A New History of Italian Renaissance Art || Stephen J Campbell & Michael W Cole

Art, you would think, is art and, having examined it, there would not be much more to say. However, scholarship finds new approaches and details. Interpretations change, sometimes significantly, over time. All this is a way of saying that a second edition of even the most thorough survey is often necessary and always welcome. In the present case, a great deal of material has been added, discussions with specialists have been had and the scope of the book considerably expanded.

I cannot claim to be much more than an observer in this field and will therefore take on trust the authors’ statements in their preface. Revisions to layout, inclusion of new material, especially an appendix detailing materials and techniques are things that can be welcomed without requiring specialist knowledge oneself.

That this is thorough can be in no doubt. At over 700 generously-sized pages and with 850 illustrations (whose quality cannot be faulted) , it covers three centuries with a scholarship that the authors wear lightly. If you want a definitive work, this would be it, but it will also suit the less deeply-involved art lover without leaving them feeling alone in a sea of learning.

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