The Renaissance is not all about Florence - on the contrary, it was very much about the princes who ruled the many states, large and small, which made up Renaissance Italy. These rulers were ambitious for power; most made their livings as mercenary soldiers, some seized their titles by force. Not all were cruel, immoral or greedy, but they did need devious skills to prosper on the highly competitive stage of Italian politics. Above all, they were immensely proud of their heritage. Heirs to the mighty empire of ancient Rome, they were educated in the culture of antiquity and, like their forbears, they knew the value of the arts as propaganda. In a bold and innovative move, they adopted the cultural langof ancient Rome, which provided flattering models for usurpers, tyrants and enlightened rulers alike. This is the story of Italy at a crucial moment in its history - and it will show the leading role that this privileged aristocratic elite played in the developments that transformed the political and cultural fortunes of the peninsula.
Mary Hollingsworth has a B.Sc. in business studies and a Ph.D. in art history. Her doctoral thesis dealt with the role of the architect in Italian Renaissance building projects and led to research on the role of the patron in the development of Renaissance art and architecture, a subject she taught to undergraduates and postgraduates, and published in two books (see below).
Her subsequent work on the papers of Cardinal Ippolito d’Este considerably broadened her horizons, and expertise, well beyond the confines of art history into the everyday world of Renaissance Europe. She has publ...
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