RENAISSANCE: INTRODUCTION Means “rebirth” in French Term first used by Giorgio Vasari* to describe the renewal of classical Greek and Roman arts, movement toward perfection(* Biographer of the artists, and contemporary art historian)
THE “DIGNITY OF MAN” AND THE REVIVAL OF HUMANISM Man is God’s most excellent creation. Man is excellent because he alone can know God. Man also has the ability to master his fate, and live happily in this world. Humanism replaced Medieval Scholasticism. Focused more on ethical and political philosophy.
Going back to the ancients While some ancient authors, especially Aristotle, were very well known and were used for medieval thought as well as Catholic theology and cosmology, many others had fallen by the wayside. There were several reasons for this. There was the general decline in literacy and learning during the medieval period, but, more importantly, Greek and proper Latin were no longer spoken or read. Therefore, most people couldn’t read the ancient works even if they had them.
Going back to the ancientsAnother reason is that many of the works were lost to western Europe. Once the Renaissance was under way, people started hunting them down. Some were found in monastery libraries where they had gathered dust for centuries. Many others came via Muslims. They had preserved many works that started finding their way back to Europe due to trading and also because of the Reconquista of Spain. The influence came not just from the original works, but also from Muslim commentaries on the works.
The printing press Johann Gutenberg, born 1398, a German metal-worker Added the innovation of movable-type – metal, interchangeable characters Replacing wood block type - expensive Borrowed from China? The Gutenberg Bibles, beginning 1455 Legacy: will allow for future “turning points” including the Renaissance, Protestant Reformation and the Scientific Revolution
WHY DID THE RENAISSANCE ORIGINATE IN ITALY? Strongest urban development. Very little distinction between landed aristocracy and wealthy merchants. Commerce and trade created a greater demand for literacy. Italy was littered with reminders of its classical past. Wealthiest in Europe (trade and banking).
PATRONAGE OF THE ARTS Demonstrating civic pride Competition between wealthy families. Types of works: building of palaces, chapels, decoration of churches…use of family coat of arms
Characteristics Rejection of mythological themes or the cult of the nude. Religiouse painting basically. Normally completed in oil. The figures are all of the same size and anatomically correct. The colors and the shading are applied in tonal ranges. To accentuate the Italian style: a candelieri and Roman ruins on foreground.
Techniques The use of perspective Foreshortening (the appearance that the object of a drawing is extending into space by shortening the lines with which that object is drawn) Sfumato (the application of subtle layers of translucent paint so that there is no visible transition between colors, tones and often objects) Chiaroscuro (use of exaggerated light contrasts in order to create the illusion of volume) Balance and Proportion
LIFE AND CHARACTERISTICS His real name was Doménikos Theotokóupolos. El Greco (The Greek) was a nickname, a reference to his Greek origin. He was an important architect, painter and sculptor. He was born in Crete in 1541. At 26 years old he travelled to Venice, and in 1570 he moved to Rome, where he opened a workshop. Seven years later, he moved to Toledo, in Spain, where he lived and work until his death. In Toledo he produced his most famous paintings. He wanted to work with the King Philip the 2nd, but he couldn’t reach his dream. The King didn´t like his style. He gave much importance to the colours and liked to elongate the figures. His style was really original. He died in 1614
TECHNIQUE Color have primacy over form (the painter liked "the colors crude and unmixed in great blots as a boastful display of his dexterity“) Tendency to dramatize rather than to describe. Each figure seems to carry its own light within or reflects the light that emanates from an unseen source
It represents the moment before he Crucifixion. Christ looks up to Heaven with an expression of serenity. There are a lot of people surrounding him. His red robe symbolizes the sacrifice he’s going to do to save the Humanity.
It represents a legend of the beginning of the 14th century: the count of Orgaz was a very generous man, and because of that, when he died, Saint Stephen (Esteban) and Saint Agustine (Agustín) descended in person from the heavens and buried him by their own hands.
The painting is divided intotwo zones: Upper zone Heaven (Paradise) with Christ, the Virgin, Saint Joan and other saints. Lower zone The burial of the Count with Saint Stephen, Saint Agustine and the people present at the ceremony.
Two monks Self-portrait Count of Orgaz Saint Stephen Saint AgustineEl Greco’s son
Christ, the Virgin, Saint Joan andSaint Peter the angel form an oval The angel holds in his hands the soul of the Count to take it to the Paradise.