The Renaissance and Reformation
A History in Documents
In The Renaissance and Reformation, Merry Wiesner-Hanks allows the historical participants to tell their own stories. She presents a mix of visual sources and written documents from learned scholars, trained artists, university-educated religious reformers, and powerful political leaders--but also from more ordinary men and women. Leonardo da Vinci considers the merits of painting versus poetry in his notebook, while the Italian diplomat Baldassar Castiglione recommends the pastime of music-making to gentlemen in his book The Courtier. A group of small-time investors signs a contract for a trading venture from Genoa to Corsica and Sardinia, and a wealthy Florentine widow writes a letter to her son, weighing his ability to start a new business. A picture essay uses individual and family portraits to discuss ideas about personality, temperament, and "genius"; social differences in marital patterns; and changes in family relationships. Wiesner-Hanks places events in Europe in a global context, allowing readers to examine the ways in which they were related to the voyages of exploration.