The Secret Language of the Renaissance peels back these layers of meaning in three distinct, detailed sections:
Part One is a vivid immersion in the culture of this remarkable period, tracing the profusion of innovations in literature, painting, sculpture and the decorative arts that date to this time.
Part Two offers a wide-ranging guide to the essential elements of symbolic language in Renaissance art, including colour, geometry, light and shade, proportion, perspective and body language, using examples ranging from Carlo Crivelli’s Annunciation to Donatello’s Mary Magdalene.
Part Three, the heart of the book, analyzes more than 40 works grouped around a dozen themes, including Mythology, War and Peace, and Death and Eternity. Each work is shown in full colour, in all its glory; then, through an ingenious technique of ”selective isolation”, each is taken apart to reveal the symbols it contains and to interpret their enigmatic meaning. And throughout the book, fascinating boxes shed light on themes and topics of the time, from guilds and confraternities to the original ”bonfire of the vanities”