The Renaissance movement started at a local level yet soon expanded. The Early Renaissance was mostly represented by Italian artists, including painters and sculptors. However, with the advance of European ideas, philosophies, and especially the Christian religion, the movement grew. Gaining new ideas and inspirations, it soon became one of the most important eras in the history of humankind.
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Art Pieces: Exploring the Changes and Their Nature
“The Last Judgment”
The fresco by Michelangelo depicts the second coming of Jesus. The anatomy of the characters, as well as the use of color and space, are particularly striking in this art piece.1 “The Last Judgment” alludes to the Bible, as well as several other religious texts, thus representing a combination of philosophical and theological influences.
The book by Chrysoloras introduced the Renaissance audience to the key concepts of Greek art.2 Introducing European readers to the Greek culture and, particularly, the Greek literature, “Erotemata” had a tremendous effect on the cultural trends in the European art world. The art piece also provided the grounds for promoting Humanism in Europe.
Painted by Titian, “Danae” exists in six versions and is often praised for its outstanding use of color. The fact that the picture is characterized by its fractured nature can be seen as the symbol of the cultural fusion that seized Europe at the time. Particularly, the introduction of the Greek cultural motifs could be seen in “Danae.”
Created by Quentin Metsijs, the painting depicts the Greek philosopher and starts promoting the Greek culture. The picture allowed European scholars to learn more about the Dutch humanist, as well as the principles of the Dutch philosophical thinking, in general. The painting incorporated the principles of chiaroscuro, which would, later on, define the era of Renaissance,
The philosophical narrative subverts the idea of an illusory perfection.3 Created by Thomas More, the specified artistic work marked a new epoch in literature and philosophy. More’s interpretation of a perfect state incorporated both secular and religious ideas, thus introducing Renaissance to the concepts of Christian Humanism.
The book by Marcillo Fiscino introduces its audience to the concept of Humanism. The book rendered the concept of immortality as a crucial characteristic of the human soul. The specified viewpoint allowed adding a religious stance to the Renaissance set of ideas and philosophies.
Created by Bosch, the drawing sends the viewer into a gloomy realm of hell. The painting is characteristic of the Early Renaissance.
“The Labyrinth of Crete”
Created by Buondelmonti, the drawing enthralls with its delicate imagery.4 The artist spent a vast amount of time detailing the unique nature of Crete before working on his painting. Relying on both the myth and the imagery that he witnessed with his own eyes, Buondelmonti created the art piece that allowed bridging the gap between European and Greek cultures.
Key Historical Figures
Advancing a range of areas of art, Michelangelo became famous due to his use of color and shape. His works can be considered the staple of the classic Renaissance.
Chrysoloras contributed heavily to the introduction of the Greek culture to the Renaissance.5 Particularly, he added the elements of the Greek culture to the Renaissance movement, thus incorporating the ideas of antiquity into it.
Hillard was one of the first artists to introduce the idea of miniature portraits. He prompted a new way of looking at the grandeur of Renaissance art and suggested a shift to smaller art forms.
The artist was most famous for his painting of Erasmus.6 Similar to other artists of the era, Metsijs attempted at promoting the acceptance of European Humanist ideas.
Being one of the artists that focused on promoting Greek art, More was famous for translating the satirical “Utopia” by Lucian.7 Moore seems to be the most significant European explorer since he introduced both Greek philosophy and a new interpretation of utopia to the Renaissance.
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Similar to other Italian Renaissance artists, the artist promoted the ideas of Humanism actively.8
Jan van Eyck
The Dutch artist became famous due to the high level of naturalism, which was unheard of at the time.
Encouraging the study of Greek art, Buondelmonti introduced a crucial innovation to the Renaissance movement.9
Renaissance Movement: Europe vs. Italy
The renaissance movement originated in Italy and was primarily focused on exploring new means of artistic expression. Analyzing possible combinations of color, shape, and other characteristics of art objects, the representatives of the Renaissance developed new techniques that were the initial focus.10 However, as the movement expanded to Europe, changes began to occur.
The introduction of the philosophy of Humanism started to enter the Renaissance movement, thus prompting a gradual change. European philosophers such as Thomas Mann introduced their concept of Humanism and encouraged the promotion of theological thinking that allowed exploring various facets of human life. The Humanist principles allowed prompting a gradual rise in the level of education, as well as the acquisition of new knowledge.11 Furthermore, the specified changes heralded the era of discoveries in all domains of sciences and humanities.
King, Margaret L. A Short History of the Renaissance in Europe. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016.
Turner, Hillary. “The Expanding Horizons of Christopher Buondelmonti.” History Today 40, (1990): 40-43.
Wooding, Lucy. “Christian Humanism: From Renaissance to Reformation.” History Review 64, (2009): 14-18.
- Lucy Wooding, “Christian Humanism: From Renaissance to Reformation,” History Review 64, (2009): 12.
- Ibid., 13.
- Ibid., 17.
- Hillary Turner, “The Expanding Horizons of Christopher Buondelmonti,” History Today 40, (1990): 41.
- Ibid., 40.
- Ibid., 40.
- Lucy Wooding, “Christian Humanism: From Renaissance to Reformation,” History Review 64, (2009): 16.
- Hillary Turner, “The Expanding Horizons of Christopher Buondelmonti,” History Today 40, (1990): 40.
- Lucy Wooding, “Christian Humanism: From Renaissance to Reformation,” History Review 64, (2009): 13.
- Margaret L. King, A Short History of the Renaissance in Europe (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2016), 337.
- Ibid., 337.