Changes in the realm of art might seem insignificant at first glance, yet the further scrutiny thereof will reveal that they have a profound impact on a range of domains of human life. Renaissance was one of the classic examples of how art may influence people’s lives tremendously. Because of the innovative ideas that captured Europe, a massive shift toward a new philosophy, as well as a range of societal changes, occurred, which could be observed in every piece of art produced at the time.
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Economic, Political, and Religious Situation in Italy in the 15th and 16th Centuries
The era of the Renaissance (14-16th centuries) in art is characterized by the revival of sculpture, architecture, painting, and music. The key examples of this artistic style belonged to Italy; from the Florence Cathedral designed by Filippo Brunelleschi to Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the art flourished with new ideas and perspectives. The ideas of humanist philosophy were especially important in the context of the artistic movement.1 It implied the focus on the worth and dignity of individuals and a downplay of religious dogmas. The image of government also changed, with Machiavelli’s “The Prince” suggesting that for political players, it is always better to be loved than feared.2
The weakened position of the Church contributed to the success of the Renaissance – the Vatican started spending a lot of money on architecture to regain its influence in the society. In social life, the period of the Renaissance is associated with exploration and discovery of the world. The architectural works of Alberti, Palladio, and Brunelleschi combined the prominent aspects of Ancient Roman temples with the new look on art. At that time, architecture represented more than buildings;3 it was the way of creating meaning and finding a balance with nature.
The Sonnets, Triumphs, and Other Poems of Petrarch
In the analysis of Petrarch’s works, Thomas Campbell suggests that the strong regard and respect for the poet is rooted in the society of Italy. He writes, “his renown has grown up like an oak which has reached maturity amidst the storms of ages, and fears not decay from revolving centuries.”4 This points to the fact that Petrarch’s poetry was something new for people, his language was charming because it was pure and brought thoughts about the era of Renaissance, which excited people and pushed them toward discovery and exploration.5 After reading some of Petrarch’s poetry, it becomes clear that the writer placed great importance on themes that were interesting to the general public. Thus, Petrarch was the poet of people, and brilliantly supported the ideas of humanism inherent to the age of Renaissance.
Art Pieces: Description
“Expulsion from the Garden” of Eden by Masaccio (1425)
The specified artwork demonstrates the development of a profound understanding of movement in painting.
“Gates of Paradise” by Lorenzo Ghiberti (1425)
The art piece challenges the social concept of religion and introduces a new interpretation thereof.
“The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli (1484-1486)
The painting became evocative of the shift toward the aesthetics of antiquity. “Venus” also features an innovative approach toward the perspective in painting.
“David” by Donatello (ca. 1435-1440)
“David “celebrates the beauty of the human body and invites the audience to appreciate it.
“Sistine Madonna” by Raphael (1512)
The combination of illusionism and balance in the painting introduces a new artistic technique.
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“The Last Supper” by Leonardo Da Vinci (1498)
Da Vinci‘s “Last Supper” represents a panoramic view, which was innovative at the time, and addresses one of the most sacred topics in the Christian religion.
”Mona Lisa” by Leonardo Da Vinci (1517)
The painting has been regarded as mysterious since the day of its conception and still remains the iconic image of the Renaissance era.
“Cristo della Minerva” by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1521)
The sculpture allowed imbuing the Biblical scene with several meanings through the use of contrapposto.
“Creation of Adam” by Michelangelo Buonarroti (1512)
Being the centerpiece of the Sistine Chapel, the painting represents God and angels in an entirely new way. The painting has affected the interpretation of traditional Christian imagery considerably.
“The Vitruvian Man” by Leonardo Da Vinci (ca. 1940)
The drawing introduces an entirely new manner of painting, focusing on the use of proportions and affecting all future artistic movements.
In retrospect, the Renaissance movement had tremendous significance for the further evolution of art and culture. The intellectual breakthrough that was made at the time allowed altering every domain including not only the artistic environment but also the economic setting, the political arena, and other aspects of public life. Herein lies the significance of the Renaissance. It started with the profound and philosophical ideas that were sparked in art and literature, particularly, poetry, paintings, and sculpture, gradually capturing the entire world and transforming people’s values and viewpoints. The scale of the Renaissance movement was truly tremendous, which is why its effects still echo in contemporary art movements such as installation art. The development of new elements such as perspective helped art evolve.
To conclude, the Renaissance movement was a bright light that overshadowed the Dark Ages. For the Late Medieval society, which was lost in the religious doctrines that restricted their life in multiple ways. The increased focus on humanism and scientific discovery, provided hope for the future. The reflection of new ideas can be seen in architecture, fine arts, and literature. Renaissance works were inspirational to society because they overcame religious boundaries and explored humans as important contributors to nature. Overall, the Renaissance paved the way for future social, cultural, political, and religious advancements, the impact of which cannot be underestimated.
“Architecture in Renaissance Italy.” Met Museum. Web.
Campbell, Thomas. Life of Petrarch. Wellington: Palala Press, 2015.
“Medieval Sourcebook: Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince [Excerpts], 1513.” Source Books. Web.
Petrarch, Francesco. The Sonnets, Triumphs, and Other Poems of Petrarch. Edited by Thomas Campbell. London: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015.
- “Architecture in Renaissance Italy,” Met Museum. Web.
- “Medieval Sourcebook: Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince [Excerpts], 1513,” Source Books. Web.
- “Architecture in Renaissance Italy,” Met Museum.
- Francesco Petrarch, The Sonnets, Triumphs, and Other Poems of Petrarch, ed. Thomas Campbell (London: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2015), 135.
- Thomas Campbell, Life of Petrarch (Wellington: Palala Press, 2015), 123.