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234 × 156 × 17 mm
224 pages
87 illustrations
01 Apr 2003
Picturing History
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Global Interests Renaissance Art between East and West Lisa Jardine, Jerry Brotton

In this radical and wide-ranging reassessment of Renaissance art, Jerry Brotton and Lisa Jardine examine the ways in which European culture came to define itself culturally and aesthetically in the years 1450 to 1550. Looking outwards for confirmation of who they were and of what defined them as ‘civilized’, Europeans encountered the returning gaze of what we now call the East, in particular the powerful Ottoman Empire of Mehmed the Conqueror and Süleyman the Magnificent. Global Interests explores these historical interactions by offering new and exciting accounts of three often neglected art objects: portrait medals, tapestries and equestrian art. The portability of medals and tapestries, and the transportability of, and esteem accorded to, pure-bred Eastern horses made them frequently exchanged objects, and, as such, highly revealing of the cultural currents flowing between Occident and Orient. The authors provide fascinating new responses to some of the most iconic paintings of the period, including the work of Pisanello, Leonardo, Dürer, Holbein and Titian.

Global Interests also offers a timely reassessment of the development of European imperialism, focusing on the Habsburg Empire of Charles V, and concludes with a consideration of the impact this history continues to have upon contemporary perceptions of European culture and ethnic identity.

‘This fascinating book provided me with a whole new way of thinking about the European Renaissance . . . While offering a series of elegant interpretations of art objects exchanged between East and West... this is also an epic story of imperial rivalry exploring the ways in which courts jostled for supremacy through their display of magnificent art objects, many of which are beautifully reproduced here’ — The Good Book Guide Books of the Year

‘Cultural history needs the wider perspective [the authors] enjoin, and, as their reflections suggest, it is a mistake to think one can satisfactorily explain anything about the European continent its art, the growth of it science, its social, political or religious history in ignorance of its close relations with its eastern and southern margins. Global Interests is a valuable corrective to the established tendency to disregard them’ — Literary Review

‘impressive . . . the discussion is full of remarkable examples . . . there is much that will stimulate thought and excite admiration’ — Art Quarterly

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Lisa Jardine is Director of the AHRB Research Centre for Editing Lives and Letters, Professor of Renaissance Studies at University College London, and author of many books.

Jerry Brotton is Professor of Renaissance Studies at Queen Mary, University of London and a leading expert in the history of cartography. He presented the BBC4 series Maps: Power, Plunder and Possession in 2010, and is the author of numerous critically acclaimed books, including Global Interests: Renaissance Art between East and West (Reaktion, 2000), co-written with Lisa Jardine, and the bestselling and prize-winning A History of the World in Twelve Maps (2012).

1. Exchanging Identity: Breaching the Boundaries of Renaissance Europe
2. Telling Tapestries: Fabricating Narratives of Conquest
3. Managing the Infidel: Equestrian Art on Its Mettle
Select Bibliography
Photographic Acknowledgements