Object lessons and raw materials

Authored by: Timothy McCall , Sean Roberts

The Routledge History of the Renaissance

Print publication date:  March  2017
Online publication date:  March  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138898851
eBook ISBN: 9781315226217
Adobe ISBN: 9781351849463

10.4324/9781315226217.ch6

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Abstract

Not so long ago, material culture played a relatively modest role in many of the stories told about the Renaissance, and even the most artfully crafted and constructed objects were obscured in the shadow of painting, sculpture, and the remnants of classical antiquity. Over the past few decades, however, historians of all sorts have steadily, and with ever increasing momentum, embraced material and visual culture as vital forms of evidence. 2 Art historians – in concert with, and frequently at the forefront of this development – have expanded, and at times abandoned, the constraints of the canon in favor of a truly diverse range of Renaissance things. Votive plaques of little aesthetic interest, inexpensive printed saints, and glazed ceramic vessels celebrating childbirth have all anchored recent, influential studies. 3

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