Lecture 7 
FLORENCE 
and the 
EARLY 
RENAISSANCE 
AESTHETIC 
EXPERIENCE 
AND 
IDEAS
So how do we get from this 
...
Guido do Graziano [1400]
... to this ...
Michelangelo, Sistine chapel [circa 1500]
... in 100 years?
The term Renaissance refers to a 
profound p and enduring upheaval 
and transformation in culture, 
politics, art, and soc...
While renaissance ultimately 
becomes a European-wide 
phenomenon, it is initially (or even 
mainly) something that happen...
For about 300 years (1200-1525), Italy was the center of trade and 
commerce in Europe and thus relatively rich. 
Atlantic...
Much of the story of the 
early Renaissance is a 
story about Florence. 
Florence becomes a 
wealthy city initially 
becau...
The Renaissance develops in 
Florence for several interconnected 
reasons: 
1. Strong urban life. 
2. Development of human...
Urban life in Italy as a whole had 
remained strong, even during the 
medieval dark ages, and many 
secular values had bee...
The Renaissance develops in 
Florence for several interconnected 
reasons: 
1. Strong urban life. 
2. Development of human...
Renaissance humanism was a 
reaction against medieval scholastic 
education, and which emphasized 
practical, rhetorical, ...
It also endeavored to revive the 
cultural (esp. the literary) legacy 
and moral philosophy of classical 
antiquity … a le...
Early important Florentine humanists 
include Petrarch (1304-1374) and 
Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406).
By the late 1300s, humanist 
education was wide-spread 
amongst the Florentine elite. 
In fact literacy rates in Florence ...
The Renaissance develops in 
Florence for several interconnected 
reasons: 
1. Strong urban life. 
2. Development of human...
In the 13th century (1200-1299), 
Florence was torn by conflict between 
the textile merchants, their textile 
workers, an...
The aristocratic ruling elites of 13th 
century Florence were similar to other 
medieval elites in Europe: ideologically 
...
Towers of 
San Gimignano 
13th century Florence (like other Italian 
cities of the time) was dominated by the 
towers of t...
Eventually, by 1293, the merchants and 
the guild members were able to take 
control over Florence. They abolished 
serfdo...
In the Republic, nobles are barred from 
political office. It also provided for 
frequent changes of office to ensure that...
With a balance between its leading 
merchant families, Florence was now 
ruled by its guilds, which were 
associations of ...
This guild republic was the creation of 
the broad middle ranks of the city (the 
popolo): regional merchants, notaries, 
...
As a result of the constitution of 1293, 
Florentines developed a keen interest in 
their politics and became a community ...
The ideal of communal power becomes 
the key part of Florentine self-identity. 
This can be seen in the nature of the 
bui...
Santa Maria Novella [1279] 
Florence Cathedral [1294] 
Palazzo Vecchio [1299] 
Santa Croce [1294]
The only tower allowed in the 
Republic was that of Palazzo 
Vecchio, the city hall, the 
center of the Republican 
govern...
Cities ruled by kings or 
despots minimized public 
spaces because people 
coming together was 
perceived by the rulers as...
The 15th century Renaissance thus 
sprouts out of the fertile ground of 
the 14th century Florentine Republic, 
a communit...
This outlook on life and on politics is 
sometimes referred to as civic 
humanism: that is, the belief that 
participatory...
The renaissance and its focus on 
civic humanism helped shaped the 
modern conception of the 
individual. 
It is during th...
I marvel and at used to the same ttiimmee ttoo ggrriieevvee tthhaatt ssoo mmaannyy eexxcceelllleenntt aanndd 
superior art...
Baptistery, Florence. 
In 1400 a return of the plague killed about 1/5 of the 
population. Also, for most of the year, the...
Like the ancient Greeks, the 
Florentines of the 15th century 
seemed to have a love of 
competition …
A Game of Calcio Storico in the Piazza Santa 
Maria Novella, Florence, 1555
Florence’s four districts each 
had/have a team with players 
pulled from prison. It was/is a 
combination of rugby and 
M...
