Renaissance Faces

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Van Eyck to Titian

Lorne Campbell, Miguel Falomir, Jennifer Fletcher, and Luke Syson

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This comprehensive survey traces the development of portrait painting in Northern and Southern Europe during the Renaissance, when the genre first flourished. These two regions developed their own distinct styles and techniques but were also influenced by one another in fascinating ways. In essays that focus on the intriguing relationship between artists working in Italy and northern Europe, renowned specialists analyze the notion of likeness––which, during this time, was based not only on accurate reference for posterity but also incorporated all aspects of human life, including propaganda, power, courtship, love, family, ambition, and hierarchy––through magnificent works by artists including Giovanni Bellini, Sandro Botticelli, Lucas Cranach, Albrecht Dürer, Jan van Eyck, Leonardo da Vinci, and Titian, among many others.

The authors address different portrait types, styles, techniques, and iconographies, and discuss the connections between painting and sculpture and portrait medals. This stunning book also addresses the evolution of the full-length portrait and the “anti-ideal” in counter-portraits, which depict court jesters and dwarves. In these often satirical representations, painters could show off their skills as recorders of likeness without the restrictions imposed by idealization. 

Lorne Campbell is Beaumont Senior Research Curator and Luke Syson is curator of Italian paintings 1460–1500 at the National Gallery, London. Miguel Falomir is head curator of Italian Renaissance painting at the Museo Nacional del Prado. Jennifer Fletcher was until recently senior lecturer at the Courtauld Institute.



National Gallery, London

Museo Nacional del Prado

"Handsomely reproduced. As enjoyable an art book as I've opened this season. The illustrations include some of the best work of Raphael, Titian, Holbein."—Robert Fulford, National Post

"Concentrating on the most popular media for portraiture—panel and canvas, sculpture, and medals—the book also includes artists' preliminary sketches. The catalog follows the cross-pollination of ideas and styles both geographically and temporally. The essays by curators and academics are easy to read, well documented with endnotes, and well illustrated with in-text images. . . . Recommended."—Library Journal

“In this lovely book, you find portraits of money lenders, artists, collectors of rare and beautiful objects, courtiers, grandees, marriageable young women and people in their old age … So many of the faces these faces are haunting in their seriousness and sense of life. These are images you take away in your mind long after the book is back on the shelf.” - Richard Edmonds, Birmingham Post

"The entire book was printed in color with high-quality images, making it an important visual resource. . . . An extremely valuable contribution to our understanding of portraiture, Renaissance Faces is highly recommended for students and scholars alike."—Annemarie Sawkins,
ISBN: 9781857094077
Publication Date: March 8, 2011
Publishing Partner: Published by the National Gallery Company/Distributed by Yale University Press
304 pages, 9 1/2 x 12 1/2
190 color illus.
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