The Renaissance Bazaar: From the Silk Road to MichelangeloHardback
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- Publisher: Oxford University Press
- Format: Hardback | 256 pages
- Dimensions: 161mm x 242mm x 23mm | 599g
- Publication date: 19 September 2002
- Publication City/Country: Oxford
- ISBN 10: 0192802682
- ISBN 13: 9780192802682
- Illustrations note: 25 b&w halftones, 8pp colour plates
The Renaissance stands as one of the defining moments in world history. Between 1400 and 1600, European perceptions of society, culture, politics and even humanity itself emerged in ways that continue to affect not only Europe but the rest of the world. This wide-ranging exploration of the Renaissance sees the period as a time of unprecedented intellectual excitement and cultural experimentation and interaction on a global scale. It guides the reader through the key issues that defined the period, from its art, architecture and literature, to its advancements in the fields of science, trade and travel. In its incisive account of the complexities of the political and religious upheavals of the period, the book argues that Europe's reciprocal relationship with its easter neighbours offers a timely perspective on the Renaissance as a moment of global inclusiveness that still has much to teach us today.
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Jerry Brotton is a Lecturer in English at the University of London. He is the author of Trading Territories: Mapping the Early Modern World and Global Interests: Renaissance Art between East and West (with Lisa Jardine).
More than ever before, the Renaissance stands out as one of the defining moments in world history. Between 1400 and 1600 European perceptions of society, culture, politics and even humanity itself emerged in ways that continue to affect not only Europe but the entire world. This wide-ranging exploration of the Renaissance sees the period as a time of unprecedented intellectual excitement and interaction on a global scale, alongside a darker side of religion, intolerance, slavery, and massive inequality of wealth and status. In its incisive account of the complexities of the political and religious upheavals of the period, the book argues that Europe's reciprocal relationship with its eastern neighbours offers us a timely perspective on the Renaissance as a moment of global inclusiveness that still has much to teach us today.
The 'Bazaar' of the title captures the essence of this challenge to the received wisdom of what the European Renaissance was really about. It was a time when Europe started to define itself by emulating the wealth and cultures of the eastern empires, notably the Ottomans, the Persians and the Egyptian Mameluks. The exchanges in the bazaars of the east, the Arabic understanding of astronomy, philosophy and medicine, and the impact of Eastern cultures on mainland Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries call into question the traditional, limited understanding of the Renaissance. Brotton broadens the scope of the survey into one of global renaissance with scholarly authority and a gift for focusing on the significant image, whether a brilliant analysis of Holbein's Ambassadors, Shakespeare's The Comedy of Errors set in an exhilarating and dangerous eastern marketplace, or a reading of the Bellini painting of St Mark preaching in Alexandria, which 'dresses up the contemporary world in the clothes of the past as a way of understanding the present'. Brotton clarifies the darker legacy of the Renaissance too - its use of art and architecture as 'power on display', its polarization of religious positions, which resulted in the persecution of Jewish communities, and the conflation of 'Turk and Protestant' in the Catholic Church condemnation of 'diabolical and heretical opinions', and then its arrogance in dividing the entire world into two - half the globe belonging to Charles V of Castile, and the other half to Portugal. Maps were treated like the precious commodities to which they seemed to promise access, as navigational information became a bargaining counter. A timeline, a further reading list, a comprehensive index and well-chosen and imaginative illustrations are valuable adjuncts to the excellent text, all bringing some sense of order to the sprawling splendour of this time of overwhelming change, when the printing press, eastern banking practices, and ideas of humanism harnessed to conflicting political powers shaped the Renaissance - and also our modern-day world. (Kirkus UK)
Table of contents
Civilising the Renaissance; putting things into perspective; the Renaissance in black and white; different words of God; brave new worlds.