While not a renaissance scholar, I think it is safe to say that whatever
drove art and science in Italy and the north (am not sure of how France
enters into this...) it was not 'stolen' from the middle east. Perhaps some
examples of what you describe would clarify the assertion that there exist '
cheap caricatures of
masterpieces plundered from Byzantium by the ignorant savages of medievel
europe?' What occurs to me in a broad sense is that renaissance artists
explored a rebirth of classical forms going back to Greece and Rome, where
eastern art sustained more rigid traditional forms.