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Monday, November 30, 2009

Monday Ground Up: Distinctive Characteristics of Renaissance Art And Artists

Renaissance art has been characterized as an individualistic approach to humanism, where an eye of an artist interprets what they see everyday. The interpretations may have been realistically based and the emphasis on naturalism was used to persuade onlookers that an object was real-both living and breathing in the eyes of the artist. The standards reflected a focus of the human form and the social, political, and religious aspects of the time.

The Tribute Money, fresco in the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence.

Giotto originally began the imitation of nature, however Massacio frescoes in Brancacci Chapel are the first masterpieces of Early Renaissance art. The use of realism to reflect perspective and a relationship between a figure and the landscape, bore a new type of painting and sculpture of dimensions. Other painters, such as Paulo Uccello used mathematical equations to determine space and light. However, this experimentation was more often opportunistic to showcase his mastery of perspective.

Part of the court in Florence was a circle of artists that were interested in Greek and Roman mythology. Sandro Botticelli's famous work, "Primavera" was a removal from realism. The emphasis was on the female form in a naturalistic way, with somewhat of an unworldly quality.

Donatello constructed "David", which first stood in the courtyard of the Medici Palace. The statue was heroic, simple and humanistic.

Architectural art was of great importance, especially since 1296 when the Duomo had just started being built. Brunelleschi drew his inspiration for the completion of the Duomo from Roman antiquity, so he devised a dome to finish the Duomo, which would span over a 140-foot opening.

Federico III da Montefeltro, Duke of Urbino. Portrait
by Piero della Francesca, 1492.

One of the most influential  movements was that of human individuality in their present political or social state. Patrons and aristocrats found themselves painted into the corners of sacred pictures and depicted in statues. Piero della Francesca started capturing a new sense of political power and social standing of his subjects. Of course, this carried over to the High Renaissance where Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo re-focused a humanistic and individual aspect of painting and sculpture towards their commissioned works for the papacy, aristocrats, and political figures.

Leonardo's "Last Supper" depicted an idealism of dismay and a profound psychological dimension. Movement of the figures embodied a living story, brought to live with the stroke of a brush.

Raphael, under commission from the church, painted frescoes in the Vatican, his most famous being the "School of Athens". His art was a classical depiction of social meetings in Greece and Rome.

Pope Julius II commissioned Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It was said that the two were constantly arguing over Michelangelo's need to keep each section covered. Pope Julius was very impatient, however when his eyes were finally able to view the splendor of the masterpiece, he had tears in his eyes. Michelangelo depicted the Creation of Adam, as well as the scenes from the book of Genesis. He believed the more perfect the body, the more God-like the figure.

A copy of the statue standing in the original location of David, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.

This would explain his depiction of David, which is far more heroic and masculine looking than Donatellos. The statue had originally been placed in front of the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of the Florentine government, thereby representing resolve and human power.

The Renaissance is deemed as being the age of enlightenment. There was a new vision of humanism and experimentation with new forms of artistic expression. It's one of those most admired times in history, at least, that's what I believe. How about you?

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Glynis said...

A fascinating topic and article.

Rhett said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Sarah said...

That's just beautiful :) Thankyou for writing this

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