The Ugly Renaissance

The Ugly Renaissance

Sex, Greed, Violence and Depravity in An Age of Beauty

Book - 2014
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A fascinating and counterintuitive portrait of the sordid, hidden world behind the dazzling artwork of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and more 

Renowned as a period of cultural rebirth and artistic innovation, the Renaissance is cloaked in a unique aura of beauty and brilliance. Its very name conjures up awe-inspiring images of an age of lofty ideals in which life imitated the fantastic artworks for which it has become famous. But behind the vast explosion of new art and culture lurked a seamy, vicious world of power politics, perversity, and corruption that has more in common with the present day than anyone dares to admit.
     In this lively and meticulously researched portrait, Renaissance scholar Alexander Lee illuminates the dark and titillating contradictions that were hidden beneath the surface of the period's best-known artworks. Rife with tales of scheming bankers, greedy politicians, sex-crazed priests, bloody rivalries, vicious intolerance, rampant disease, and lives of extravagance and excess, this gripping exploration of the underbelly of Renaissance Italy shows that, far from being the product of high-minded ideals, the sublime monuments of the Renaissance were created by flawed and tormented artists who lived in an ever-expanding world of inequality, dark sexuality, bigotry, and hatred.
      The Ugly Renaissance is a delightfully debauched journey through the surprising contradictions of Italy's past and shows that were it not for the profusion of depravity and degradation, history's greatest masterpieces might never have come into being.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, 2014.
Copyright Date: ©2013.
ISBN: 9780385536592
Characteristics: xii, 433 pages, 16 pages of plates :,colour illustrations, map, colour portraits ;,25 cm.


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magictouch Apr 10, 2015

Starting with a seemingly trivial but intriguing focus of Michaelangelo's broken nose, Alexander Lee did his homework to give readers a wide scope of Renaissance in context. As a result, readers were carried away with a sensational and immersive experience of people-watching in the streets and corners of Florence during the Renaissance.

Mar 31, 2015

This is a highly detailed review of Italy, centered in Florence, during the Renaissance. It thoroughly discusses Michelangelo, other artists, patrons, civic and religious leaders during the period, as well as daily life for all segments of society.
Fascinating study, with almost an over-abundance of examples and references. This book provides an excellent review of the period and I highly recommend it.

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