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Burckhardt, Jacob

Born: 25 May 1818, Basel (Switzerland)

Died: 8 August 1897, Basel (Switzerland)

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Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy
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Jacob Burckhardt was an art and cultural historian, renowned for his historiographical method known as Kulturgeschichte. In the analysis of a historic moment, this method focuses on the moment’s inner aspects, such as the contemporaneous art and literature, the religious and moral habits, and the economical and social developments. Burckhardt was the author of the notable Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien (1860; The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy), in which he declared that modernity was born in Italy in the fifteenth century. This work has long remained – and it still remains, even if outdated in many aspects – a classic of the critical literature on the Renaissance and an excellent example of cultural historical studies.

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Primary Literature

  • Burckhardt, Jacob. 1853. Die Zeit Constantin’s des Grossen. Basel: Schweighauser. English edition: Burckhardt, Jacob. 1983 (1st ed. 1949). The Age of Constantine the Great (trans: Hadas, M.). Berkeley: University of California Press.

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  • Burckhardt, Jacob. 1855. Der Cicerone: Eine Anleitung zum Genuss der Kunstwerke Italiens. Basel: Schweighauser. English edition: Burckhardt, Jacob. 1979 (1st ed. 1918). The Cicerone: An Art Guide to Painting in Italy (trans: Clough. A. H.). London: Garland Publishing.

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  • Burckhardt, Jacob. 1860. Die Cultur der Renaissance in Italien: ein Versuch. Basel: Schweighauser. English edition: Burckhardt, Jacob. 2010 (1st ed. 1878). The civilisation of renaissance in Italy (trans: Middlemore, S. G. C.). Mineola: Dover Publications.

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  • Burckhardt, Jacob. 1955–1959. Gesammelte Werke. Basel: B. Schwabe.

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  • Burckhardt, Jacob. 2000–2014. Burckhardt Werke. Kritische Gesamtausgabe. In 29 Bänden. Herausgegeben von der Jacob Burckhardt-Stiftung, Basel. München: C. H. Beck; Basel: Schwabe.

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Secondary Literature

  • Bazzicalupo, Laura. 1990. Il potere e la cultura: sulle riflessioni storico-politiche di Jakob Burckhardt. Napoli: Edizioni Scientifiche Italiane.

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  • Garin, Eugenio. 1952. Introduzione. La civiltà del Rinascimento in Italia, ed. Jacob Burckhardt (trans: Valbusa, D.), XV–XXXV. Firenze: Sansoni.

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  • Gherardi, Maurizio. 1991. La scoperta del Rinascimento. L’età di Raffaello di Jacob Burckhardt. Torino: Einaudi.

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  • Gilbert, Felix. 1986. Jacob Burckhardt’s Student Years: The Road to Cultural History. Journal of the History of Ideas 47: 249–274.

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  • Gilbert, Felix. 1990a. History: Politics or culture? Reflections on Ranke and Burckhardt. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

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  • Gilbert, Felix. 1990b. Ranke as the Teacher of Jacob Burckhardt. Leopold von Ranke and the Shaping of the Historical Discipline, ed. George G. Iggers and James M. Powell, 82–88. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.

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  • Hinde, John R. 2000. Jacob Burckhardt and the Crisis of Modernity. Montreal/Kingston/London/Itacha: McGill-Queen’s University Press.

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  • Howard, Thomas A. 2000. Religion and the Rise of Historicism: W. M. L. de Wette, Jacob Burckhardt and the Theological Origins of Nineteenth-Century Historical Consciousness. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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  • Kaegi, Werner. 1947–1982. Jacob Burckhardt: eine Biographie. Basel/Stuttgart: Schwabe.

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  • Löwith, Karl. 1936. Jacob Burckhardt: der Mensch inmitten der Geschichte. Luzern: Vita Nova.

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  • Pinotti, Andrea, and Roli, Maria Luisa (eds.). La formazione del vedere: lo sguardo di Jacob Burckhardt. Macerata: Quodlibet.

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Correspondence to Maria Vittoria Comacchi .

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Comacchi, M. (2022). Burckhardt, Jacob. In: Sgarbi, M. (eds) Encyclopedia of Renaissance Philosophy. Springer, Cham.

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