Shirley Smith graduated from the University of East Anglia with a first class honours degree in the History of Art, specialising in the Italian and Northern Renaissance. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a part-time lecturer for the University of East Anglia and for the Department of Continuing Education of the University of Cambridge . Also lectures to the Art Fund and individual clubs and societies.
We cannot imagine a world where the only faces we recognize are those with whom we have physically come into contact. Yet that was the situation in Medieval Europe when, with power vested in the Church, the glorification of man was frowned upon. This changed in the Renaissance when, for the first time since antiquity, we see the representation of an individual that could be called ‘true to life’; a person of flesh and blood, capable of movement, of emotion. Every form and medium was exploited to promote the desired image which ranged from the thought-provoking and truthful to the idealized and, frankly, impossible.