In this fascinating study, John Stephens inteprets the significance of the immense cultural change which took place in Italy from the time of Petrarch to the Reformation, and considers its wider contribution to Europe beyond the Alps. His important analysis (which is designed for students and serious general readers of history as well as the specialist) is not a straight narrative history; rather, it is an examination of the humanists, artists and patrons who were the instruments of this change; the contemporary factors that favoured it; and the elements of ancient thought they revived.
List of plates. List of figures. Preface. Part 1: Humanism. 1. Introduction. 2. Concepts and assumptions. 3. Humanitas. 4. The source of Humanitas. 5. Petrarch and his successors. Part 2: The artist, the patron and the sources of artistic change. 6. Introduction. 7. Theories. 8. Artistic innovation and the artist's relations. 9. The influence of humanistic ideas. 10. Conclusions. Part 3: The achievement of the Italian Renaissance. 11. Man and society. 12. The intellectual and the ideal of intellectual. 13. Classical scholarship. 14. Historiography. 15. Renaissance and reform. Postcript: Future Prospects. Bibliography. Index.