Art and architecture have always been central to Venice but in the Renaissance period, between c.1440 and 1600, they reached a kind of apotheosis when many of the city’s new buildings, sculpture, and paintings took on distinctive and original qualities. The spread of Renaissance values provided leading artists such as Gentile and Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Palladio, Titian, and Tintoretto with a licence for artistic invention. This inventiveness however also needs to be understood in relation to the artists and artworks that still conformed to the more traditional, corporate, and public values of "Venetianness"’ (Venezianità).
By adopting a chronological approach, with each chapter covering a successive twenty-five year period, and focusing attention on the artists, Tom Nichols presents a vivid and easily navigable study of Venetian Renaissance art. Through close visual analyses of specific works from architecture to illuminated manuscripts, he puts the formative power of art back at the heart of this remarkable story.