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Lesson 8: Rebirth of Classical Culture: The Renaissance 1400-1600…

Lesson 8: Rebirth of Classical Culture: The Renaissance 1400-1600

Early and High Renaissance 1400-1550

The early Renaissance period in Italy began in the towns of Sienna and Florence. In the city of Florence, the Medici family, who were wealthy wool merchants, were vital to the development of art and learning. They were one of the most famous patrons of art of the time. They commissioned numerous works and with other patrons supported the group of artists who came to study and work in Florence. With increased wealth from trade, the increased contact between countries, and the availability of books, learning, and knowledge of the temporal world were rediscovered or reborn. Since the amount of information was unlimited, it became possible for a literate person to know all there was to know about many subjects. Many men became an expert in many fields, hence the expression “a Renaissance man”. The two major ideas of the time were classism, interest, and the study of ancient Greece and Rome. The second was humanism, the belief that man is capable of understanding and controlling his own world. Some of the most famous artists to come from this time were Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, Donatello, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael.

From the left: Leonardo da Vinci, Virgin of the Rocks c. 1486

Venetian and Northern Renaissance 1430-1550

The Renaissance spread north to France and the low countries of Poland, Germany, and England. The world was changing rapidly, and discoveries, inventions, and scientific advances were taking place. Copernicus in 1543 proved that the Earth revolved around the sun, which was a breakthrough for the science world, giving people a brand new perspective on life and spirituality. The great painters from the north brought oil painting, which was not as widely used by the southern fresco and tempera painters. Some of the famous artists from the north were Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, Durer, Bruegel, Bosch, Jan Van Eyck, and Rogier Van Der Weyden.

National Gallery of Art: The Early Renaissance in Florence

 

From the left: Parmigianino’s Madonna with the Long Neck 1534-40; El Greco, The Assumption of the Virgin 1577-1579

Mannerism 1527-1580

Mannerism makes itself known by elongated proportions, highly stylized poses, and a lack of clear perspective. It is a period of art that breaks all of the rules, where the artists preferred artifice over nature. This art movement shows the beginnings of the Baroque movement, with more dramatic scenes, and lighting. Some of the famous artists of this time were Tintoretto, El Greco, Pontormo, Bronzino, and Cellini.

da Vinci, Mona Lisa, 1506

Renaissance Art and Architecture Characteristics

Classism is used in subjects with symbolism. Humanism can be seen in portraits and monuments, and sculptures. The most popular mediums were fresco, tempera, and oil paints. Compositionally, the subjects are formal, courtly, and placed in the foreground with the landscape as the deep space. Scientific investigation of human anatomy shows concern for structure or musculature. The use of linear perspective is refined during this period. Aerial perspective is invented, which is a technique of rendering depth or distance in a painting by modifying the tone or hue and distinctness of objects perceived as receding from the picture plane, especially by reducing distinctive local colors and contrasts of light and dark to a uniform light bluish-gray color. In architecture, the use of classic sources such as the Parthenon and Colosseum can be seen. The elements derived from Greek and Roman architecture were classical orders, round arches, and pilasters. Geometric forms, linear perspective, and mathematical proportions were emphasized in buildings to harmonize and unify interior spaces.

Khan Academy Protestant Reformation

 

QUESTIONS 

1. What family was famous for patronizing the arts of the Renaissance? Describe who they were.

2. What were the two major ideas of this time?

3. Explain why knowledge and education were more obtainable at this time.

4. How did the Romans and Greeks influence the art of the Renaissance?

5. Define aerial perspective and explain why it was used in painting.

6. Describe figures and landscapes of the Renaissance. How do they differ from the works in Medieval art?

7. Research one of the famous artists of the Renaissance. Summarize their life, style of art, and their most famous works.

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