The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
The 1860 Jacob Burckhardt's Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien (The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy'') (English translation, by SGC Middlemore, in 2 vols., London, 1878), and his 1867 Geschichte der Renaissance in Italien (The History of the Renaissance in Italy) were the most influential interpretation of the Italian Renaissance in the 19th century and are still widely read.
Burckhardt dealt with all aspects of Renaissance society and first showed how a period should be treated in its entirety, with regard not only for its painting, sculpture and architecture, but for the social institutions of its daily life as well.
Italy had, in fact, become a school for scandal
- "Italy had, in fact, become a school for scandal, the like of which the world cannot show, not even in France at the time of Voltaire. In him and his comrades there was assuredly no lack of the spirit of negation; but where, in the eighteenth century, was to be found the crowd of suitable victims, that countless assembly of highly and characteristically developed human beings, celebrities of every kind, statesmen, churchmen, inventors, and discoverers, men of letters, poets and artists, all of whom then gave the fullest and freest play to their individuality. This host existed in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, and by its side the general culture of the time had educated a poisonous brood of impotent wits, of born critics and railers, whose envy called for hecatombs of victims; and to all this was added the envy of the famous men among themselves. In this the philologists notoriously led the way--Filelfo, Poggio, Lorenzo Valla, and others--while the artists of the fifteenth century lived in peaceful and friendly competition with one another. The history of art may take note of the fact."