Pioneering art historian Jacob Burckhardt saw the Italian Renaissance as no less than the beginning of the modern world. In this hugely influential work, he argues that the Renaissance's creativity, competitiveness, dynasties, great city-states and even its vicious rulers sowed the seeds of a new era. Great Ideas : throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves - and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives - and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization and helped make us who we are.
Jacob Burckhardt (1818-1897) intended to join the Church, but lost his faith while studying theology. Thereafter he studied history at the University of Basel, gaining his doctorate in 1843 and becoming a lecturer. He moved to the Zurich Polytechnic as Professor of Architecture and History in 1855, which is where he wrote The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy. In 1858 he returned to Basel, where he lived for his work as a teacher at the University.