, sculpute and painting done in each period. A rich and exciting interplay unfolds between the arts, the politics and the social structure of each time period. No wonder Florence was the artistic and political leader for all of Europe during the 13th through 16th centuries.
The authors confine themselves to Florentine artists or those who lived for some time in Florence. References to other artists, when necessary, are minimal. Michaelangelo, for instance, is discussed only in terms of the Dona Madonna, since it is the only painting of his in the city. His limning of the Sistine Chapel in Rome is mentioned only in passing.
These two volumes are special -- so special they'll draw you to the reading chair even when the siren of Spring calls through your window.
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Format: Hardcover
An amazing book! Elegant, informative, photos and history that just won't quit. The only downside is that this book (there are 2 volumes actually) is so large it is hard to manage. I got a copy for my 10 year old granddaughter for a trip we are taking this Summer. She has been dazzled and is working her way through (finding the photos that attract and then diving into the chapter text). It has also become an addiction for me. If you are going to Florence, get this book and read it!!
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