Historical Portraiture: Renaissance & Medieval
The Renaissance Portrait: From Donatello to Bellini by Keith Christiansen, Stefan Weppelmann – Hardcover: 432 pages; Metropolitan Museum of Art (Nov 29, 2011)

The essays in The Renaissance Portrait wear their learning lightly; and with admirable brevity explain how the portrait emerged in the Italian 15th century in response to the Renaissance's glorification of the individual. This volume is a splendid complement to a glorious show.”—ARTnews

Pontormo, Bronzino, and the Medici: The Transformation of the Renaissance Portrait in Florence by Carl Brandon Strehlke, Elizabeth Cropper, Mark S. Tucker, Irma Passeri, Ken Sutherland, Beth A. Price – Hardcover: 173 pages; Pennsylvania State University Press (Nov 30, 2004)

Virtue and Beauty: Leonardo's Ginevra de' Benci and Renaissance Portraits of Women by David Alan Brown, Earl A. Powell – Hardcover: 240 pages; Princeton University Press (Oct 1, 2001)

This beautifully illustrated and exquisitely designed volume of paintings, sculpture, medals, and drawings celebrates the extraordinary flowering of female portraiture, mainly in Florence, beginning in the latter half of the fifteenth century.

The Art of the Portrait by Norbert Schneider – Hardcover: 180 pages; Taschen America Llc (Dec 1999)

The Art of the Portrait focuses on about a 200-year period, from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance, during which the genre of painted portraiture flourished.

The Moment of Self-Portraiture in German Renaissance Art by Joseph Leo Koerner – Paperback: 564 pages; University of Chicago Press; 2nd edition (Feb 15, 1997)

The self-portrait has become a model of what art is: the artwork is the image of its maker, and understanding the work means recovering from it an original vision of the artist. In this groundbreaking work, Koerner (fine arts, Harvard U.) analyzes the historical origin of this model in the art of Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) and Hans Baldring Grien (d.1545), the first modern self-portraitist and his principal disciple. By doing so, he develops new approaches to the visual image and to its history in early modern European culture. Includes 220 b&w illustrations and one color plate (the famous 1500 Self-Portrait). Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, OR.

Renaissance Portraits: European Portrait Painting in the 14th, 15th and 16th Centuries by Lorne Campbell – Hardcover: 290 pages; Yale University Press; 1st edition (Sep 10, 1990)

Sprinkling this selected survey with enjoyable anecdotes and historical details, Campbell describes and categorizes portrait painting of the Renaissance, illustrated in 140 black-and-white and 80 color reproductions of good quality featuring such artists as Durer, Holbein, Van Eyck, Raphael, and Titian. In the final chapter, he advocates the supremacy of "Northern" as opposed to Italian Renaissance portraiture because its influences can be seen in the Italians, but he is not convincing. His argument excludes any mention of Alberti, Masaccio, and scores of other artists whose works represent the pursuit of ideal beauty, as important to the Italians as the depiction of the individual, and specifically omits the exquisite devotional paintings of the early Renaissance, which contain many Italian portraits. All told, however, the book presents some valuable material by a knowledgeable source for people studying portrait painting. Recommended for special collections. —Ellen Bates, New York Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Come, Take This Lute: A Quest for Identities in Italian Renaissance Portraiture by E. H. Ramsden – Salem House Academic Division, 1984

The Portrait in the Renaissance: The A. W. Mellon Lectures in the Fine Arts by Sir John Pope-Hennessy, John Wyndham – Paperback: 382 pages; Princeton University Press; Reprint edition (Sep 1, 1979)

Pride and Joy: Children's Portraits in the Netherlands, 1500-1700 by Jan Baptist Bedaux, Rudi Ekkart – Hardcover: 320 pages; Harry N Abrams (Mar 1, 2001)

The artists represented are a veritable who's who of 16th- to 18th-century Dutch painters, with each entry including details of the subject, the artist, the painting's provenance, the subject's costume, and related literature. Though the topic of children in art has been explored, this catalog of 85 paintings examines concepts specific to the Netherlands.

Portraits of the Renaissance by Nathalie Mandel – Hardcover: 128 pages; Assouline Publishing (Oct 1, 2007)

Memling, Van Eyck, Antonello da Messina, Raphael, Holbein, Titian, Leonardo . . . these are the greatest names of the Renaissance which symbolize the ultimate in artistic achievement. Whether Italian, Flemish, or German, all were masters of the portrait, a style that was popular and much appreciated during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. The genius of these artists allowed them to overcome the limits of the genre and inscribe the art of portraiture into the universal history of mankind.

Renaissance Self-Portrait: The Visual Construction of Identity and the Social Status of the Artist by Joanna Woods-Marsden – Hardcover: 288 pages; Yale University Press (Jan 1999)

This lavishly illustrated book is the first to explore the genesis and early development of self portraiture during the Renaissance in Italy. Woods-Marsden argues that artists represented themselves on canvas in an effort to change both the status of art and their own social standing.

The Art of the Portrait: Masterpieces of European Portrait Painting 1420-1670 (Big Series: Art) by Norbert Schneider – Paperback: 180 pages; Taschen (May 1, 1995)

The Art of the Portrait focuses on about a 200-year period, from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance, during which the genre of painted portraiture flourished. For the first time since classical antiquity, interest in and attention to this type of painting grew. As a consequence, new visual types of portraiture—full length, profiles, groups—emerged, and a wider range of subjects (outside the traditional circle of royalty and clergy) was explored in the canvasses, along with psychological and atmospheric elements. During this heyday innumerable masterpieces were painted by a wealth of different artists. But the 19th century, with the advent of photography and impressionism, among other developments, put an abrupt end to the boom.

The Arnolfini Betrothal: Medieval Marriage and the Enigma of Van Eyck's Double Portrait by Edwin Hall – Hardcover: 208 pages; University of California Press; 1st edition (Oct 20, 1994)

Commonly known as the Arnolfini Wedding or Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride Jan van Eyck's double portrait, painted in 1434, is probably the most widely recognized panel painting of the 15th century. One of the great masterpieces of early Flemish art, this enigmatic picture has also aroused intense speculation as to its precise meaning. Edwin Hall's accessible study firmly grounded in Roman and canon law, theology, literature, and the social history of the period offers a compelling new interpretation of this wonderful painting.

Instead of depicting the sacrament of marriage, Hall argues, the painting commemorates the alliance between two wealthy and important Italian mercantile families, a ceremonious betrothal that reflects the social conventions of the time. Hall not only unlocks the mystery that has surrounded this work of art, he also makes a unique contribution to the fascinating history of betrothal and marriage custom, ritual, and ceremony, tracing their evolution from the late Roman Empire through the fifteenth century and providing persuasive visual evidence for their development. His illuminating view of Van Eyck's quintessential work is a striking example of how art continues to endure and engage us over the centuries.

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