21 July 2006
Giotto to Durer: Early Renaissance Painting in the National Gallery, by Jill Dunkerton, et al. If you get only one book about Renaissance painting, this is the one. The reproductions are excellent and numerous. The text reviews not just trends in the evolution of subject matter and symbolism, but also how paintings were commissioned, what workshops were like, and how artists were trained. Best of all, it has extensive information on what is now understood about the construction of paintings, from support, to ground, to pigments, to binding media. All of this is explained in a manner that doesn't assume that you already know a lot about conservation science, but with enough detail to really understand the subject. It's a great reference and a great way to understand how the Renaissance changed the course of Western art.