Book Series Studies in Medieval and Early Renaissance Art History, vol. 62

Renaissance Artists and Antique Sculpture. A Handbook of Sources

New, Revised and Updated Edition

Phyllis Bober, Ruth Rubinstein

  • Pages: 581 p.
  • Size:185 x 270 mm
  • Illustrations:530 b/w
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2011

  • ISBN: 978-1-905375-60-8
  • Hardback
  • Available


"Most readers will be impressed by its dense and compendious character. It is certainly one of the most useful art-historical reference books to have been published in recent decades....The entries are highly readable, the scholarship is thorough but succinct, and the references are reliable."--Burlington Magazine

"The Bober and Rubinstein volume has already achieved that ultimate accolade of coming to be known simply by the names of its authors...This vast body of information, much of it completely new, is invaluable....[The authors] go beyond such particulars as source-spotting to provide the possibility of a real understanding of a whole repertory of forms."--Times Literary Supplement

"Jeder und jedem, der einen Zugang zu dem sucht, was auch als „Kanon" der westlichen Kunst ins allgemeine Bewusstsein eingedrungen ist, sei dieses Buch erneut und immer wieder empfohlen". (Charlotte Schreiter, in: H-ArtHist, 19.11.2012,


This publication offers a new, revised edition of a work that was hailed, when it first appeared, as “the most useful art-historical reference book to have been published in recent decades”. It is a Handbook of Sources, documenting and illustrating the most significant antique works of art known to Renaissance artists. More than 500 illustrations show Greek and Roman statues, mythological and historical reliefs as well as triumphal arches together with Renaissance drawings, engravings,  bronzes and paintings to demonstrate how and where these classical monuments were discovered and recorded, and how they were copied, adapted, combined and transformed into the style and iconography we now recognize as Renaissance art.

The authors, Professor Phyllis Bober and Dr Ruth Rubinstein, based their selection on the Census of Antique Works of Art and Architecture known in the Renaissance,  begun at the Warburg Institute in London as a reference catalogue, but continuously extended thereafter and now transferred into a modern web-based database system accessible on the internet. The auhors arranged their illustrative material and their encyclopaedic catalogue thematically, giving full descriptions and history of each antique work, listing Renaissance representations and adaptations, and citing relevant literature. In addition, the myths and legends featured in the classical works are retold briefly in each case to help the reader follow the narrative particularly in the many sarcophagus reliefs reproduced.

Although the book has been reprinted twice since its first appearance, only minor revisions had until now been included. Sadly, neither author has lived to see the present publication, but corrections and additions to the Catalogue and the Appendices continued up to the time of their deaths, and Ruth Rubinstein spent the last decade of her life preparing this second edition with substantial catalogue revisions and  significant additions to the Bibliography.


In addition to Phyllis Bober’s introductory essay, which considers the cultural impact of classical Antiquity on Renaissance masters, the handbook also includes two important Appendices: an annotated Index of Renaissance Artists and Sketchbooks, and a descriptive and illustrated Index of Renaissance Collections.


Glossary, General Index