After a thousand years of magic and mysticism, the Renaissance re-kindled the desire of mankind to understand themselves and the world around them. This volume examines the Renaissance, its myths, its pioneers and its remarkable legacy.
All this is done with great sweeping gestures and the book is beautifully illustrated with over 130 images. However, Graham-Dixon's fascination with tracing the Classical past throughout Renaissance art and his obsession with the belief that "It was not just the image of man, but an idea of man, that the Renaissance put at the centre of our world" becomes repetitious. His approach has also been seriously revised and even discredited by recent studies of the period. Where is the influence that the Ottoman court had upon forming taste between 1450 and 1550? Where is the impact of the discovery of the New World and seaborne expansion upon applied arts such as tapestry, not to mention Iberian architecture? For the general reader, however, Graham-Dixon's Renaissance is a useful, if conservative introduction to this period.