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The Ugly Renaissance by Alexander Lee
  

Sue Baker's view...

Alexander Lee reveals the dark underside of Renaissance Florence. Life was short, violence prevalent, corruption, overt religiosity and dubious business men all too obvious. Look beyond the Art that now remains to us to a sordid and rapacious city – and yet..... a very interesting look at Art, the artists and their patrons.

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Who is Sue Baker

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Historian Alexander Lee delves into the fascinatingly seedier side of the Renaissance, exploring the effects of plague, misfortune and unrest on a society rich with extremes of wealth and poverty, genius and cruelty. A family that has fascinated for centuries, the Medicis epitomise the hypocrisy of compromised religion and politics. Their story reveals the intricacies of Renaissance society, and the links between money, status and power. A theme throughout the book is the fate of artists such as Michelangelo, and the compromises necessary in order to gain commissions from patrons.
~ The Good Book Guide

Synopsis

The Ugly Renaissance by Alexander Lee

Featuring the beauties of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, combined with the dark and hidden side of the Renaissance, by an acclaimed historian and expert in the period. Renowned as an age of artistic rebirth, the Renaissance is cloaked with an aura of beauty and brilliance. But behind the Mona Lisa's smile lurked a seamy, vicious world of power politics, perversity and corruption that has more in common with the present day than anyone dares to admit. Enter a world of corrupt bankers, greedy politicians, sex-crazed priests, rampant disease, and lives of extravagance and excess. Enter the world of the ugly Renaissance. Uncovering the hidden realities beneath the surface of the period's best-known artworks, historian Alexander Lee takes the reader on a breathtaking and unexpected journey through the Italian past and shows that, far from being the product of high-minded ideals, the sublime monuments of the Renaissance were created by flawed and tormented artists who lived in an ever-expanding world of bigotry and hatred. The only question is: Will you ever see the Renaissance in quite the same way again?


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Reviews

'Highly enlightening and excel-lently written ... ef-fortlessly combining scholarly depth with a highly accessible style ... Lee has given us a Renaissance that is perhaps uglier, but infinitely more interesting.' New Humanist


About the Author

Alexander Lee is a fellow in the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance at the University of Warwick. A specialist in the history of the Italian Renaissance, he completed his first two degrees at Trinity College, University of Cambridge, before proceeding to undertake his doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh. He has previously held positions at the Universita degli studi di Bergamo and the Universite du Luxembourg. He the author of numerous studies on the Italian Renaissance, including, most recently, Petrarch and St. Augustine: Classical Scholarship, Christian Theology, and the Origins of the Renaissance in Italy (2012), and is currently working on a study of humanistic concepts of empire in the fourteenth century.

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Book Info

Publication date

28th August 2014

Author

Alexander Lee

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Publisher

Arrow Books Ltd an imprint of Cornerstone

Format

Paperback
640 pages

Categories

History
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European history
Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700

ISBN

9780099579472

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