The question of the Renaissance is one of the most hotly debated themes in the history of European culture. Our initial attention must be restricted to two points. The first concerns the very fact that the temporal limits of the Renaissance keep generating controversy; an issue that indicates a sour spot at the heart of contemporary identity. Second, the classic statement of the problem was contained in an article by Erwin Panofsky (1972), arguably the best known representative of the ‘Warburg school’.