Chapter 17: The Renaissance (14-1600 Rebirth Italian and Northen)

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What was going on in the Italian Renaissance?
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Began in Florence, Italy. 1330’s -Humanism developed by Petrarch in Italy. Neoplatonist Philosophy! Rebirth- to Classical values. The perception of God shifted. Widespread Education. 1453 Fall of Constantinople The Medici- Powerful patrons! Commissioned Michelangelo, Raphael, & Botticelli Wealth Art, Science, Religion, Philosophy, Politics. Widespread Education.
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Renaissance
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means “rebirth,” a movement named by artists of the 15th & 16th centuries who conceived of the power of art for society. It represents a rebirth of Classical Values. What is Classical? Rebirth in education, philosophy, religion, and new art techniques. The artist, no longer a tradesman, is considered a genius. The status of the artist went from skilled crafts workers to intellectuals. It is at this point that fine art and craft become two distinct entities.
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Humanism
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In the 1330’s the poet and scholar, Petrarch, had conceived of a new humanism, a philosophy that emphasized the unique value of each person. The study of classical languages, literature, history and philosophy are called the “humanities”. Petrarch believed that people should be judged by their actions, not their born status. The cultural shift went from God and the hereafter to humans and the here and now.
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neoplatonism
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These neo-platonic intellectuals believed that all sources of inspiration or revelation, whether from the Bible or classical mythology, are a means of ascending from earthly existence to mystical union with the divine. This created a focus on education, idealized beauty, and logic. Intellect and creativity were considered gifts from God. The concept of how God viewed humanity shifted. The Church taught that humanity was worthless in the eyes of God in the Middle Ages. The renaissance idea was that humanity was God’s finest creation and in order to honor God, people should strive to do great things, fulfill their intellectual and creative potential, and learn all there is to learn.
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The fall of Constantinople
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When Constantinople fell to the Turks in 1453, the Roman Empire as it had been known ceased to exist after 1,500 years. After the fall of Constantinople, waves of migration from Greek scholars came to Italy, primarily Florence. They brought with them many texts and philosophies. It is believe that this in part helped usher in the renaissance in Florence.
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Medici Family
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The Medici family of bankers in Florence were powerful and wealthy. They owned the largest bank in Europe during the 15th century. They were great patrons of the arts. They commissioned works by Michelangelo, Raphael and Botticelli.
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Italy after Middle Ages
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taly recovered first from the Middle Ages, thanks to new trade and banking. The resulting new merchant class spent extravagantly on art, as did the nobility. Because of Church domination at this time, the Church was also a major source of patronage. Much wealth came to Italy during the 14-16th centuries due to ever expanding trade in Asia and Europe. Florence produced textiles and Venice produced fine glass. These industries brought a lot of money to Italy. Italy was composed of many city states that were mostly commerce and merchant based as opposed to the Feudalism of many northern areas. Patrons now were not just the nobility and the church, but the wealthy merchants were able to commission. The renaissance welcomed advances in art, science, religion, philosophy and politics
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Major Artistic Achievements
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Linear Perspective Chiaroscuro Atmospheric Perspective Camera Obscura (revived from Classical) Contrapposto (revived from Classical) The status of artists rose from craftsperson to intellectual! The study of perspective, the development of chiaroscuro, close observation of nature, the study of anatomy, theories of beauty and proportion established painting, sculpture and architecture as high as other intellectual pursuits like mathematics, science and poetry.
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Linear Perspective
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discovered by Filippo Brunelleschi in the early 1400’s. In an effort to create an accurate “window on the world,” they developed techniques including the use of the camera obscura to accurately depict linear perspective, atmospheric perspective, foreshortening, textural detail, and diminution.
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Contrapposto
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counter pose in Italian. It was revived in the renaissance by Dontatello, da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.
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Artistic ideals
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Naturalism Human form is the noblest of God’s creations Beauty= Moral Goodness Anatomical accuracy Emotion Artists so wanted to understand the physical human form in order to paint and sculpt it accurately that they stole cadavers and dissected them. Combined with live models and anatomical studies, the human form in art was rendered with a high level of naturalism. Artists combined the best features of many individuals to try and create the most beautiful people in paintings and sculptures. They worked in a highly naturalistic style because they believed that the human form was the noblest of God’s creations, so why abstract anything?
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Giotto and Duccio’s
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Both Giotto and Duccio’s increase in naturalism greatly influenced the Renaissance! Giotto creates scenes that utilize the depiction of deep space, and believable human interaction with emotions and movements. Note the compositional eye movement from the focal point of Christ and his mourners, along the sloping hill, then up the vertical tree and finally to the angels. Breaks with the Gothic by incorporating the viewer into the scene. The experiments of these two artists paved the way for the flowering of the art in the next century.
