Northern Renaissance Art
The new Oxford History of Art series leaves aside biography and the usual narrative approach in order to focus on historical context and material factors of production – the way art was made and how it was marketed and experienced. The results are worthwhile, but none of these books (at least none of the ones I’ve read) can be described as a page-turner. Susie Nash’s volume on the art of northern Europe in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries is typical, being a scholarly work dense with technical information (and the gate comes down pretty hard at the end of the period, with Holbein, Bosch and most of Dürer missing). If it’s a coffee table fixture you’re looking for, there are other options.