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The Italian Renaissance Imagery of Inspiration
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  • 74 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 256 pages
  • Size: 246 x 189 mm
  • Weight: 0.797 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 753/.6/094509024
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: N8219.I46 R88 2004
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Inspiration in art
    • Symbolism in art--Italy
    • Art, Italian
    • Art, Renaissance--Italy

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521821605 | ISBN-10: 0521821606)

In this book, Maria Ruvoldt traces the development of the pictorial vocabulary of divine inspiration, examining how themes of spiritual, intellectual, and artistic transcendence were given visual form. She argues that the imagery of sleep, a passive experience equated with the loss of reason, offered a powerful visual sign for a Platonic model of divine inspiration. Drawing on primary sources, including handbooks of dream interpretation, the recorded dreams of artists and poets, and philosophical texts, Ruvoldt also considers a wide range of objects, from portrait medals to gift drawings where sleep is visualized. Her study recovers the Renaissance perception, production and reception of sleep and dreams and their relation to divine inspiration.

• First English study of dreams in Renaissance art • Interdisciplinary approach to the iconography of inspiration • Uses wide array of primary source material


1. The sleep of reason; 2. Sleep and waking/rapture and reason; 3. Pregnant poets; 4. Sleeping beauties; 5. The Dream of Raphael; 6. The dream of Michelangelo.


'… a subtle and absorbing book. In part, it draws on an older tradition of iconographic studies in art history, but its sophisticated critical readings are clearly informed by more recent theoretical work in semiotics and gender studies.' The Art Book

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