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Dontello
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is attributed with setting the precedent of using the human body as a framework for art. He first created a full-scale nude model in clay, then draped it with clay-soaked linen and arranged the fabric in folds. He is considered one of the first sculptors to use this method. Even though St. mark is fully robed, Donetello studied human anatomy as thoroughly as Michelangelo did for his nude statue of The David. Note the life-like movement in the fabric as it drapes on the muscle and bone structure that was accurately rendered. This sculpture is fully in-the-round and utilizes true contrapposto. The artists of the middle ages just looked at the figure as it was seen from the outside of the clothes. It seems as though St. Mark has his own personality.
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Leonardo Da Vinci (true “Renaissance Man”)
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1452-1519 Scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, Master painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. The renaissance man is a person who is very well informed about, or very good at doing many different, often quite unrelated things. Leonardo da Vinci was the epitome of a true “Renaissance man.” Among his many accomplishments, he was a master painter, inventor, poet, architect, sculptor, engineer, scientist, and musician. To add to his intellectual endeavors in the study of human proportions, he often used “mirror writing,” as we often see in his hand written notes. Many consider him to be the greatest genius ever to have lived.
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Michelangelo Buonarroti
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1475-1564 Sculptor, painter, architect, poet, engineer “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all.” Here we see the new dome he designed for New St. Peter’s. The Basilica stands on the site of the old St. Peter’s Basilica from the Early Christian era. It was designed to merge the old and the new, combining the Classical cross-form with the circular dome. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the completion of the dome. This is one of Michelangelo’s most stunning achievements!
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Northern Renaissance
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Rebirth with a Gothic soul. c. 1420-1600 Flanders, Germany, The Netherlands
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What was going on in the Northen Renaissance?
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Printing press was invented in Germany in 1439. The Reformation began in Germany in 1517. Europe now is either Protestant or Catholic. Early phase evolved independent of the influence of Classical Antiquity. The Northern Renaissance was much more of a gradual occurrence than it was in Italy. The concerns of these artists were not the same as those of the Italians either. They did not live among the ruins of the Classical past, therefore they were not as influenced by it. They were not trying to “reclaim” anything. Italian influence didn’t really head north, they looked to Gothic art and grew from that. They were not really concerned with what was going on in Italy, they looked to the artists in Flanders (parts of present day northern Belgium, France and the Netherlands). Around 1500, Italian influence broke through and we see art morph from the “Late Gothic” style to the Northern Renaissance. The printing press was invented in Germany in 1439 by Johann Gutenberg. He printed the first widely available bible. This invention led to the decrease in illumination by hand. In 1517, the Reformation began with Martin Luther nailing his “Ninety-Five Theses” to the door of his church in Wittenberg, Saxony (Germany). The Protestant aesthetic shunned highly decorated church interiors which led to a sharp drop in commissions for altar pieces and religious decorations. A great deal of Renaissance art in the North was destined for private possession in homes.
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Major Artistic Achievements
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Development of oil paint Detail Printmaking: woodblock- led to the decrease of illuminated manuscripts. The artists of the North were concerned about portraying earthly detail. Instead of making sure that bodies were anatomically correct, they showed every hair on a persons head. They perfected the skill of rendering the precise outer appearance of subject matter and everyday life (genre), as opposed to idealized images
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oil paint
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Oil paint was widely developed and popularized in the North. There is evidence that oil paint had been originally invented in the Afghanistan region much earlier than this time, however it would have been used for different purposes and was not widely popular.
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Invention of printing press
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With the invention of the printing press by Johann Gutenberg, artists of the north developed and perfected printmaking techniques. Printmaking had been around before this in the form of woodblock “stamps” to use to make patterns on textiles and hand pulled woodblock prints from China as early as 868 CE.
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Difference between Northern Renaissance and Italian Renaissance
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Northern Renaissance: Surface detail and outer appearances. Rendering skill. Symbolism and tiny details. Italian Renaissance: Underlying structure of forms. Accurate perspective. Underlying musculature of the body.
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Baroque Art:
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1600-1750-energy, theatrical emotion, rich primary colors, dynamic composition and the strong presence of light High Drama! Theatrical Dynamic Opulent Heroic Energy High value contrast. The Baroque period lasted from about 1600 to 1750, the period of the Counter-Reformation in the Catholic countries of Europe. It is nicknamed the “Age of Colonization,” or “Age of Kings”. The Baroque period goes beyond the Renaissance philosophy of attempting to recreate the stoic, intellectual, classical art of Antiquity, by instilling art with emotion, dynamic composition, energy, richness, and sensual color. The patrons of the arts in the Catholic countries of Europe, i.e. Italy, Spain, Flanders, and France, were primarily the Church and the aristocracy. It is important to make a distinction between Baroque art in the Catholic countries of Europe and the art produced in Holland, a Protestant country. Since the Church and the aristocracy were in complete charge of the social structure and operation of Catholic countries, in a way they worked in collusion to maintain a particular status quo. They determined the character of the art produced under their auspices.
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Rococo:
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1700’s pastel colors, lighthearted, secular subjects, art for the aristocracy
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Neoclassical:
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1750-1850-Italian Renaissance, classical compositions and motifs
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What was going on during the 17th and 18th century?
