Lo zoo del Rinascimento
by Mirella Levi D’Ancona
Il significato degli animali nella pittura italiana dal XIV al XVI secolo
The symbolic meaning of animals, which appear in all Renaissance and Pre-Renaissance paintings, are often the means by which the interpretation of the picture is possible. This volume analyses the diverse meanings of 185 animals, from the lion to the dog, from the unicorn to the bee, from the eagle to the worm, the dolphin, the whale, etc…, looking systematically into the pagan world, biblical, Christian,and secular sources written during and after the Renaissance, and those known to it, like books written after this period that explain the meaning known during the Renaissance. Examples are proposed in 150 reproductions of splendid paintings of the Italian Renaissance and Pre-Renaissance: Giotto, Raffaello, Carpaccio, Bronzino, Tura, Michelangelo… accompanying the texts, to signify the ample variety of symbols, often contradictory, used by different artists.
The volume, a result of more than twenty years of research by one of the main figures in history of art in Italy, who is, amongst other things, the discoverer of the Botticelli’s Venere dating, opens up with three essays that apply animal symbology to reveal the otherwise mystery of many works of art.
Mirella Levi D’Ancona, professor Emeritus of Art at Hunter College of the City of New York, is the author of over one hundred publications in the field of iconography of miniatures. A member of the scientific committee of the “Rara Volumina”, she has published with Maria Pacini Fazzi the volume Piante e Animali intorno alla Porta del Paradiso del Ghiberti.
340 pages, format 21x30, 185 xylographs, 55 color illustrations and 95 b/w plates