This authoritative study by a distinguished scholar presents a brilliant panorama of Italian Renaissance life, explaining how and why the period constituted a cultural revolution. Author Jacob Burckhardt chronicles the transition from the medieval concept of society as a conglomeration of classes and communities to the Renaissance focus on individual spirit and creativity. Burckhardt's comprehensive view of art, government, and aspects of daily life redefined both the Western world's understanding of the Italian Renaissance and future studies of cultural history.
Historian Hajo Holborn praised this survey as "the greatest single book on the history of Italy between 1350 and 1550." First published in German in 1860, its exploration of art, fashions, manners, and philosophy traces the influences of classical antiquity on Michelangelo, Leonardo, the Medicis, and other thinkers and artists. As alive today as when it was written 150 years ago, this indispensable study chronicles the revival of humanism, the conflict between church and empire, and the rise of both the modern state and the modern individual.