Field for Calcio Storico in the Piazza Santa 
Maria Novella, Florence
Players parade enroute to Calcio Storico
http://vimeo.com/5257343 
The game is played with 27 men on each side, two balls, 
eight refs, no breaks, no time out and ...
Reproduction of original Baptistery doors
Over the previous several hundred years, 
church doors were one of the most 
important venues for bronze sculpture.
Western door, 
St Michael’s Abbey 
Church of Hildesheim, Hildesheim 
(Germany), 1010-1033.
Door, Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, Verona (1100s)
Sacrifice of Isaac, 
Door, Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, Verona (1100s)
The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401 
Competition for Florence 
Baptistery doors 
Entry by Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378- 
1455)
Ghiberti evidently influenced by the 
discovery of Roman sculpture of Body 
of Centaur
The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401 
Competition for Baptistery doors 
Entry by Filippo Brunelleschi (1377- 
1446) 
Prize jointly...
Similarly, Brunellschi was influenced by 
discovery of Roman sculpture, Boy with 
Thorn.
The years that Brunelleschi and Donatello spend 
in Rome studying are cloaked in mystery yet this 
Roman sojourn was decis...
David, 
by Donatello, 
c. 1408. 
Donatello’’s first commission. Still shows gothic 
influence and approach.
Donatello’s sculptures from 1411-13 
for the Orsanmichele in Florence 
after his trip to Rome reintroduced 
classical scul...
Saint Mark, 
by Donatello, 
c. 1413. 
Jeremiah 
by Donatello, 
c. 1413. 
The drapery 
falls naturally 
and moves 
with the...
Contrapposto
Donatello also revived the naturalistic style of 
Roman portrait sculpture. 
Vasari in his chapter on Donatello says that ...
David, by Donatello, c. 1455-1460. 
First free-standing bronze statue since 
antiquity. Also the first large-scale nude 
s...
One explanation for this narcissistic and erotic 
androgyny perhaps lies in the early Renaissance 
humanist philosophy tha...
Meanwhile, in 1417, upon his return to Florence, 
Brunelleschi painted perhaps the most influential 
painting in the histo...
Brunelleschi’s perspective demonstration painting
http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla 
yer_embedded&v=bkNMM8uiMww
Brunelleschi is thus credited for “discovering” 
mathematical perspective (the method of representing 
3D objects on a 2D ...
Donatello, 
The Feast of Herod, 
c. 1425.
Masaccio. Holy Trinity, c. 1425. 
Masaccio died when he was only 
26, but using Brunelleschi's 
innovations, revolutionize...
Masaccio, The Tribute Money [1425-8]
Masaccio 
Brancacci Chapel, Florence 
1425-7
Perhaps the best way to appreciate Masaccio’s impact on 
his 15th century contemporaries is to compare his art to 
that pr...
Compare the architectural details, the 
modeling of the figures,and the naturalism of 
the expressions in Massacio’s work
Again compare the naturalism of the 
expressions and the realism of the 
infant and the architecture in 
Massacio’s work i...
Brancacci 
Chapel
Perhaps the best analogy for the impact 
that Masaccio had on painting might be 
by comparing it to the state of video 
ga...
Masaccio was the Myst of the 1420s.
Brunelleschi’s discovery of perspective and its initial 
application by Masaccio inspired all subsequent 
Italian art of t...
Compare Ghiberti … 
before Brunelleschi with after 
…
Francesca, The Flagellation of Christ [1460s]
Andrea Mantegna , Ceiling of Spouses Chamber, Milan , c. 1473.
Andrea Mantegna , Dead Christ , c. 1500.
Why? 
That is, why was perspective so important for the 
artists of the Renaissance?
It did provide a relatively straight-forward technique 
for reproducing reality …
Leonardo da Vinci , perspective study for the Adoration of the Magi , c. 1481.
Yet perspective was more than just a form of 
representation … It was a moral statement about 
humanity’s relationship to ...
By allowing the artist to accurately calculate a 
human’s position in a 2D space, it seemed to 
symbolically represent a b...
Perspective was a way of saying that the world 
should be adapted not only to the eyes but to the 
proportions of the huma...
