Between the birth of Dante in 1265 and the death of Galileo in 1642 something happened which completely revolutionized Western civilization. Painting, sculpture and architecture would all visibly change in a striking fashion. Likewise, the thought and self-conception of humanity would take on a completely different aspect. Sciences would be born – or emerge in an entirely new guise.
In this sweeping 400-year history, Paul Strathern reveals how, and why, these new ideas which formed the Renaissance began, and flourished, in the city of Florence. Just as central and northern Germany gave birth to the Reformation, Britain was a driver of the Industrial Revolution and Silicon Valley shaped the digital age, so too, Strathern argues, did Florence play a similarly unique and transformative role in the Renaissance.
While vividly bringing to life the city and a vast cast of characters – including Dante, Botticelli, Machiavelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Galileo – Strathern shows how these great Florentines forever altered Europe and the Western world.
A thought-provoking re-examination of the great Florentine artists, scientists and business wizards of the Renaissance... Strathern has an engaging habit of dwelling on the close connection in the Florentine cultural sphere between art and money, matters seldom so intimately juxtaposed...His prose glimmers with the spark of rekindled discovery. * Wall Street Journal * Strathern keeps readers engaged throughout with a sprinkling of colourful anecdotes, often taken from contemporary (or slightly later) sources... Those coming to the period for the first time will be able to sense the flavour of the social, political and cultural life that shaped a city that still attracts so many tourists. * BBC History Magazine * [Strathern] has a knack for conveying in pleasing prose, spiced with anecdotes, the essentials of an argument, an interesting juxtaposition, or the importance of an episode or person. * Times Literary Supplement * Vivid biographical sketches cast famous Florentines in a more dynamic light than most modern portrayals... Buoyed by incisive details and a brisk pace, this is a welcome introduction to the city and the personalities behind the Renaissance. * Publishers Weekly * If Vanity Fair magazine had existed during the Renaissance, every issue might have brought tales of Florentine A-listers and their power plays, artistic triumphs, sexual exploits, and financial chicanery. Strathern aims to show how such Florentines paved the way for a global humanism focused on people's lives on Earth instead of on the medieval view that existence was only preparation for an afterlife. Strathern is an intellectually agile writer who covers four centuries briskly - and serves up occasional surprises. * Kirkus Reviews * Strathern meticulously guides readers through the lives of famous Renaissance visionaries... this book doesn't just describe each individuals' accomplishments, but also shows how their lives full of shared experiences and unique circumstances were intricately intertwined in a way which positioned them to lead Europe into the Renaissance. Bringing the Renaissance into better focus, this well-researched work is highly recommended for readers with an interest in the era, art history, and Italian history. * Library Journal * Very occasionally we are offered an entirely new perspective on a body of detail with which we already seem entirely familiar but which has the effect of transforming our understanding. Paul Strathern's The Florentines is such a work... Powerfully argued and very carefully researched... A major commentary on the development and evolution of the Renaissance. * Historical Association * A marvelous, wide-ranging, and accessible history of Florence and the historical giants from the city that have influenced the course of western civilization. There should be more history books like The Florentines to delve in specific time periods and geographic locations. It is not just the intrinsically interesting period that Strathern delves into that makes this a truly excellent book, but his skill at understanding and connecting the people and ideas of the time. * The Interim, 'Book of the Week' * Well-written and exhaustively researched... It is a page-turner, and on that presents a fascinating new perspective on the stories and people of Florence. * All About History *
Book experts at your service
What are you looking for?