The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy, Third Edition

The Italian Renaissance: Culture and Society in Italy, Third Edition

Peter Burke

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 0691162409

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


In this brilliant and widely acclaimed work, Peter Burke presents a social and cultural history of the Italian Renaissance. He discusses the social and political institutions that existed in Italy during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and he analyses the ways of thinking and seeing that characterized this period of extraordinary artistic creativity.

Developing a distinctive sociological approach, Peter Burke is concerned not only with the finished works of Michelangelo, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci, and others, but also with the social background, patterns of recruitment, and means of subsistence of this 'cultural elite.' He thus makes a major contribution to our understanding of the Italian Renaissance, and to our comprehension of the complex relations between culture and society.

Burke has thoroughly revised and updated the text for this new edition, including a new introduction, and the book is richly illustrated throughout. It will have a wide appeal among historians, sociologists, and anyone interested in one of the most creative periods of European history.

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paid partly in woollen cloth (English as well as Italian) and partly in silver coins minted specially for the purpose. At the beginning of the sixteenth century, 2.5 million pounds of spices came to Venice every year from Alexandria, and 300,000 ducats, besides merchandise, went back in return. The spices were resold to the merchants of Augsburg, Nuremberg and Bruges.78 Secondly, there was the craft-industrial town such as Milan or Florence. Florence was the industrial town par excellence, and

Cambridge University Press, 2000. Craven, W. G., Giovanni Pico della Mirandola, Symbol of his Age. Geneva: Droz, 1981. Crawcour, E. S., ‘Changes in Japanese commerce in the Tokugawa period’, in Studies in the Institutional History of Early Modern Japan, ed. J. W. Hall and M. B. Jansen, pp. 189–202. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1968. Crouzet-Pavan, E., Renaissances italiennes 1380–1500. Paris: Albin Michel, 2007. Crowe, J. A., and G. B. Cavalcaselle, The Life and Times of

whether they married or became nuns, their studies generally came to a premature end.8 Nuns deserve a special mention because the ‘convent culture’ of cities such as Florence, Rome and Venice offered opportunities for writing chronicles, performing in plays, making music and delivering Latin orations as well as needlework and copying manuscripts.9 Even among adult males, however, the creative elite is far from a random sample. It is, for example, geographically biased. If we divide Italy into

question. On the other hand, Italian high culture of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries has lost little if any of its appeal. Indeed, that appeal now extends well beyond Europe and the Americas. The Birth of Venus, the Mona Lisa and the frescoes by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel have never been so well known or so widely admired as they are in our age of global tourism and of the proliferation of images on television and the Internet. What do these changes imply? The conclusion that

took the Greek name Filarete (‘lover of virtue’), wanted the architect to study music and astrology, ‘For when he orders and builds a thing, he should see that it is begun under a good planet and constellation. He also needs music so that he will know how to harmonize the members with the parts of a building.’41 The ideal sculptor, according to Pomponio Gaurico, who wrote a treatise on sculpture as well as practising the art, should be ‘well-read’ (literatus) as well as skilled in arithmetic,

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