It is interesting that perspective was initially principally 
used to represent civic spaces.
Examples of painted perspective civic scenes on furniture and in private rooms.
Francesco Di Giorgio Martini. Architectural Perspective, late 15th century;
For the artists (and those that viewed them) of the 
Renaissance, perspective seemed to have been 
associated with civic v...
The name of this work says it all: An Ideal City 
(mid-15th century).
Perugino, Delivery of the Keys, 1481
It is worth remembering that the Italy of the 15th Century 
was dominated by its cities, especially the Republic of 
Flore...
Perhaps no other work expressed 
these Renaissance ideals better than 
another extremely influential creation 
of Brunelle...
Filippo Brunelleschi, interior Basilica di 
San Lorenzo, Florence, started in 1419.
Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloister 
of Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
Filippo Brunelleschi, 
Interior Pazzi Chapel, 
1441-1460.
Brunelleschi “invented” a new style 
generally referred to today as 
Renaissance Architecture … a style 
which became exce...
To understand the innovation in 
Brunelleschi’s architecture we have 
to compare it to the dominant 
architectural style o...
Gothic style cathedral 1200-1500s
York Cathedral [1230-1472] (High Gothic Style)
Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloister 
of Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloister 
of Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloister 
of Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
Cloister, Gloucester Cathedral [High Gothic]
Cloister, Santa Croce [Brunelleschi]
Regularity, symmetry, and human-sized 
proportions are characteristic 
of Brunelleschi's (and later 
Renaissance) architec...
Filippo Brunelleschi. Interior of Santo Spirito, 
Florence, planned 1421.
Filippo Brunelleschi. Interior of Santo Spirito, 
Florence, planned 1421.
Typical gothic style
Interior of San Lorenzo
Interior of Santo Spirito
Notice the human-sized proportions of 
Brunelleschi's architecture
For me, Brunelleschi's masterpiece is the 
San Spirito Church (1444-1487).
Exterior of San Spirito Church.
Interior of San Spirito Church.
Brunelleschi's architecture of symmetry 
and proportion was enthusiastically 
adopted by other architects …
Façade of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella in Florence 
By Leon Battista Alberti in 1470
Comparison to façade of Amiens Cathedral
Façade of Santa Maria Novella
Florence Cathedral (Duomo) 
[1296-1426] 
Dome [1420-6] by Brunelleschi
In 1367, Florence held a competition for designing the 
dome. The winning entry called for a dome with a 
diameter of 173 ...
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 
do...
Pantheon [126 CE] Hagia Sophia [ 537 CE] Gothic cathedrals Duomo 
Rome 
g p ] 
Constantiople [1200-1400 CE] Florence
In 1418, the city held another competition, this time 
for a solution to building the dome. One of the key 
constraints wa...
Brunelleschi was evidently a difficult man to 
work with. He was very secretive and 
refused to show his plans, worried th...
One story is that at a meeting of the selection 
committee that was demanding to see detailed plans 
and drawings for his ...
The other architects complained saying that 
they could have done that also. “Yes,” said 
Brunelleschi, “and you would als...
Another complication are the downward and outward 
compression pressures of a dome. 
In the Roman Pantheon, the pressure i...
Brunelleschi’s solution was to make the dome hollow, and 
use vertical and horizontal ribs made out of iron and 
concrete ...
He also designed the two key 
engineering inventions of the 
Renaissance: the hoist and the crane. 
He also invented the f...
The architects of the great Gothic 
cathedrals were by and large unknown. 
Brunelleschi changed society’s esteem of 
archi...
In Brunelleschi’s amazing brilliance 
(invention of perspective, invention of 
Renaissance architecture, solving the 
Dome...
Brunelleschi also “invented” the personality 
pattern that many subsequent creative 
artists would try to emulate: moody, ...
For the writers and artists of the Renaissance, 
Brunelleschi and the other greats that were to follow 
him, provided an a...
The next generation of Renaissance artists 
built upon the innovations of Brunelleschi, 
Donatello, and Masaccio, and were...
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)
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Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)

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Seventh module for GNED 1201 (Aesthetic Experience and Ideas). This one covers the beginnings of the cultural movement known as the Renaissance. It focuses on the three key figures of the early Renaissance: Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Masaccio.

