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Introduction to Western Humanities - 7a - Early Renaissance
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Introduction to Western Humanities - 7a - Early Renaissance

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Seventh lecture for GNED 1202 (Texts and Ideas). It is a required general education course for all first-year students at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. My version of the course is ...

Seventh lecture for GNED 1202 (Texts and Ideas). It is a required general education course for all first-year students at Mount Royal University in Calgary, Canada. My version of the course is structured as a kind of Intro to Western Civilization style course.

The Renaissance lecture has been divided into three parts. This is the first.

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  • Guido do Graziano [1400] How do we get from this ...
  • ... to this Michelangelo, Sistine chapel [circa 1500]
  • The term ‘Renaissance’ refers to a profound and enduring upheaval and transformation in culture, politics, art, and society in Europe between the years 1400 and 1600. The word describes both a period in history and a more general ideal of cultural renewal.
  • Florence
  • Baptistery, Florence. In 1400 a return of the plague killed about 1/5 of the population. Also, for most of the year, the city was under siege by the armies of Milan. In 1401 in celebration of the victory over Milan a competition was held for the sculptures on the doors of the Baptistery. Each competitor had to provide a panel showing the old testament scene of the sacrifice of Isaac (God testing Abraham’s faith).
  • In this game are used both feet and hands, it’s a kind of mix between soccer, rugby and Greco-roman wrestling. Goals can be scored by throwing the ball over a designated spot on the perimeter of the field. The playing field is a giant sand pit with a goal running the width of each end. The modern version allows tactics such as head-butting, punching, elbowing, and choking, but forbids sucker-punching and kicks to the head.
  • Baptistery Doors by Ghiberti
  • The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401 - Competition for Baptistery doors: entry by Filippo Brunelleschi
  • The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401 - Competition for Baptistery doors: entry by Lorenzo Ghiberti
  • Prize jointly awarded. Brunelleschi refused to work with Ghiberti and left Florence with his friend Donatello to travel, study, and live in Rome. (He stays for 13 years). Ghiberti thus won the competition and worked on the doors for the next 20 years.
  • Saint Mark , by Donatello, c. 1413. Jeremiah by Donatello, c. 1413.
  • Compare to gothic sculpture
  • Recreating the naturalistic style of Roman portrait sculpture. Vasari in his chapter on Donatello says that as he was carving one of these early sculptures, he began yelling “Speak, Speak to me, dammit.”
  • David , by Donatello, c. 1430-1440. First large-scale nude sculpture since antiquity (1000+ years).
  • Brunelleschi’s perspective demonstration
  • Donatello, The Feast of Herod, c. 1425.
  • Masaccio. Holy Trinity, c. 1425. Masaccio died when he was only 26, but using Brunelleschi's innovations, revolutionized painting.
  • Masaccio, The Tribute Money [1425-8] Alludes to an episode in Florentine politics, namely the imposition of a property tax on all citizens
  • Showing the orthogonal perspective lines
  • Brancacci Chapel
  • Francesca, The Flagellation of Christ [1460s]
  • Perugino, Delivery of the Keys, 1481
  • Francesco Di Giorgio Martini. Architectural Perspective, late 15th century; An Ideal City , mid-15th century.
  • Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloister of Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
  • [gothic style cathedral 1200-1500s]
  • York Cathedral [1230-1472] (High Gothic Style)
  • Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloister of Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
  • Cloister, Gloucester Cathedral [High Gothic]
  • Filippo Brunelleschi. Interior of Santo Spirito, Florence, planned 1434.
  • Filippo Brunelleschi. Interior of Santo Spirito, Florence, planned 1434.
  • Typical gothic style
  • Interior of Santo Spirito
  • Interior of Santo Spirito
  • Michelozzo Bartolomeo, Monastery of San Marco
  • Florence Cathedral (Duomo) [1296-1426] Dome [1420-6] by Brunelleschi
  • Pantheon, Rome built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian around 126 CE.
  • Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.

