This revival of a famous Phaidon series brings together in an elegant format some of the best-known writings of renowned artists, critics and interpreters of our cultural tradition. Each book, an acknowledged classic, provides insights not only into the worlds of the arts and cultural history, but also into the creative and intellectual preoccupations of its author and his time. These Phaidon editions have an introduction and notes by a distinguished editor and a wide range of illustrations specially chosen to complement the text.
was a scholar who had the gift of being able to combine vast knowledge with a vivid imagination and lively creativity. This book, his contribution to cultural history, was first published in 1860, and has long been recognized as a great work of literature as well as history; its range, powerful style, and breadth of vision make it a classic introduction to the study of the Renaissance, and one that is still a source of inspiration. "My starting point has to be a vision,' Burckhardt wrote to a friend, `otherwise I cannot do anything. Vision I call not only optical, but also spiritual realization; for instance, historical vision issuing from the old sources." The work covers the period from the birth of Dante to the death of Michelangelo, and is divided into six sections, covering politics, the rise of individualism, the revival of antiquity, science and humanism, society and festivals, and morality and religion. However, these headings do not do justice to the text, nor to the skill with which the author controls his material and unfolds his vision of the developing Renaissance.
Within this framework the author gives an account of a whole range of subjects - from literature and the arts to home life, fashion, and superstition - illuminating all aspects of life in the Renaissance.
Burckhardt was professor of history and the history of art at the University of Basel, and was a mentor to Friedrich Nietzsche.