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Earthly Delights

A History of the Renaissance

Jonathan Jones



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Thames & Hudson
19 October 2023
A Sunday Times Art Book of the Year: written by one of the UK's foremost art critics, this new narrative history of the Renaissance takes in the whole of Europe and its global context.

What was the 'Renaissance'? In the nineteenth century this flowering of creativity and thought was celebrated as the birth of the modern world. Today many historians are sceptical about its very existence. Earthly Delights rekindles the Renaissance as a seismic change in European mentalities, in a panoramic history that encompasses Florence and Bruges, London and Nuremberg. Artists from northern as well as southern Europe, including Leonardo, Bosch, Bruegel and Titian, star in a captivating and beautifully illustrated narrative that sets their lives against a period of convulsive change across a continent that was finding itself as it 'discovered' the world.

Art critic and writer Jonathan Jones tells the story of Renaissance artists as pioneers, adventurers and 'geniuses', a Renaissance concept. Albrecht Dürer gazes with wonder on Aztec art in Brussels in 1520, Leonardo da Vinci tries to perfect a flying machine, Hieronymus Bosch finds inspiration in West African ivory carvings imported by the Portuguese to Antwerp. A then unknown Netherlandish painter, Pieter Bruegel, arrives in 1550s Rome just as Michelangelo is striving in the same city to raise the new St Peter's Basilica towards heaven. From Atlantic voyages to Germanic woods, Italian palazzi to the royal castle of Prague, this was an age when people dared to experiment with the occult and dabble in utopias: to think and create new worlds.
Imprint:   Thames & Hudson
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 246mm,  Width: 186mm, 
Weight:   1.140kg
ISBN:   9780500023136
ISBN 10:   0500023131
Pages:   336
Publication Date:  
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Jonathan Jones is the art critic for the Guardian newspaper. He is the author of several books including The Lost Battles: Leonardo, Michelangelo and the Artistic Duel that Defined the Renaissance (2010), The Loves of the Artists: Art and Passion in the Renaissance (2013), Sensations: The Story of British Art from Hogarth to Banksy (2019) and Artemisia Gentileschi (2020). Jones was also a member of the jury for the 2009 Turner Prize and has appeared in the BBC series Private Life of a Masterpiece.

Reviews for Earthly Delights: A History of the Renaissance

'Jonathan Jones has reimagined the Renaissance for our times in a beautifully written love letter to the art of Leonardo, Bosch, Dürer, Titian, Michelangelo and so many others ... it is a tale of artistic innovation and exchange in a world of sex, piety, revolution and discovery. From Van Eyck to Caravaggio, each page makes new connections and offers brilliant revelations about works we thought we knew, but which appear anew under Jones’ period gaze. His love of the art of the period is passionate and infectious: a superb achievement' - Jerry Brotton, author of 'The Renaissance Bazaar' 'One of the most compelling and widely read critics of our time … Jones deftly side-steps the great morass of scholarly verbiage that has built up around this pivotal era, and goes straight to the works of art themselves. We stand at his shoulder as some of the greatest paintings and sculptures of all time reveal their meanings to him - and to us. The result is a highly readable book that makes an extraordinary, but now distant period of human history feel fresh, immediate and very relevant to now. And not least through Jones's own unquenchable passion for his subject' - Mark Hudson, art critic and author of 'Titian, The Last Days' 'The author surveys a wide range of artists and key paintings, providing his own perspective on masterpieces such as Donatello’s Judith and Holofernes (1455-60) sculpture in Florence' - Art Newspaper 'A pearl of a book, a delight to read, full of language and ideas that form a tumbling elegy to the “eruption of curiosity” of the age' - Anna Keays, The Times

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