Introduction to Western Humanities - 7a - Early Renaissance Introduction to Western Humanities - 7a - Early Renaissance Presentation Transcript

  • Lecture 7cEARLY RENAISSANCEINTRO TO WESTERN HUMANITIES
  • So how do we get fromthis ...
  • Guido do Graziano [1400] View slide
  • To this ... View slide
  • Michelangelo, Sistine chapel [circa 1500]
  • In 100 years?
  • The term Renaissance refers to a profound and enduring upheaval andtransformation in culture, politics, art, and society throughout Europe betweenthe years 1400 and 1600. The word describes both: • a period in history and • a more general ideal of cultural renewal.
  • I used to marvel and at the same time to grieve that so many excellent andsuperior arts and sciences from our most vigorous antique past could seemlacking and wholly lost. … Thus I believed … that Nature had grown old andtired and no longer produced either geniuses or giants which in her moreyouthful and more glorious days she had produced so marvelously andabundantly.Since then, I have been brought back here to Florence … I have tounderstand that … in you, Filippo Brunelleschi, and in our close friendDonatello, the sculpture, and in others like Ghiberti … and Massaccio, thereis a genius for every praiseworthy thing. Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting, 1434
  • For about 150 years (1375-1525), Italy was the center of trade and commercein Europe and thus relatively rich. Florence was the banking centre and itscurrency (the florin) was the currency of international trade.Later Atlantic exploration (1500-1700) shifted trade and wealth to Portugal,Spain, France, Holland, and England.
  • Baptistery, Florence.In 1400 a return of the plague killed about 1/5 of the population. Also,for most of the year, the city was under siege by the armies of Milan.In 1401 in celebration of the victory over Milan a competition was heldfor the sculptures on the doors of the Baptistery. Each competitor had toprovide a panel showing the Old Testament scene of the sacrifice of Isaac(God testing Abraham’s faith).
  • Like the ancient Greeks, theFlorentines of the 15th centuryseemed to have a love ofcompetition …
  • A Game of Calcio Storico in the Piazza SantaMaria Novella, Florence, 1555
  • Florence’s four districts eachhad/have a team with playerspulled from prison. It was/is acombination of rugby andMMA.
  • http://vimeo.com/5257343The game is played with 27 men on each side, twoballs, eight refs, no breaks, no time out and nosubstitutions over a period of fifty minutes. Ten menon each side are allowed to brawl with anyone onthe other team. Ambulances come onto the pitchwithout stopping the game. First prize? Steaks.
  • The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401 -Competition for Baptistery doors:entry by Filippo Brunelleschi
  • The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401 -Competition for Baptistery doors:entry by Lorenzo GhibertiPrize jointly awarded. Brunelleschirefused to work with Ghiberti andleft Florence with his friendDonatello to travel, study, and livein Rome. (He stays for 13 years).
  • Saint Mark,by Donatello,c. 1413.Jeremiahby Donatello,c. 1413.
  • Contrapposto
  • Donatello also revived the naturalistic style ofRoman portrait sculpture.Vasari in his chapter on Donatello says that as hewas carving one of these early sculptures, he beganyelling “Speak, Speak to me, dammit.”
  • David, by Donatello, c. 1430-1440.First large-scale nude sculpture sinceantiquity (1000+ years).
  • In 1417, upon his return to Florence, Brunelleschipainted perhaps the most influential painting in thehistory of art (which unfortunately was destroyed around1494).In this painting, Brunelleschi painted the FlorenceBaptistery in true perspective.
  • Brunelleschi’s perspective demonstration painting
  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&
  • Brunelleschi is thus credited for “discovering”mathematical perspective (the method of representing3D objects on a 2D surface that gives a realisticimpression of true position, size, and distance) and itspractical application in drawing.Soon after, nearly every artist in Florence and in Italy usedgeometrical perspective in their paintings. Indeed, until20th Century modernism, almost every painting for almost500 years used his perspective technique.
  • Donatello,The Feast of Herod,c. 1425.
  • Masaccio. Holy Trinity, c. 1425.Masaccio died when he was only26, but using Brunelleschisinnovations, revolutionizedpainting.
  • Masaccio, The Tribute Money [1425-8]
  • Perhaps the best way to appreciate Masaccio’s impact onhis 15th century contemporaries is to compare his art tothat produced just a few years before by others.
