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Unearthing the Past: Archaeology and Aesthetics in the Making of Renaissance Culture [Paperback]

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Item Number 159439  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   464
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.94" Width: 6.86" Height: 0.98"
Weight:   2.4 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Apr 1, 2001
Publisher   Yale University Press
ISBN  0300089112  
EAN  9780300089110  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
In this rich and engaging book, Leonard Barkan tells the full cultural story of the emergence into daylight of the artworks of antiquity that had lain beneath Roman ground for more than a thousand years. As discovery and rebirth became literal daily narratives in the fifteenth century, Barkan shows, Renaissance conceptions of art, art history, aesthetics, and historiography were transformed.

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More About Professor Leonard Barkan

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Leonard Barkan is the Class of 1943 University Professor of Comparative Literature at Princeton University. His books include "Michelangelo: A Life on Paper" (Princeton); "Unearthing the Past: Archaeology and Aesthetics in the Making of Renaissance Culture"; The Gods Made Flesh: Metamorphosis and the Pursuit of Paganism; and "Satyr Square: A Year, a Life in Rome."

Leonard Barkan currently resides in the state of New York.

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Product Categories
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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Lots of good information, but really lacks focus.  Nov 2, 2000
The book promises a really focused study of the effect of Roman art on the development of the Renaissance artist, but I failed to find this. Although there is a lot of really interesting information about Roman art and Renaissance art, there is an emphasis on information as opposed to knowledge or understanding.

The book tends to be focused, but not always on the topic at hand. For example, the section titled "Artists" is almost exclusively about Bandinelli, with an occasional aside to Michelangelo, and Botticelli appears to be non existent. This tends to be typical of the book where the focus on detailed knowledge tends to destroy any attempt to impart understanding.

The style is dry and the use of Latin ( and on one occasion French ) terms throughout the text does not add to readability. This reflects the assumption that the reader has a thorough understanding of both Renaissance and Roman art. As such it is really a book aimed exclusively at an academic audience, which is a pity because the information presented is significant.

There is one really beautifully written passage where the author describes the joy of living in Rome, and how new works of art were being discovered near his hotel. Unfortunately, he never really imparts this sense of wonder anywhere in the book, and that is a pity of the book. The joy and wonder of Michelangelo being present at the discovery of the Laocoon sadly is lost in an inventory of historical facts.

History is the continual "rediscovery" of the past  Sep 13, 2000
For those of us who first view the Forum in Rome, the crumbling structures of the Palatine Hill, and the many other rich fragments of a (then-known) world-spanning empire, the discontinuity is perhaps the greatest shock of first encounter. Gibbon,unlike us, who observed the barefoot friars of Christianity moving through its remains, had a synoptic and often mordant view of what those fragments of imperial glory represented, one that is difficult for us to comprehend because we do not bring his sensibility and contemporary understanding to the task. Imagine, then, what puzzles and wonders the remains of the Roman world, not to mention the Hellenic, presented to those earlier on in the Renaissance who unearthed those monuments, sculptures, and glories which had been razed and plundered in ages past-- and used, literally, as convient building materials. Attempts to understand what those remains signified, the culture of which they were emblematic, have been part of a continuous, fascinating effort from the 15th century up to the present day. How those concrete "clues" were to be read and used to reconstruct the life, realities and values of the classical, ancient world of the West is a question that has faced Popes and artists, scholars and speculators right up to the present day. Like the German and British scholars of the 18th and 19th centuries, we continue to employ such unearthed evidence to justify our imagining of what "Rome" was. Our imaginings tell us as much about ourselves as they do about that cruel and enlightened, economically foredoomed and incredibly ambitious accretion of post-Etruscan civilization. I can't do justice to Barkan's subtle exploration of how a particular "present" uses the past for its own ends. This is truly the work of a scholar adventurer, a trip to the Greco-Roman (inextricably intertwined) past that can be taken on the wings of his scholarship and vision. By the way, if you go there, take Barkan and avoid Alitalia. The food is terrible and the seats worthy of the Inquisition.

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