Five famous artists of the Renaissance—Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian—are introduced in a format aimed at getting young readers to think.
Taylor begins by defining the Renaissance and humanism before comparing medieval art to Renaissance art. Then a chapter is devoted to each artist, with color reproductions of many examples of their work, descriptions of their subjects and influences, and information about their personal lives and work habits. “Wonder why?” featurettes encourage readers to ponder art and its meaning (“Is it important for art to be realistic?”). “Connect” inserts offer codes to scan to discover related interviews and videos online. Other sidebars introduce women artists of the Renaissance as well as art and artists from other contemporaneous cultures, such as the Persian artist Kamal al-din Bihzad and the statue of Coatlicue in Mexico. Vocabulary “Words of Wonder” such as “tondo” and “posterity” are listed for readers to try to figure out or to look up in the glossary. Projects at the end of each chapter offer “Compare and Contrast” exercises with medieval art of comparable subjects as well as other exercises to learn from, analyze, and respond to works of art. The tone is conversational and provokes curiosity over fact mastery and passive consumption.
A conscientious examination of the subject that encourages critical thinking, application, and broad perspective. (resources) (Nonfiction. 9-13)