NetGalley Top Reviewer

NetGalley Top Reviewer
NetGalley Top Reviewer

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Ugly Renaissance by Alexander Lee

4.0 out of 5 stars
" is only by appreciating the seamier, grittier side of the Renaissance that the extent of its cultural achievements really becomes clear."

Ah, what I never knew about life in Italy during the explosion of art, architecture, poetry, and literature that became known as the "rebirth" or Renaissance. What a time that must have been with social unrest, religious fervor and persecution, as well as an alarming political scene with murder and money seemingly the driving force behind the masterpieces created by some of the most famous names in art history. I found this book absolutely fascinating and must confess extremely enlightening. I'm sure anyone who majored in the arts studied this material in college, but since I was focused on science, I actually never knew much about the lives of the people who created these beautiful works. Thus, while reading, I had to have the internet handy to look up names and make the connections to events and references described in this book.

I thought the book's premise and supporting evidence well presented and I learned something new on nearly every page. The author's exhaustive research is documented and cross referenced and I liked the writer's style. Although I recognized most of the names of the significant people, I was fascinated by the sordid details that definitely took away the glamour that I had imagined existed in that world. I see those works in a completely different way now.

I'd highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the Renaissance period and think it would make for a great resource for art history. I will keep my copy handy as I make future visits to the art galleries I love to frequent now that I know the real story behind the masterpieces.
Amazon Vine and NetGalley e-book ARC to review.

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