This course 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 Art History and Culture course. Some of the content overlaps with my other Gen Ed course.

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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]
  • Point of View: Scientific Imagination in the Renaissance (Day the Universe Changed - Ep 3)
  • Francesco Di Giorgio Martini. Architectural Perspective, late 15th century; An Ideal City , mid-15th century.
  • Francesco Di Giorgio Martini. Architectural Perspective, late 15th century; An Ideal City , mid-15th century.
  • Perugino, Delivery of the Keys, 1481
  • 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
  • Santa Maria Novella
  • 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.
  • Andrew Graham-Dixon - Episode 2 of 6 - The Pure Radiance of the Past
  • Art and Culture - Module 07 - Renaissance (Early)

    1. 1. Lecture 7 FLORENCE and the EARLY RENAISSANCE AESTHETIC EXPERIENCE AND IDEAS
    2. 2. So how do we get from this ...
    3. 3. Guido do Graziano [1400]
    4. 4. ... to this ...
    5. 5. Michelangelo, Sistine chapel [circa 1500]
    6. 6. ... in 100 years?
    7. 7. The term Renaissance refers to a profound p and enduring upheaval and transformation in culture, politics, art, and society throughout Europe between the years 1400 and 1600. The word describes both: • a period in history, and • a more general ideal of cultural renewal.
    8. 8. While renaissance ultimately becomes a European-wide phenomenon, it is initially (or even mainly) something that happens mainly in Italy.
    9. 9. For about 300 years (1200-1525), Italy was the center of trade and commerce in Europe and thus relatively rich. Atlantic exploration (1500-1700) would eventually shift trade and wealth to Portugal, Spain, France, Holland, and England.
    10. 10. Much of the story of the early Renaissance is a story about Florence. Florence becomes a wealthy city initially because it produces very high-quality woolen cloth. Eventually, they also develop the first banks (in order to help maintain and grow the cloth industry).
    11. 11. The Renaissance develops in Florence for several interconnected reasons: 1. Strong urban life. 2. Development of humanism. 3. Development of republican political life.
    12. 12. Urban life in Italy as a whole had remained strong, even during the medieval dark ages, and many secular values had been sustained along with a memory of the Roman Empire.
    13. 13. The Renaissance develops in Florence for several interconnected reasons: 1. Strong urban life. 2. Development of humanism. 3. Development of republican political life.
    14. 14. Renaissance humanism was a reaction against medieval scholastic education, and which emphasized practical, rhetorical, literary, historical, and scientific studies of Greek and Roman teachings.
    15. 15. It also endeavored to revive the cultural (esp. the literary) legacy and moral philosophy of classical antiquity … a legacy that was beginning to be rediscovered.
    16. 16. Early important Florentine humanists include Petrarch (1304-1374) and Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406).
    17. 17. By the late 1300s, humanist education was wide-spread amongst the Florentine elite. In fact literacy rates in Florence were maybe as high as 30% of the population, a percentage that dwarfed any other city in Europe.
    18. 18. The Renaissance develops in Florence for several interconnected reasons: 1. Strong urban life. 2. Development of humanism. 3. Development of republican political life.
    19. 19. In the 13th century (1200-1299), Florence was torn by conflict between the textile merchants, their textile workers, and the traditional aristocrats whose status was based on the ownership of agricultural land and serfs.
    20. 20. The aristocratic ruling elites of 13th century Florence were similar to other medieval elites in Europe: ideologically united by knightly norms of violence and social superiority.
    21. 21. Towers of San Gimignano 13th century Florence (like other Italian cities of the time) was dominated by the towers of these aristocratic families who engaged in constant inter-family feuds and vendettas (think of the Montague and Capulet feud in Romeo and Juliet).
    22. 22. Eventually, by 1293, the merchants and the guild members were able to take control over Florence. They abolished serfdom (thus eliminated the nobles source of power and wealth). The noble families were also expelled from the city and their towers were torn down. The Florentine Republic begins.
