Florence is justly named the 'cradle of the renaissance'. It was here that, inspired by the revival of interest in classical antiquity, fuelled by civic pride and fostered by the wealthy Medici family, a visual language was created that was to be spoken across Europe for centuries to come. The new style was spearheaded in the early 1400s by the sculptors Donatello and Ghiberti, the architect Brunelleschi and the painter Masaccio. At its heart was an interest in the realistic depiction of the human figure, based on direct observation from life, and the inventive reuse of Antique forms. It was an era of intense creativity and astonishing potential, with new techniques and skills contributing to its remarkable achievements, notably Brunelleschi's Dome and Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise.
In this explosion of artistic talent, it was sculptors who frequently led the way - not only Ghiberti, who revived the art of large-scale bronze casting, but the genius Donatello, whose inventive design, expressive range and technical versatility are unparalleled. Masaccio translated Donatello's inventions into paint; in the next generation, the sculptors Luca della Robbia and Desiderio da Settignano, and the painters Paolo Uccello and Filippo Lippi, elaborated these ideas.
The Springtime of the Renaissance, Sculpture and the Arts in Florence 1400-1460, exhibition comes to Florence's Palazzo Strozzi before moving to the Louvre in Paris. The exhibition's main focus is on masterpieces of sculpture, arranged around Brunelleschi's Cupola for Santa Maria del Fiore.
The exhibition follows development and influences from monumental sculptures by the likes of Donatello, Ghiberti, Nanni di Banco and Michelozzo, painting by artists such as Masaccio, Paolo Uccello, Andrea del Castagno and Filippo Lippi, and the impact on the political and spiritual mood of the city. Other elements include the development of perspective in bas-relief work, a taste for 'new beauty' and new commissions in places of worship, and the transition to the private patronage of the powerful Medici family.
This beautiful exhibition catalogue encompasses the exhibition through over 200 images.