Loves of The Artists  by Jonathan  Jones
(Simon & Schuster, 2013)

Loves of The Artists

by Jonathan Jones

Taking Donatello’s reinvention of the nude as his starting point, Jonathan Jones will show how the story of the Renaissance is the story of a sexual revolution. The great artists of the fifteenth and sixteenth century were not just visionaries, but lovers. Jonathan argues that the famous nudes of Michelangelo and Titian are not abstract images of ideal beauty, but erotic expressions of love and desire; and that in order to understand the Renaissance, we have to understand the sex lives of the men and women who defined it - men like Raphael, who obsessively painted his lover La Fornarina in the nude, Michelangelo, who made beautiful drawings of naked male bodies to present to the young man he adored, and Rembrandt, whose bedroom portraits of Hendrickje Stoffels are among the frankest expressions of love anywhere in art.

Sweeping chronologically from its origins in Florence in the middle of the fifteenth century to its culmination in the work of Rubens and Rembrandt in the 17th, Loves of the Artists will argue that the Renaissance invented eroticism as we know it, and that the new ways of thinking about sex it engendered are crucial to understanding not only art, but European culture as a whole.

Reviews

Persuasive about how Renaissance artists took the medieval concept of courtly romance and allied it to physical desire to give a more rounded expression of love in art... This book is not just about priapic painters, there is love both sacred and profane here and as much pining as painting.”
- The Sunday Times
A rambunctious journey from the 15th century of Donatello to the 17th of Rembrandt.”
- Metro
Important and fascinating.”
- Literary Review
He paints a detailed portrait of celebration and tragedy. This is a detailed, very human account of a complicated situation.”
- Daily Mail