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Renaissance and Realism Art Periods Essay

Renaissance art period

Renaissance is an art period which originated from Italy between the thirteenth and the fourteenth century. Some people refer to it as a rebirth of art. In Italy, some artists and scholars had a self-made belief that they were rekindling the achievements and morals previously exhibited by the Roman culture. The renaissance era was around 1280-1400 (Earnshaw, 2010).

Giovanni and his counterpart Petrarch are some of the known painters of the era. They were so keen on identifying language structures to communicate key messages. The Roman Empire broke down because the style was not showing any progress for quite long. The artists in the early period relied mainly on the patrons who sustained them with the money they got. The paintings of the time alongside the artwork were presented mythically and also depicted the religious aspect. Such paintings were acquired through artistic developments that used imaginary lines to create moderate views of things.

The distance between the paintings and the viewers was not an essential element in renaissance art. The information found in the style was deep and with natural details. Real information was used in the renaissance period to show reality. Images of humans were used as a natural entity to make the reality deeper. There was a different administration strategy used during the period which was centralized in the city-states rather than capitalism. The presence of the monarchial administration helped most merchants to come up, something that led to the development of the economy in Italy as a country. Such growth in the economy supported both public and private projects of arts.

On the eve of the renaissance era, three great artists sprang up and changed the general view of the period by developing interesting artistic elements. Michelangelo greatly contributed to the birth and development of the period. He was later joined by Leonardo da Vinci who came up with the use of real nature at a tender age. Raphaelo, a charming youngster later came up though he had a short life in the art industry because he died at the age of 37. By then the renaissance period was characterized by the use of human internal features (Earnshaw, 2010). The artists focused on studies that dealt with how to improve previous artwork and methods of making them appealing to the eye. This was between the 14th and 15th century where all the paintings had a symbolic meaning. By then the renaissance style had gone as far as European countries.

Realism period

In ancient times, most artistic features were greatly based on romanticism and had included the culture of the ancient. With intentions of abolishing such ancient traditions, realism introduced a new school of thought which dealt with real things in the world. It was first initiated in France by a novelist in the year 1840s. Courbet, a major proponent of realism was rejected in his exposition of paintings, something that provoked him to open a marquee. In his artistic works, he was against the ancient paintings which had similarities to the renaissance style (Pettegree, 2010). According to him, ancient realism had some concepts of romanticism hence could not get along with the modern world. To him, Colors symbolized different aspects of the nation. In realism, details used enabled viewers to have analytical analysis. It showed the message in a real and natural way without covering up some of the issues. In realism, the art or painting is presented as an ordinary object available in the surrounding. Also, objects used should bring accurate messages without causing too many suspensions. The realism artists adopted it since they perceived it as an honest way of using painting to deliver their message. It also showed the total image needed by most rulers in their politics. Moreover, it was used to show the real image of the subjects without provoking the rulers to react.

In the 19th century, a sub-branch of realism sprout up which intentions of drifting away from real realism. It formed the late realism in which politics and social issues were left out from the paintings and images. The new branch specialized with naturalism in history and biological sciences. The term “naturalism” was therefore introduced by Jules-Antoine Castagnary in 1863. The main aim was to balance the facts of nature with science, something which real realism failed to achieve. Artists of this period used most traditional brushwork and gloomy weather in landscapes. The paintings majorly covered an analogous range of subjects. This style was therefore introduced because the artist had seen the need to incorporate science in natural arts to bring out clear and more natural images.

Analysing the historical periods

Renaissance and realism are styles of art used by the artist to send a message or portray a picture of something. Both styles aimed at communicating deep artistic messages to the viewers without provoking hard feelings. Though they differed in origin they almost had the same objective to the viewers. The renaissance period used religious and emotional thoughts while realism dealt with real aspects of life.


Both styles used human sculptures for religious purposes in the paintings during the early period while the late period showed concern in studies. Secondly, in the early period, the images were showing the outer images of the human while in the late period the images showed deeper anatomy of humans (Pettegree, 2010). Thirdly in the late period color was used to signify some ideas in both periods which made the paintings more captivating.


The early period of renaissance came up to help cover the culture and beliefs of Rome while the late period advent due to the need to accommodate other countries’ beliefs not to be concentrated on Rome. The early period of realism came up to do away with the style of romanticism which included many personal feelings while the late period brought some sense of naturalism into the paintings and images. In the late period, the artist depended on their skills (Earnshaw, 2010). In realism, during the early period, the arts were used to bring out some political issues while in the late period they tried to avoid politics and social issues, therefore, combining science with nature. Realism mainly majored in the common man and did not put into account the extraordinary man. Early realism considered all the facts about all beings including the extraordinary man.

Purpose of continuing with earlier historical art period or deviating from it

Later renaissance period was better compared earlier since most of the artifacts were based on real and natural situations. Most paintings depicted nature and existing circumstances. For instance, the painting of Leonardo da Vinci which he painted “The Last Supper” showed the last gathering of the disciples of Jesus Christ with their master. It brought out a deeper meaning when related to the name itself. In the early renaissance, the images were carved and painted to create a form of a human but had depth and strength to make the viewer have a closer view despite the viewing distance. The painting of Brancacci Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in 1427 in Florence depicts the lack of attractiveness of the paintings. They were made long but they are not very influential (Pettegree, 2010).

The later period of realism was the most influential because it included science in the artwork. Though it was later rejected too, it used better ways of expressing life. For instance, the use of photography to create a natural image was a good method of capturing the real world. Ilya Repin was one of the period’s artists and he came up with the realism style as in the art Bargemen in the Volga (1870). Later on, people came to identify realism by relating it to art schools that led people like Courbet to lead the French school. Other paintings produced in the era included paintings like those done by Romantic Theondore Gericault especially his asylum portraits.

Influence of the later historical periods on the art world

The later period of renaissance led to the evolvement of the real and natural artifacts which were mythical and had a historic world. Renaissance was an endeavor of the intellectuals to learn and perk up the material and sophisticated through reinforcement of views from ancient times and through work of fictional approaches to consider.

Realism generally moved away from ideology and this created a new approach towards the average life. It reflected a progressive and extremely influential swing in the importance and purpose of art (Pettegree, 2010). It also prejudiced some contemporary art styles like Impressionism.


Earnshaw,S.E.(2010). Beginning realism.Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Pettegree,A.Y.(2010). The book in the Renaissance.New Haven: Yale University Press New Haven, CT.

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"Renaissance and Realism Art Periods." IvyPanda, 30 Sept. 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/renaissance-and-realism-art-periods/.

1. IvyPanda. "Renaissance and Realism Art Periods." September 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/renaissance-and-realism-art-periods/.


IvyPanda. "Renaissance and Realism Art Periods." September 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/renaissance-and-realism-art-periods/.


IvyPanda. 2020. "Renaissance and Realism Art Periods." September 30, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/renaissance-and-realism-art-periods/.


IvyPanda. (2020) 'Renaissance and Realism Art Periods'. 30 September.

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