Brilliant Discourse

Pictures and Readers in Early Modern Rome

Evelyn Lincoln

View Inside Price: $65.00


May 6, 2014
304 pages, 7 1/2 x 10
10 color + 120 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300204193
Cloth

Sixteenth-century Roman presses turned out hundreds of technical treatises and learned discourses written in the vernacular. Covering topics as diverse as the cultivation of silkworms, the lives of the saints, and the order of the cosmos, they made esoteric knowledge accessible to a broad spectrum of readers. Many of these books were illustrated with beautiful etchings, engravings, or woodcuts, and some were written in the form of theatrical and engaging dialogues. For writers, publishers, printers, and artists, bringing such books into the world changed the lives of those involved in their production. The process of publication, a risky business in itself, forged lively social networks centered on making and reading these treatises.
 
Brilliant Discourse follows the story of the Roman illustrated book from the printed page back out to the Renaissance streets, piazzas, palaces, convents, and bookshops where these expensive publications, carefully shepherded through the press, acted in the real world to create lively communities of readers and viewers.
Evelyn Lincoln is professor of the history of art and architecture and Italian studies at Brown University.

'Evelyn Lincoln’s lucid, imaginative, and well-researched volume provides reassurance. . .because she has found a significant niche in which the material object and the cultural object are inextricable. . .The illustrated book becomes, in the figurative if not the literal sense, a work in three dimensions. Which in the end is true of Brilliant Discourse itself, a beautifully produced volume with a richly multivalent interplay of picture and word.'—Leonard Barkan, Art Newspaper

'Evelyn Lincoln’s lucid, imaginative, and well-researched volume provides reassurance. . .because she has found a significant niche in which the material object and the cultural object are inextricable. . .The illustrated book becomes, in the figurative if not the literal sense, a work in three dimensions. Which in the end is true of Brilliant Discourse itself, a beautifully produced volume with a richly multivalent interplay of picture and word.'—Leonard Barkan, Art Newspaper