The socio-cultural transformation of the Renaissance

In 1952, Frederick Godfrey wrote an article which transformed forever scholarly consdieration of the Renaissance. The Pictorial Records of the Medicis looked at the work of the period's artists in the "context of the society from which it had sprung and that social attitudes could be recovered from the study of art." Alexander Lee of History Today looks at the impace of the article.

From Lee's article:

As Godfrey suggests, the question of iconology was crucial. The manner in which a scene or subject was represented reflected not only the values of the artist himself, but also of the attitudes that he shared with those who viewed his work. By analysing these features of Renaissance art it became possible to comprehend the relationship between artistic change and broader socio-cultural transformations. In this way, Panofsky brought to light the ties between humanism and the arts and, in the year before Godfrey’s article appeared, Millard Meiss revealed the extent to which 14th-century painting reflected the social and religious traumas induced by the Black Death.