    23. 23. In the Republic, nobles are barred from political office. It also provided for frequent changes of office to ensure that no group or individual could get control of the state. The top office was a body of nine Priors (who were elected for a mere two months). These priors were elected by magistrates who were elected by citizens (i.e., any property owning guild member).
    24. 24. With a balance between its leading merchant families, Florence was now ruled by its guilds, which were associations of master craftsmen and tradesmen (which were like a blend of corporation, government, and community association).
    25. 25. This guild republic was the creation of the broad middle ranks of the city (the popolo): regional merchants, notaries, manufacturers of cloth, shop keepers, builders, artisans, etc
    26. 26. As a result of the constitution of 1293, Florentines developed a keen interest in their politics and became a community of civil servants available for public life.
    27. 27. The ideal of communal power becomes the key part of Florentine self-identity. This can be seen in the nature of the building projects of the early republic.
    28. 28. Santa Maria Novella [1279] Florence Cathedral [1294] Palazzo Vecchio [1299] Santa Croce [1294]
    29. 29. The only tower allowed in the Republic was that of Palazzo Vecchio, the city hall, the center of the Republican government. The castles and towers of the exiled aristocratic families were replaced with public spaces: not only churches but large piazzas where citizens could gather.
    30. 30. Cities ruled by kings or despots minimized public spaces because people coming together was perceived by the rulers as a potential threat, but in Florence, the city was changed to encourage people to come together.
    31. 31. The 15th century Renaissance thus sprouts out of the fertile ground of the 14th century Florentine Republic, a community dominated by a shared set of values, values that emphasized the flourishing of individuals within a context of the communal good and a belief that a better life could be (partially or even completely) achieved here on earth.
    32. 32. This outlook on life and on politics is sometimes referred to as civic humanism: that is, the belief that participatory politics and a public-space oriented city provides the twin environments for human fulfilment.
    33. 33. The renaissance and its focus on civic humanism helped shaped the modern conception of the individual. It is during this time that the cultural invention of the “genius” is initially enacted, and we will find that these geniuses were acting within a system of ideals that were constructed from the civic-oriented nature of Italian life.
    34. 34. I marvel and at used to the same ttiimmee ttoo ggrriieevvee tthhaatt ssoo mmaannyy eexxcceelllleenntt aanndd superior arts and sciences from our most vigorous antique past could seem lacking and wholly lost. … Thus I believed … that Nature had grown old and tired and no longger pproduced either ggeniuses or ggiants which in her more youthful and more glorious days she had produced so marvelously and abundantly. Since then, I have been brought back here to Florence … I have to uunnddeerrssttaanndd tthhaatt … iinn yyoouu, FFiilliippppoo Brunelleschi, aanndd iinn oouurr cclloossee ffrriieenndd Donatello, the sculpture, and in others like Ghiberti … and Massaccio, there is a genius for every praiseworthy thing. Leon Battista Alberti, On Painting, 1434
    35. 35. 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).
    36. 36. Like the ancient Greeks, the Florentines of the 15th century seemed to have a love of competition …
    37. 37. A Game of Calcio Storico in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Florence, 1555
    38. 38. Florence’s four districts each had/have a team with players pulled from prison. It was/is a combination of rugby and MMA.
    39. 39. Field for Calcio Storico in the Piazza Santa Maria Novella, Florence
    40. 40. Players parade enroute to Calcio Storico
    41. 41. http://vimeo.com/5257343 The game is played with 27 men on each side, two balls, eight refs, no breaks, no time out and no substitutions over a period of fifty minutes. Ten men on each side are allowed to brawl with anyone on the other team. Ambulances come onto the pitch without stopping the game. First prize? Steaks. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Ea17DLpqIY https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiKOhGpQPD4
    42. 42. Reproduction of original Baptistery doors
    43. 43. Over the previous several hundred years, church doors were one of the most important venues for bronze sculpture.
    44. 44. Western door, St Michael’s Abbey Church of Hildesheim, Hildesheim (Germany), 1010-1033.
