The Period of 1400 - 1650
Renaissance, originally a French term literally meaning “rebirth,” pertaining to cultural history, the word "renaissance" is now typically employed to describe the arts in Italy from the early 14th to the mid-16th centuries. During this period in European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages and predictably held to have been characterized by an outpouring of interest in Classical scholarship and values. The Renaissance also witnessed the discovery and exploration of new continents, the substitution of the Copernican for the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the decline of the feudal system and the growth of commerce, and the invention of such potentially influential innovations. The scholars and thinkers of the day, however, it was primarily a time of the revival of Classical learning and wisdom after a long period of cultural decline and stagnation.
From the thirteenth century, European society evolved from a primarily agrarian to an urban system. Fueled by the international trade in raw and manufactured goods, the independent city-states became vital commercial centers. Commerce created a more fluid social structure, one that rewarded personal ability and encouraged political effectiveness. The established hereditary nobility still existed, but gradually it came to wield less influence as the new middle class of tradesmen, artisans, and bankers formed an increasingly important social group with great economic power.
From the fifteenth and sixteenth-century, world was shaped by historical events and technological inventions. Precise tools of measurement like the magnetic compass facilitated the navigation of the globe which, in turn, brought about economic and political expansion, as well as intellectual and technological exchanges—even a radical change in diet. Gunpowder, originally invented in China, led to the development of firearms and cannons, which initiated a new era in warfare. Mass printing was made possible by the development of movable type, which also had been used previously by the Chinese. This changed the face of Europe, contributing to the standardization of language, and allowing more people access to more texts.
The Florentines of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries characterized their times as a period of reawakening to the ideals and achievements of classical Rome, which they felt had been ignored for a thousand years, since the fall of the Roman Empire. In 1492, Marsilio Ficino (1433– 1499), a Florentine philosopher, wrote: ‘This century, like a golden age, has restored to light the liberal arts, which were almost extinct...’ In 1550, Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574), the Florentine painter, biographer, and art historian claimed that visual art was reborn with the painter Giotto. Giotto, who also was inspired by Roman ideals, initiated a more human artistic vision that reached its high point with Michelangelo.
Humanism, the underlying philosophy of this period, is often summarized in a quotation from the Greek philosopher Protagoras (circa 485–410 BC), who famously decreed that ‘Man is the measure of all things.’ I learned that Humanism referred not only to the revival and publication of classical Greek and Latin texts. This was considered the new works of art modeled on classical Greek and Roman sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, and music. The Renaissance humanist authors imitated the style of great Roman writers. The artists studied and rivaled ancient sculptors and architects. The medieval scholars interpreted classical texts to clarify Christian theology. The authors and artists of the Renaissance took classical works as philosophical models of reason, intelligence, and taste to be applied in the material world. The Art, which the renaissance art make a cultural rebirth at the close of the Middle Ages and beginning of the Modern world. They develop the highly respected and realistic linear perspective. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Greek scholars migrated to Italy, bringing Greek and Latin manuscripts, which they deposited in libraries like the Laurentian Medici Library in Florence. The great philologists of the time studied and edited these texts and prepared them for printing, with far-reaching consequences; for example, Desiderius Erasmus’s (1466–1536) translation of the New Testament into Latin was a driving force in the Protestant Reformation.
One profound artist was Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472), a Florentine painter, sculptor, architect, musician, and poet who also was skilled in warfare known as the universal man. Lastly was religion, discussed in the video the new ideals of humanism, although more secular in some aspects, developed against a Christian backdrop, especially in the Northern Renaissance. From a revolutionary view of the universe, that individuals can be trusted to act on the principles of logic. It is this perspective combined with the self-conscious awareness of being part of something new and superior that gives a confident and cohesive character to the Renaissance.
Leonardo Da Vinci
The ‘Mona Lisa’ has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about and the most parodied work of art in the world”. Its fame rests on the elusive smile on the woman’s face which is why it is also known as “la Gioconda”, or the laughing one. For Da Vinci, the ‘Mona Lisa’ was forever a work in progress, as it was his attempt at perfection. The painting was never delivered to its commissioner; Da Vinci kept it with him till the end of his life. Guinness World Records lists the ‘Mona Lisa’ as having the highest insurance value for a painting in history. It was assessed at US$100 million on December 14, 1962, which after adjusting inflation, would be around US$759 million today.
Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints
Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio)
The Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints this display the humanism, art and religion. After reading the article on the for the Art of Renaissance. The humanism and religion shown as Mary sits on the throne with Christ on her lap; she looks down at Saint John. He in turn looks up at Christ, who responds with the hand sign for blessing. The art revealed the three figures fit into an equilateral triangle, the apex of which is Mary’s halo. God the Father sends his blessing from the center of the lunette, repeating the Child’s gesture. His head is the apex of a second triangle that frames the entire composition in the main panel. The triangle is a stable shape as well as being the Christian symbol for the Trinity.
The playwright William Shakespeare (1564–1616) is considered the greatest of English writers and one of the most talented creators in history. Today he is the most quoted author in the English language. Shakespeare had established his career in London by 1592, when theater was flourishing in England. He was popular with audiences from a wide range of social classes, who flocked to see his plays. At the time of his retirement in 1613 he had made important innovations in all the major dramatic genres, or forms, of the Renaissance period—comedy (depiction of humorous characters and situations), romance (love story), chronicle (history play), and tragedy (drama portraying the downfall of a good man). Shakespeare wrote more than thirty plays. These are usually divided into four categories: histories, comedies, tragedies, and romances such as Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. In his final years, Shakespeare turned to the romantic with Cymbeline, A Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest.
My Personal Thoughts
The information for this Adobe project was extracted from many places. One educational source and reference is the lessons from class:
2017P2 HUMA-2003-GA030 Survey of the Arts
The Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/event/Renaissance
www.youtu.be/gwA3t5y4S8o --Renaissance Video
https://youtu.be/gElZQ7Po_9Y -- Cipriano de Rore - Mia Benigna Fortuna
https://youtu.be/sJGbtqUGVnY --Roland de Lassus (1530-1594) - Hieremiae prophetae lamentationes