No city but Florence contains such an intense concentration of art produced in such a short span of time. The sheer number and proximity of works of painting, sculpture, and architecture in Florence can be so overwhelming that Florentine hospitals treat hundreds of visitors each year for symptoms brought on by trying to see them all, an illness famously identified with the French author Stendhal. While most guidebooks offer only brief descriptions of a large number of works, with little discussion of the historical background, Judith Testa gives a fresh perspective on the rich and brilliant art of the Florentine Renaissance in An Art Lover's Guide to Florence . Concentrating on a number of the greatest works, by such masters as Botticelli and Michelangelo, Testa explains each piece in terms of what it meant to the people who produced it and to those for whom they made it, deftly treating the complex interplay of politics, sex, and religion that were involved in the creation of those works. With Testa as a guide, armchair travelers and tourists alike will delight in the fascinating world of Florentine art and history.
Judith Testa is professor emerita at Northern Illinois University and the author of Rome is Love Spelled Backward: Enjoying Art and Architecture in the Eternal City.