    45. 45. Door, Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, Verona (1100s)
    46. 46. Sacrifice of Isaac, Door, Basilica di San Zeno Maggiore, Verona (1100s)
    47. 47. The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401 Competition for Florence Baptistery doors Entry by Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378- 1455)
    48. 48. Ghiberti evidently influenced by the discovery of Roman sculpture of Body of Centaur
    49. 49. The Sacrifice of Isaac, 1401 Competition for Baptistery doors Entry by Filippo Brunelleschi (1377- 1446) Prize jointly awarded. Brunelleschi refused to work with Ghiberti and left Florence with his friend Donatello to travel, study, and live in Rome. Ghiberti spends much of the next 20 years working on the door.
    50. 50. Similarly, Brunellschi was influenced by discovery of Roman sculpture, Boy with Thorn.
    51. 51. The years that Brunelleschi and Donatello spend in Rome studying are cloaked in mystery yet this Roman sojourn was decisive for the entire development of Italian art in the 15th century. “Over the next 13 years, they would move back and forth between Rome and Florence, living like vagrants, digging among the ancient ruins, and learning about the great Roman accomplishments and technology, all the while leaving the locals to believe that they were mere opportunists, looking to find abandoned treasures”
    52. 52. David, by Donatello, c. 1408. Donatello’’s first commission. Still shows gothic influence and approach.
    53. 53. Donatello’s sculptures from 1411-13 for the Orsanmichele in Florence after his trip to Rome reintroduced classical sculptural principles (e.g., contrapposto ).
    54. 54. Saint Mark, by Donatello, c. 1413. Jeremiah by Donatello, c. 1413. The drapery falls naturally and moves with the body.
    55. 55. Contrapposto
    56. 56. Donatello also revived 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.”
    57. 57. David, by Donatello, c. 1455-1460. First free-standing bronze statue since antiquity. Also the first large-scale nude sculpture since antiquity (1000+ years). Created for the Medici to celebrate the Peace of Lodi. To most modern observers, this appears less religious and heroic than homoerotic. The figure curves sensuously, his limbs appear soft and limp, the hilt of the sword is unusually phallic, and the feathers on the dead Goliath’s helmet caress David’s thigh.
    58. 58. One explanation for this narcissistic and erotic androgyny perhaps lies in the early Renaissance humanist philosophy that argued that divine revelation could be approached through the enjoyment of sensuous pleasures. This is related to neo-Platonic thought which allegorically described the transition of the soul to the divine via beauty through the transformation of bodily desire. Some scholars see it more simply as a reflection of Donatello’s homosexuality, a relatively common practice in Florence due to the late age of most marriages due to inheritance laws.
    59. 59. Meanwhile, in 1417, upon his return to Florence, Brunelleschi painted perhaps the most influential painting in the history of art (which unfortunately was destroyed around 1494). In this painting, Brunelleschi painted the Florence Baptistery in true one-point perspective.
    60. 60. Brunelleschi’s perspective demonstration painting
    61. 61. http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=pla yer_embedded&v=bkNMM8uiMww
    62. 62. Brunelleschi is thus credited for “discovering” mathematical perspective (the method of representing 3D objects on a 2D surface that gives a realistic impression of true position, size, and distance) and its practical application in drawing. Soon after, nearly every artist in Florence and in Italy used geometrical perspective in their paintings. Indeed, until early 20th Century modernism, almost every painting for almost 500 years used his perspective technique.
    63. 63. Donatello, The Feast of Herod, c. 1425.
    64. 64. Masaccio. Holy Trinity, c. 1425. Masaccio died when he was only 26, but using Brunelleschi's innovations, revolutionized painting.
    65. 65. Masaccio, The Tribute Money [1425-8]
    66. 66. Masaccio Brancacci Chapel, Florence 1425-7
    67. 67. Perhaps the best way to appreciate Masaccio’s impact on his 15th century contemporaries is to compare his art to that produced just a few years before by others.
    68. 68. Compare the architectural details, the modeling of the figures,and the naturalism of the expressions in Massacio’s work
    69. 69. Again compare the naturalism of the expressions and the realism of the infant and the architecture in Massacio’s work in comparison to the Bytantine style
    70. 70. Brancacci Chapel
    71. 71. Perhaps the best analogy for the impact that Masaccio had on painting might be by comparing it to the state of video game graphics in 1991 and 1992. And then comparing this to what was released in 1993…
    72. 72. Masaccio was the Myst of the 1420s.
