A fascinating and
counterintuitive portrait of the sordid, hidden world behind the dazzling
artwork of Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, and more
Renowned as a period of cultural rebirth and artistic
innovation, the Renaissance is cloaked in a unique aura of beauty and brilliance.
Its very name conjures up awe-inspiring images of an age of lofty ideals in
which life imitated the fantastic artworks for which it has become famous. But
behind the vast explosion of new art and culture lurked a seamy, vicious world
of power politics, perversity, and corruption that has more in common with the
present day than anyone dares to admit.
In this lively and meticulously researched portrait,
Renaissance scholar Alexander Lee illuminates the dark and titillating
contradictions that were hidden beneath the surface of the period’s best-known
artworks. Rife with tales of scheming bankers, greedy politicians, sex-crazed
priests, bloody rivalries, vicious intolerance, rampant disease, and lives of
extravagance and excess, this gripping exploration of the underbelly of
Renaissance Italy shows that, far from being the product of high-minded ideals,
the sublime monuments of the Renaissance were created by flawed and tormented
artists who lived in an ever-expanding world of inequality, dark sexuality,
bigotry, and hatred.
The Ugly Renaissance
is a delightfully debauched journey through the surprising contradictions of
Italy’s past and shows that were it not for the profusion of depravity and
degradation, history’s greatest masterpieces might never have come into being. Download and start listening now!