Andrea Mantegna as Illuminator; An Episode in Renaissance Art, Humanism, and Diplomacy

Andrea Mantegna as Illuminator; An Episode in Renaissance Art, Humanism, and Diplomacy

Andrea Mantegna as Illuminator; An Episode in Renaissance Art, Humanism, and Diplomacy

Andrea Mantegna as Illuminator; An Episode in Renaissance Art, Humanism, and Diplomacy

Excerpt

The texts of the two manuscripts that are the subject of this book are not unknown to historians. One, a unique copy, has for a long time been noticed by biographers of René of Anjou. The other, usually consulted in more accessible contemporary copies, has always been accorded a prominent place in the history of the recovery, during the Renaissance, of ancient thought. The illumination has fared much less well. At the end of the nineteenth century each manuscript caught the attention of one of the leading historians of French illumination, Henri Martin and Paul Durrieu, and the miniatures (but only the miniatures) were later reproduced in those very useful French compilations, "Les Trésors . . ." or "Les Principaux Manuscrits . . ." So fixed however are the paths we follow that not a word has been devoted to them in the literature of Italian painting or Italian illumination. It was, indeed, only while exploring French painting that the present writer came upon them--like a prospector who, hunting uranium, finds only gold.

So beautiful are these paintings and so considerable their role in the history of Italian art and the Renaissance book that I decided to present them in this little volume only a year after my first study of one of the manuscripts in which they appear. My decision to publish them at this . . .

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