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This was a time of powerful kings and Queens. The Age of Discovery: exploration and colonization of the Americas. Lots of wealth was going around. Italy/the Vatican renewed the Counter Reformation. This was a time of powerful kings and queens known as the Age of Kings. The kings ruled with almost dictatorial power. There was a lot of wealth going around because of all of the money coming from explorations and colonial settlements. The Age of Discovery began in the early 1400’s and continued into the 1600’s. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Europeans needed to find more trade routes with Asia, so they took to the seas. They explored Africa, Asia, the Americas and Islands of the South Pacific. At this time, the Dutch, English and the French had established permanent settlements in North America. Jamestown, Virginia was the first permanent English settlement in the Americas. Established in 1607. Spain and Portugal had earlier claims to much of Central and South America. The Catholic Church renewed the Counter Reformation in response to the Reformation of the Protestants begun by Martin Luther 1517. Holland, to the contrary, was not beholden to the Pope, the Catholic Church, or an aristocratic segment of society, and was mostly middle-class in nature. Finnish artists only had to answer to their personal taste and their pocket books. In Holland, a Protestant country, religious subject matter was not nearly as common as themes taken from everyday life such as landscapes, still-lifes, genre scenes, and portraits.
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Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
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(Italian pronunciation: [karaˈvaddʒo]; 29 September 1571 – 18 July 1610) was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque school of painting.[1] Caravaggio trained as a painter in Milan under Simone Peterzano who had himself trained under Titian. In his early twenties Caravaggio moved to Rome where, during the late 16th and early 17th centuries, many huge new churches and palazzi were being built and paintings were needed to fill them. During the Counter-Reformation, the Roman Catholic Church searched for religious art with which to counter the threat of Protestantism, and for this task the artificial conventions of Mannerism, which had ruled art for almost a century, no longer seemed adequate. Caravaggio’s novelty was a radical naturalism that combined close physical observation with a dramatic, even theatrical, use of chiaroscuro. This came to be known as Tenebrism, the shift from light to dark with little intermediate value. He burst upon the Rome art scene in 1600 with the success of his first public commissions, the Martyrdom of Saint Matthew and Calling of Saint Matthew. Thereafter he never lacked commissions or patrons, yet he handled his success poorly. He was jailed on several occasions, vandalized his own apartment, and ultimately had a death warrant issued for him by the Pope. An early published notice on him, dating from 1604 and describing his lifestyle three years previously, tells how “after a fortnight’s work he will swagger about for a month or two with a sword at his side and a servant following him, from one ball-court to the next, ever ready to engage in a fight or an argument, so that it is most awkward to get along with him.”[3] In 1606 he killed a young man in a brawl and fled from Rome with a price on his head. He was involved in a brawl in Malta in 1608, and another in Naples in 1609, possibly a deliberate attempt on his life by unidentified enemies. This encounter left him severely injured. A year later, at the age of 38, he died under mysterious circumstances in Porto Ercole, reportedly from a fever while on his way to Rome to receive a pardon. Famous while he lived, Caravaggio was forgotten almost immediately after his death, and it was only in the 20th century that his importance to the development of Western art was rediscovered. Despite this, his influence on the new Baroque style that eventually emerged from the ruins of Mannerism was profound. It can be seen directly or indirectly in the work of Rubens, Jusepe de Ribera, Bernini, and Rembrandt, and artists in the following generation heavily under his influence were called the “Caravaggisti” or “Caravagesques”, as well as Tenebrists or “Tenebrosi” (“shadowists”). Andre Berne-Joffroy, Paul ValĂ©ry’s secretary, said of him: “What begins in the work of Caravaggio is, quite simply, modern painting.”
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Rococo Art
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18th Century France, England, Germany, Italy & Austria Ornate, Elaborate Luxury! Decorative Romantic & Erotic Profuse Playful & Lighthearted Intimate Scale Soft, pastel colors Rococo art and culture can be regarded as the last decadent phase of the Baroque period. It maintains all the ornate surfaces, beautiful colors, energy, and grace of Baroque, but removes deeper meanings. It is full of fluffy brushwork, fluffy women, and fluffy themes. It is also beautiful, elegant, sensuous, and skillfully produced. Instead of the dark, rich colors of Baroque art, Rococo favors a pastel palette. In comparison to Baroque art is is far more playful and lighthearted. Rococo art is a reflection of the privileged life of the aristocracy and royal family. Many paintings were escapist and erotic, featuring pastoral landscapes, theatrical myths of love, and porcelain toned aristocrats on leisurely outings. This is a time of men and women wearing frilly lace and bows, flowers powdered wigs and big, big hair. Rococo art was short-lived, as was the trivial pursuit of pleasure. The name Rococo came from the French word Rocaille meaning rock and/or shell garden decoration and the Italian word Barocco (Baroque). The end of the 18th century saw the American and French Revolutions whose political tone ushered in a new, more serious Neoclassical style.

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