The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy

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The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy
Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien.jpg
The title page of an English translation
AuthorJacob Burckhardt
Original titleDie Cultur a der Renaissance in Italien
TranslatorS. G. C. Middlemore
PublisherSchweighauser'sche Verlagsbuchhandlung
a Kultur in modern German.

The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy (German: Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien) is an 1860 work on the Italian Renaissance by Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt. Together with his History of the Renaissance in Italy (Die Geschichte der Renaissance in Italien; 1867) it is counted among the classics of Renaissance historiography. An English translation was produced by S.G.C. Middlemore in two volumes, London 1878.

According to Denys Hay:

Burkhardt sought to capture and define the spirit of the age in all its main manifestations. For him ‘’Kultur’’ was the whole picture: politics, manners, religion...the character that animated the particular activities of a people in a given epoch, and of which pictures, buildings, social and political habits, literature, are the concrete expressions.[1]

Its scholarly judgements are considered to have been largely justified by subsequent research according to historians including Desmond Seward and art historians such as Kenneth Clark.[citation needed]

The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy is divided into six parts:

  1. Part One: The State as a Work of Art
  2. Part Two: The Development of the Individual
  3. Part Three: The Revival of Antiquity
  4. Part Four: The Discovery of the World and of Man
  5. Part Five: Society and Festivals
  6. Part Six: Morality and Religion


  • 1878. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy.
  • 1990. The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. Penguin Classics. ISBN 0-14-044534-X

See also[edit]


Further reading[edit]

  • Baron, Hans. "Burckhardt's 'Civilization of the Renaissance' a Century after its Publication." Renaissance News 13.3 (1960): 207-222 online.
  • Danson Brown, Richard (2000). "From Burckhardt to Greenblatt: New Historicisms and Old". In Whitlock, Keith (ed.). The Renaissance in Europe: A Reader. New Haven: Yale University Press in association with The OpenUniversity. pp. 4–11. ISBN 9780300082234.
  • Ferguson, Wallace K. The Renaissance and Historical Thought (1948), pp. 179–192 online
  • Garner, Roberta. "Jacob Burckhardt as a Theorist of Modernity: Reading The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy." Sociological Theory (1990): 48-57 online also online at JSTOR
  • Geddes, Dan (11 November 2000). ""The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy" by Jacob Burckhardt". The Satirist. Retrieved 15 September 2016.
  • Hay, Denys. "Burckhardt's Renaissance: 1860-1960." History Today (Jan. 1960), volume 10, issue 1, pp. 14-23.
  • Hinde, John R. (2000). Jacob Burckhardt and the Crisis of Modernity. Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0773510273.
  • Jones, Jonathan (9 July 2010). "Jacob Burckhardt: The Renaissance Revisited". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 September 2016.