    73. 73. Brunelleschi’s discovery of perspective and its initial application by Masaccio inspired all subsequent Italian art of the 15th century, and indeed, all art for the next four hundred and fifty years.
    74. 74. Compare Ghiberti … before Brunelleschi with after …
    75. 75. Francesca, The Flagellation of Christ [1460s]
    76. 76. Andrea Mantegna , Ceiling of Spouses Chamber, Milan , c. 1473.
    77. 77. Andrea Mantegna , Dead Christ , c. 1500.
    78. 78. Why? That is, why was perspective so important for the artists of the Renaissance?
    79. 79. It did provide a relatively straight-forward technique for reproducing reality …
    80. 80. Leonardo da Vinci , perspective study for the Adoration of the Magi , c. 1481.
    81. 81. Yet perspective was more than just a form of representation … It was a moral statement about humanity’s relationship to God, to the world, and to each other.
    82. 82. By allowing the artist to accurately calculate a human’s position in a 2D space, it seemed to symbolically represent a belief that humans had a new place in the order of things.
    83. 83. Perspective was a way of saying that the world should be adapted not only to the eyes but to the proportions of the human body. That is, perspective signaled a characteristic belief of the Renaissance: that through ideal aesthetic proportion, humans might be able to reconcile the two parts of human life, namely the intellectual and the physical.
    84. 84. It is interesting that perspective was initially principally used to represent civic spaces.
    85. 85. Examples of painted perspective civic scenes on furniture and in private rooms.
    86. 86. Francesco Di Giorgio Martini. Architectural Perspective, late 15th century;
    87. 87. For the artists (and those that viewed them) of the Renaissance, perspective seemed to have been associated with civic virtue … that somehow humans are able to achieve their true and best nature when they live within harmonious cities that are designed around human nature. Thus perspective is also a statement about politics and society as well …
    88. 88. The name of this work says it all: An Ideal City (mid-15th century).
    89. 89. Perugino, Delivery of the Keys, 1481
    90. 90. It is worth remembering that the Italy of the 15th Century was dominated by its cities, especially the Republic of Florence. In Vasari’s Lives of the Artists, he addresses the question, why did his fellow Florentines create so many artistic breakthroughs during the 15th century? His answer: “Its air is free and thus there is a spirit of criticism everywhere in Florence which does not allow its people to be content with mediocrity …””
    91. 91. Perhaps no other work expressed these Renaissance ideals better than another extremely influential creation of Brunelleschi …
    92. 92. Filippo Brunelleschi, interior Basilica di San Lorenzo, Florence, started in 1419.
    93. 93. Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloister of Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
    94. 94. Filippo Brunelleschi, Interior Pazzi Chapel, 1441-1460.
    95. 95. Brunelleschi “invented” a new style generally referred to today as Renaissance Architecture … a style which became exceptional wide-spread.
    96. 96. To understand the innovation in Brunelleschi’s architecture we have to compare it to the dominant architectural style of the day for churches, French Gothic.
    97. 97. Gothic style cathedral 1200-1500s
    98. 98. York Cathedral [1230-1472] (High Gothic Style)
    99. 99. Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloister of Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
    100. 100. Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloister of Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
    101. 101. Filippo Brunelleschi, Pazzi Chapel, Cloister of Santa Croce, Florence, ca. 1441-1460.
    102. 102. Cloister, Gloucester Cathedral [High Gothic]
    103. 103. Cloister, Santa Croce [Brunelleschi]
    104. 104. Regularity, symmetry, and human-sized proportions are characteristic of Brunelleschi's (and later Renaissance) architecture
    105. 105. Filippo Brunelleschi. Interior of Santo Spirito, Florence, planned 1421.
    106. 106. Filippo Brunelleschi. Interior of Santo Spirito, Florence, planned 1421.
