My renaissance centres on architecture and arts of the Tuscan quattrocento, the early renaissance, oriented by the works of its famous and anonymous artists, craftsmen and builders, and of the authorities, patrons, customers or employers who generated and often directed the artworks, impelled by their their intellectual, religious and creative aspirations and inspirations.
My audience, I hope, is generally visitors and admirers of renaissance Tuscany, anyone intrigued by the vigorous early renaissance, centred as it was in Tuscany, who may wish to delve more deeply into what we see today, to look further than even admirable guidebooks can do. At he same time, I dare hope to advance certain observations or interpretations which may be new to renaissance scholarship.
My approach is to look closely at what we can see today of the renaissance in Tuscany, to seek and pursue answers to diverse renaissance visual puzzles. Seeing demands images: my aim is enquiries as richly illustrated as possible, with my own photographs or others in the public domain, or by links to other sites. For understanding what we can see, I try to mine contemporary writings -- of the late medieval and early renaissance -- especially those widely available and well known to renaissance observers themselves, to help us see through renaissance minds’ eyes, as far as we can. Of course I am also informed and stimulated by many modern or secondary readings, and much indebted to generations of scholars more expert than I.
My medium is RenaissanceInTuscany.com . Advantages of 'publication' through a web site are that dialogue may follow, and improvements made more quickly, cumulatively. My essays will be of diverse lengths, to suit diverse enquiries. Over time, I may re-develop and gather some of them into larger pieces addressing larger themes.
I am Andrew Johnson, an observer with my wife Moira of things Tuscan and Italian for many years, part-time residents of a small town in Tuscany for over a decade. Our favourite perch is mornings at a table outside the bar-cafe on the marvellous renaissance piazza-heart of the town ... or any time overlooking the Val d'Orcia countryside from our terrazza.
Formally, I am Andrew T.W. Johnson, D.Phil (Oxon), until recently policy advisor in a Western-world government for some thirty years -- now applying my experience in policy analysis to enquiries into the renaissance in Tuscany, moving from profession to avocation, blending (I hope) learning from both. Stimulated by close observations on the spot, building on knowledge gained from readings in the vast renaissance literature, grateful for the insights of our Pientine and Florentine friends -- grazie!
For more on what I see from the bar-cafe in Pienza, read My View of A Renaissance Pope's Piazza.
And see Renaissance Eyes: 'material and spiritual'
Your thoughts are welcome through my Views from Here blog, or you can reach me by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.