  • Compare the architectural details, themodeling of the figures, the naturalism of theexpressions in Massacio’s work
  • Again notice the naturalism of theexpressions, the realism of the infant, inMassacio’s work
  • BrancacciChapel
  • Perhaps the best analogy, for theimpact that Masaccio had on paintingmight be by examining the state ofvideo game graphics in 1991 and 1992.And then comparing this to what wasreleased in 1993…
  • Masaccio was the Myst of the 1420s.
  • Brunelleschi’s discovery of perspective and its initialapplication by Masaccio inspired all subsequentItalian painting of the 15th century.
  • Francesca, The Flagellation of Christ [1460s]
  • Perspective became a code or shorthand for theideal of perfection during this time …
  • Perugino, Delivery of the Keys, 1481
  • (top) Francesco Di Giorgio Martini. Architectural Perspective, late 15th century; (bottom) An Ideal City, mid-15th century.
  • Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloisterof Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
  • To understand the innovation in Brunelleschi’sarchitecture we have to compare it to the dominantarchitectural style of the day for churches, French Gothic.
  • gothic style cathedral 1200-1500s
  • York Cathedral [1230-1472] (High Gothic Style)
  • Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloisterof Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
  • Cloister, Gloucester Cathedral [High Gothic]
  • Cloister, Santa Croce [Brunelleschi]
  • Filippo Brunelleschi. Interior of Santo Spirito,Florence, planned 1421.
  • Filippo Brunelleschi. Interior of Santo Spirito,Florence, planned 1421.
  • Typical gothic style
  • Interior of Santo Spirito
  • Florence Cathedral (Duomo) [1296-1426]Dome [1420-6] by Brunelleschi
  • In 1367, city held competition for dome. The winningentry called for a dome with a diameter of 173 feet,larger than any dome in existence, has well as higherthan any existing vault. They didn’t know how to buildit; they put their faith in future progress, that anarchitect in the future would figure how to build it.
  • Pantheon, Rome built during the reign of EmperorHadrian around 126 CE.
  • Almost two thousand years after it wasbuilt, the Pantheons dome is still theworlds largest unreinforced concretedome.
  • Pantheon [126 CE] Hagia Sophia [537 CE] Gothic cathedrals DuomoRome Constantiople [1200-1400 CE] Florence
  • In 1418, the city held another competition, this time for asolution to building the dome. One of the key constraintswas that the winning entry was not to use woodencentering, the standard practice for building arches anddomes since the Romans.Because of the height and size of the Dome, usingwooden centering would have completely deforested theland around Florence.
  • Another complication are the downward and outwardcompression pressures of a dome.In Pantheon, the pressure was absorbed by incrediblythick concrete walls and a progressively thinner dome.In Gothic style, those pressures are absorbed by flyingbuttresses.
  • Brunelleschi’s solution was to make the dome hollow, anduse vertical and horizontal ribs made out of iron andconcrete to contain the stresses.The horizontal ribs acts like a belt containing the outwardpressures.The outside bricks are in a herringbone pattern and“stapled” with iron, thus eliminating the need for woodencentering.
  • He also designed the two key engineeringinventions of the Renaissance: the hoistand the crane.He also invented the first paddle-wheelboat (for shipping stone).
  • The architects of the great Gothic cathedrals wereunknown. Brunelleschi changed society’s esteem ofarchitecture and the architect.With Brunelleschi, we see the word “genius” applied to aliving individual for the first time since antiquity.
  • In Brunelleschi’s amazing brilliance (invention ofperspective, invention of Renaissance architecture,solving the Dome, and his engineering inventions), thewriters of the Renaissance had their proof thatcontemporary man was as great, and indeed greater thanthose of classical antiquity.He also “invented” the personality pattern that manysubsequent creative artists would try to emulate: moody,unsociable, suspicious of others, poor hygiene,unconcerned with personal riches, convinced of his ownbrilliance, creating to achieve future glory, etc.
  • For the writers and artists of the Renaissance,Brunelleschi and the other greats that were to followhim, provided an argument that maybe humans areonly a fingertip’s width away from divinity … An ideathat is very far away indeed from the Medievalworldview.