Italian Renaissance Art 1Running head: Italian Renaissance Art Italian Renaissance Art Phase #3, Assignment #5, Discussion Board Entry #3 TSgt Loren Karl-Robinson Schwappach Colorado Technical University Prepared for Tammy Starzyk HUM140-0804A-08 Art Appreciation 24 October, 2008
Italian Renaissance Art 2 Abstract The Italian “Renaissance” or “rebirth” (late 14th century to early 16th century) was one ofthe most influential and fruitful periods in art history. Some of the greatest innovators duringthis triumphant period were Masaccio (in painting), Donatello (in sculpture), and Brunelleschi(in architecture). The Italian Renaissance further redefined the artist’s role within society. Priorto the Italian Renaissance artists were mere craftsman. After the Italian Renaissance artistsbecame regarded as members of the elite liberal arts, often attributing artists to geniuses withlinks to the divine. The Italian Renaissance brought a renewed interest in classical antiquity (alove for the early works of Greek and Rome) and set a point of departure from the medieval tothe modern world laying the foundations for modern Western values and society. Thisdiscussion will go over three works (a painting, a sculpture, and a building) of this fantasticperiod of rebirth and the masterminds that gave them to our world.
Italian Renaissance Art 3 The Italian Renaissance brought about the marriage of art, mathematics, and science.The artist and the scientist both sought mastery of the tangible world as can be seen in thecreations of this period. Specifically, art paintings profited through the scientific studies ofanatomy, and mathematical perspective. Breakthroughs in anatomy increased the artists abilityto accurately present the human body, and perspective granted the artists increased ability inmolding a two dimensional surface into illusions of three dimensions. Although perspective-likeimagery was used in early art history even back in the early Roman times where Roman artisanscreated masterful three dimensional wall paintings, this effect was only achieved through anexperimental means. The discovery of a mathematical method of attaining three-dimensionalimpressions is attributed to Brunelleschi (the architect). Thanks to Brunelleschi’s work,mathematical perspective became one of the primary instruments artists, especially painters usedin their pursuit of reality. The marriage of art and science were so entwined in fact that manyartists were also masters of Science, the famous Leonardo da Vinci is just one such example.(Italian Renaissance Art, 2006) One of the great contributions of the Italian Renaissance to paintings was the return ofRoman flavored Florentine style of which the tempera and fresco were the most commontechniques. Tempera paintings used dry surfaces, such as a wooden panel coated with plasterand glue. The colors were tempered with egg or vegetable albumin. The fresco technique,influenced deeply by early Roman artwork and used widely in churches involved painting on wetplaster (See my post on Roman Wall Paintings). As the plaster dried, the colors became apermanent part of the masterpiece. It was Masaccio (1401-1428) that revolutionized Florentinepainting. He granted his paintings nobility, unity of the composition, controlled movements, anda command of aerial perspective. Masaccio’s fresco dramatizing the biblical Christian Expulsion
Italian Renaissance Art 4from the Garden of Eden (See Image 1) is an example of the rebirth of the Florentine styleimbued with the mastery of anatomy and mathematical proportions that made the ItalianRenaissance so transformational. In the fresco Masaccio paints an image of Adam and Evemoving in disgrace and disgust out of the life giving Garden of Eden chased out by an angel ofthe Lord into the barren dessert. Retreating from the middle ages modest and gothic styles of artAdam and Eve walk naked in their sin, covering their eyes, and body parts in humility. Noticethe mastery of movement and body composition in the fresco. (Italian Renaissance Art, 2006) Donatello (1386-1466), a famous sculptor and artist from Florence, Italy was yet anothergreat contributor to the Italian Renaissance, specifically in the creation of sculptures. Affectedby the revival of antiquity and the study of ancient art work, Donatello is considered by many asthe greatest sculptor that ever lived. His works are defined by his mastery of the human bodyand realism. As a sculptor he had the ability to capture the emotional and psychological states ofhis subjects into many forms. His bronze statue of the biblical king David (see image #2), is agreat testament to his genius and mastery of his craft and the contributions of anatomy to hisfield. The statue of David was the first free standing nude male sculpture of the ItalianRenaissance and depicts young king David with an energetic smile while pressing his foot on thesevered giant Goliath’s head and holding his enormous sword. The statue is a tribute to theawesome power of God over men, and captures the rebirth of antiquity, and the influence ofscience and religion in art. (Italian Renaissance Art, 2006) Architecture in the Renaissance was mainly Christian and was a tribute to Romanarchitecture, and a retreat from the gothic pointed arches from the medieval period of art history.The architect Brunelleschi (1337-1446) is considered by many the first of great ItalianRenaissance architects. By studying the remains of ancient Roman buildings and using the
Italian Renaissance Art 5columns, arches, and vaults of in his designs (see my post on Roman Architecture) Brunelleschiconstructed the Opedale degli Innocenti (Foundling Hospital) of Florence (See image 3), builtbetween 1419 and 1424. The Opedale degli Innocenti was an orphanage for children andhospital and is considered the first true Renaissance building. Here Brunelleschi shows the useof the mathematical proportions that exemplify the Italian Renaissance by referring to the size ofthe columns as the basis for the other dimensions. The hospitals round arches, supported byslender columns, and the vaults, which consist of a series of small domes, are a direct reflectionon the Roman rebirth of Roman style architecture within the new age. (Italian Renaissance Art,2006)
Italian Renaissance Art 6 Appendix Image 1: Artist, Masaccio: Type: Fresco: Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (c. 1424-1428): Image obtained on 24 October 2008from Artchive website at: http://www.artchive.com/artchive/M/masaccio/masaccio_expulsion.jpg.html Image 2: Artist, Donatello: Type: Marble Statue: David (c. 1440s): Image obtained on 24 October 2008 from Artchive website at:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donatello%27s_David
Italian Renaissance Art 7 Appendix Image 3: Artist, Brunelleschi: Type: Masonry, Stone building: Ospedale Degli Innocenti (1424-1425): Image obtained on 24 October2008 from Essential World Architecture website at: http://www.italian-architecture.info/FL/FL-004.htm
Italian Renaissance Art 8 ReferencesStokstad, M. (2007). Art: a brief history (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.Italian Renaissance Art. (April, 2006). Retrieved on October 24, 2008 from http://vlib.iue.it/carrie/texts/carrie_books/gilbert/07.html