Manners, Customs, and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period

P. L. Jacob Manners, Customs, and Dress During the Middle Ages and During the Renaissance Period
P. L. Jacob
Project Gutenberg
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The several successive editions of "The Arts of the Middle Ages and Period of the Renaissance" sufficiently testify to its appreciation by the public. The object of that work was to introduce the reader to a branch of learning to which access had hitherto appeared only permitted to the scientific. That attempt, which was a bold one, succeeded too well not to induce us to push our researches further. In fact, art alone cannot acquaint us entirely with an epoch. "The arts, considered in their generality, are the true expressions of society. They tell us its tastes, its ideas, and its character." We thus spoke in the preface to our first work, and we find nothing to modify in this opinion. Art must be the faithful expression of a society, since it represents it by its works as it has created them--undeniable witnesses of its spirit and manners for future generations. But it must be acknowledged that art is only the consequence of the ideas which it expresses; it is the fruit of civilisation, not its origin. To understand the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, it is necessary to go back to the source of its art, and to know the life of our fathers; these are two inseparable things, which entwine one another, and become complete one by the other.

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