    107. 107. Typical gothic style
    108. 108. Interior of San Lorenzo
    109. 109. Interior of Santo Spirito
    110. 110. Notice the human-sized proportions of Brunelleschi's architecture
    111. 111. For me, Brunelleschi's masterpiece is the San Spirito Church (1444-1487).
    112. 112. Exterior of San Spirito Church.
    113. 113. Interior of San Spirito Church.
    114. 114. Brunelleschi's architecture of symmetry and proportion was enthusiastically adopted by other architects …
    115. 115. Façade of the Basilica of Santa Maria Novella in Florence By Leon Battista Alberti in 1470
    116. 116. Comparison to façade of Amiens Cathedral
    117. 117. Façade of Santa Maria Novella
    118. 118. Florence Cathedral (Duomo) [1296-1426] Dome [1420-6] by Brunelleschi
    119. 119. In 1367, Florence held a competition for designing the dome. The winning entry called for a dome with a diameter of 173 feet, significantly larger than any dome in existence, as well as higher than any existing vault. They didn’t know how to build it; they put their faith in future progress, that an architect in the future would figure out how to build it.
    120. 120. Pantheon, Rome built during the reign of Emperor Hadrian around 126 CE.
    121. 121. Almost two thousand years after it was built, the Pantheon's dome is still the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.
    122. 122. Pantheon [126 CE] Hagia Sophia [ 537 CE] Gothic cathedrals Duomo Rome g p ] Constantiople [1200-1400 CE] Florence
    123. 123. In 1418, the city held another competition, this time for a solution to building the dome. One of the key constraints was that the winning entry was not to use wooden centering, the standard practice for building arches and domes since the Romans. Because of the height and size of the Dome, using wooden centering would have completely deforested Tuscany.
    124. 124. Brunelleschi was evidently a difficult man to work with. He was very secretive and refused to show his plans, worried that someone else would steal them.
    125. 125. One story is that at a meeting of the selection committee that was demanding to see detailed plans and drawings for his proposed solution, Brunelleschi said that the man who could stand an egg on its end without it tipping over should have the job. One by one the competitors tried but failed. Brunelleschi’s solution?
    126. 126. The other architects complained saying that they could have done that also. “Yes,” said Brunelleschi, “and you would also be able to build the dome if you had access to my plans.”
    127. 127. Another complication are the downward and outward compression pressures of a dome. In the Roman Pantheon, the pressure is absorbed by incredibly thick concrete walls and a progressively thinner dome. In Gothic style churches, those pressures are absorbed by flying buttresses.
    128. 128. Brunelleschi’s solution was to make the dome hollow, and use vertical and horizontal ribs made out of iron and concrete to contain the stresses. The horizontal ribs acts like a belt containing the outward pressures. The outside bricks are in a herringbone pattern and ““stapled”” with iron, thus eliminating the need for wooden centering.
    129. 129. He also designed the two key engineering inventions of the Renaissance: the hoist and the crane. He also invented the first paddle-wheel boat (for shipping stone).
    130. 130. The architects of the great Gothic cathedrals were by and large unknown. Brunelleschi changed society’s esteem of architecture and the architect. With Brunelleschi, we see the word “genius” applied to a living individual for the first time since antiquity.
    131. 131. In Brunelleschi’s amazing brilliance (invention of perspective, invention of Renaissance architecture, solving the Dome, and his engineering inventions), the writers of the later Renaissance had their ““proof”” that contemporary humans could be as great, and indeed greater, than those of classical antiquity.
    132. 132. Brunelleschi also “invented” the personality pattern that many subsequent creative artists would try to emulate: moody, unsociable, under-appreciated, suspicious of others, poor hygiene, unconcerned with personal riches, convinced of his own brilliance, creating to achieve future glory, etc.
    133. 133. For the writers and artists of the Renaissance, Brunelleschi and the other greats that were to follow him, provided an argument that maybe humans are only a fingertip’s width away from divinity … An idea that is very far away indeed from the Medieval worldview.
    134. 134. The next generation of Renaissance artists built upon the innovations of Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Masaccio, and were self-consciously aware of themselves as Artists, as “special” people who were different than others and who had a special “role” to play in the advancement of human culture.

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