Background Reading & Listening


From everything I've read about the Italian Renaissance, here are some of the books I've dipped into most frequently:

Helping me understand not just what to look at but how to look:

  • Welch, Evelyn,
    Art in Renaissance Italy 1350-1500.
    Oxford History of Art, 2004
  • Baxandall, Michael
    Painting and Experience In C15th Italy: A Primer in the Social History of Pictorial Style.
    Oxford University Press, 1988

To be inspired - and to look again:

  • Hills, Paul
    Venetian Colour: Marble, Mosaic, Painting and Glass 1250-1550.
    Yale University Press, 1999

To read the experts on the individual artists:

  • Ballarin, Alessandro, Enricana, Giuliana
    Jacopo Bassano and The Miraculous Trick of the Eye.
    Mondadori Electa, 2011
  • Salomon, Xavier F.
    National Gallery of Art London, 2014
  • Hale, Sheila
    Titian: His Life and The Golden Age Of Venice.
    HarperPress, 2012

And to get a real sense of the texture of daily life:

  • Fortini Brown,Patricia
    Private Lives in Renaissance Venice.
    Yale University Press, 2004
  • Pullan, Brian S.
    Rich and Poor in Renaissance Venice.
    Harvard University Press 1971
  • Ajmar-Wollheim, Marta
    At Home in Renaissance Italy: The Italian House 1400-1600.
    V and A Publications, London 2006
  • Hollingsworth, Mary
    The Cardinal's Hat: Money, Ambition and Housekeeping in a Renaissance Court.
    Profile Books, 2004

I don't always play music when I'm writing. If possible, I like the door to the garden open and the sound of birdsong in my ears. But when I do, it'll be something sixteenth century, preferably Italian. Here are some favourites:

  • Venetian Easter Mass by the Gabrieli Consort and Players, conductor Paul McCreesh - Deutsche Gramophone 1997
  • A Venetian Christmas: Music by G. Gabrieli and de Rore by the Gabrieli Consort and Players - Deutsche Gramophone 2001
  • The Glory Of Venice: Music by Willaert, A. Gabrieli, Merulo and de Rore by Concordia, conductor Mark Levy ‎– Metronome Recordings: BBC MM229 2003
  • Music of the Renaissance - River Records 1999
  • Music of the Italian Renaissance for voice, lute and Renaissance guitar, Shirley Rumsey - HNH International 1994
  • Adrian Willaert by Cinquecento Vokal - Hyperion 2010
  • Adrian Willaert: Ricercari da Musica Nova –Stradivarius 1996
  • Adrian Willaert: Musica Nova, the Petrarca Madrigals - Singer Pur 2005