The Renaissance Era and it’s Artists

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The Renaissance Era and it’s Artists

The time known as the Renaissance brought about many changes in the art world.  Enlightened ideas and artists paved the way for some of the most famous artists of all time.  For centuries, most scholars have agreed that the modern era of human history began with the Renaissance.

First, let’s define the word Renaissance. According to the Macmillian School Dictionary, Renaissance means “a renewal of activity, interest, or enthusiasms about something, rebirth, revival.” This word came from a Latin word rinascere meaning “reborn”.  The Renaissance was a great cultural movement or “rebirth” that began in Italy during the 14th century.  It spread from Italy, it’s “root”, to France, Germany, England and Spain.  One may ask what were they being reborn from.  A reason most of the European countries were “dead” was because of the “Black Death”, a disease that spread throughout the land, which left many without hope or ambition (Renaissance 232). Another reason for the rise of painting and the arts was because they wanted to recapture that spirit of the Greek and Roman cultures in the own artistic, literary, and philosophic works or art.  One god used most often was Venus, the goddess of love and fertility.  Venus is the mother of Cupid, the little god of love (Becket 95).

The Renaissance era brought many new techniques to the art world.  One of the most important was Perspective.  The art of perspective is the representation of solid objects and three-dimensional space according to your optical perception.  The laws of perspective are based upon converging lines meeting at a single fixed vanishing point.   It also states that objects appear smaller as they recede into the distance.  Figure one shows how converging lines create a three-dimensional object (Becket 88-89).

The second most noted discovery during this period was the human figure.  Medieval artists painted figures that looked stiff and unrealistic.  Which often-served symbolic religious purposes but they had no life to them.  Artists all throughout the land started drawing portraits and figures that were nude.  What once would have been frowned upon, now was respected and highly thought of as beauty (Renaissance 233).

Another technique made was Fresco painting.  Fresco painting is when damp plaster is used instead of a canvas. Many of the most famous paintings ever done were frescos, though now in the 21st century many of them are in great need of repair.

Two of the most famous artists ever to live used all of these methods.  They were Michaelangelo Buonarotti and Leonardo DaVinci.  We will now look at each artist and what they contributed to this wonderful era.

Michaelangelo was born in 1475 in a small town.  His most famous works range from the David in Florence, to the Pieta in Rome and the Sistine Chapel in Italy.  Many people forget Michaelangelo as a sculptor because the Sistine Chapel was his most famous work.  He believed “that painting should mimic as nearly as possible the rounded, three-dimensional forms achieved in sculpture.” (Michaelangelo, Sistine Chapel 33-34).  Michaelangelo was quick to become upset and belligerent, so relationships with other people were hard to come by.  He was also a homosexual and was always tortured with guilt.  As he grew older, his sins bore harder and harder on him and he fell into great despair (Cumming 24-25).

Between the years 1501-1504 when making David, the biblical character, the people of Florence were facing problems from outside threats to the city.  He sculpted it in remembrance of God’s help to David against Goliath.  So that it might remind them that God would protect them against the “Goliath-like” forces that were threatening the city. The David statue was one of the grandest of its time.

His other famous sculpture was the Pieta.  It is a statue of Mother Mary holding dead Jesus in her arms.  One French Cardinal of the time said this, “To this work let no sculptor, however rare a craftsman, ever think to be able to approach in design or in grace, or ever to be able with all the pains in the world to attain such delicacy and smoothness or to perforate the marble with sure art as Michaelangelo did therein…”  (Michaelangelo, Sistine Chapel 32).

Pope Sixtus built the Sistine Chapel in 1473.  It was meant to be a place of worship but also of great power in the Catholic Church.  The painting was set out to tell a story that would portray both humanist and religious traditions during the time.  The ceiling itself is a vast area, 133 feet by 43 feet.  It is a shallow, barrel-shaped vault with concave triangles that first struck Michaelangelo with his ideas for the painting (Michaelangelo, Sistine Chapel 33-35).  A normal painter might have t.............


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