The Renaissance was considered a period of rebirth in Europe for the arts, science, and culture. The Renaissance originated in Italy.
The focus of Renaissance art was on the classics of Greek and Rome, humanist philosophy, and the study of the human figure. Realism was also an essential part of renaissance art. The great artists of the Renaissance also became great anatomists and studied human beings.
Renaissance And Art
Even though the Renaissance affected all areas of society, art is one of the areas of the Renaissance most widely known. Renaissance art includes painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and literature produced in the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries in Europe.
For Renaissance art, the focus was on the awareness of nature, a revival in classical learning such as Greek and Roman periods, and a more realistic view of man. Renaissance art also emphasizes the human form and the human body.
Renaissance Art And Humanism
The Renaissance included what many said was the evolution of humanism and a new way of thinking. The humanism thinking of the Renaissance was about men being able to master nature rather than just developing religious piety.
You must remember that during this time of the Renaissance, the church, particularly the Catholic Church, controlled everything. Religion and state were not separated, and the church expected blind obedience.
The Renaissance brought a new way of thinking that humans could make their own decisions rather than just following the rules set forth by the Catholic Church or what was also known as God’s plan.
The Renaissance people remained religious, but God gave humans opportunities. They believed it was the duty of all human beings to do their best and strive to be moral beings and not just be blindly led by a Church.
One of the reasons the artist turned so heavily to inspiration from the Greek and Roman included sculpture, paintings, and decorative arts. Both Classical and Renaissance art focus on human beauty and nature.
When shown in these religious works, human beings were depicted as living, breathing beings showing emotion. Added to this was also the Renaissance art that depicted light and shadow techniques, making the paintings look more three-dimensional and realistic.
A great example of a Classical Renaissance piece that showed emotion was Leonardo da Vinci’s painting The Last Supper. Leonardo da Vinci painted each of the apostles at the exact moment when Christ told him that one of them would betray him.
The Last Supper painting is an excellent example of Renaissance humanism in that he showed the emotion and the human side of each of the apostles. He led the apostles as living and breathing human beings who may have some flaws.
In particular, Judas clutched the purse with the coins he received because of the betrayal of Jesus. The bag symbolizes the coins Judas received betraying Jesus.
At the same time with The Last Supper painting by Leonardo da Vinci was a master and used the light to get his point across. In this painting, the light of the window shine’s behind Christ’s head.
Leonardo da Vinci did not show Christ with a crown or halo on his head and instead portrayed him as a human being. Showing Christ as a human being was very different from many other paintings of the day where Christ would have a halo on his head and not be shown as a human being.
Renaissance Art And Greek And Roman Classics
Renaissance art was heavily influenced by classical art, especially Greek and Rome. With the Renaissance artist, you can see their inspiration from Greek and Roman sculpture, painting, and decorative art.
Perhaps no other piece of Renaissance culture shows this more than David by Michelangelo. This sculpture is considered to be a masterpiece of the Renaissance era.
The statue of David stands 517 cm or 17 feet tall. It is based on the biblical David and Goliath story figure, a favorite subject of many Renaissance artists in Florence.
One thing that makes the statue very unique is the pose and how David is standing. Most people believe that David was depicted just before his battle with Goliath. David looks intense and ready for the war and ready to fight Goliath.
The statue is a Renaissance interpretation of a standard ancient Greek theme of having the heroic male be nude. And the figure shows Classical Greek themes in how David is posing.
The David statue shows us the Renaissance’s influence in using Greek and Roman classics inspiration.
Renaissance Art And The Human Figure
The human figure or the human body was also significant to the Renaissance artist. This also went back to their influence on Greek and Roman art.
Renaissance artists like Leonardo Vinci also became anatomists as they attempted to refine and make more life-like sculptures or paintings of the human form. Leonardo da Vinci was known to dissect at last 30 human bodies to study better and understand the workings of the human body.
Both Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo became experts in the human body and the studying and portraying the human figure. Patrons that were commissioning the art also came to expect anatomical mastery.
In other words, to be considered a master of Renaissance art, you also needed to be a master of the human body; this is what was expected during this time.
Without any doubt, Leonardo da Vinci receives credit for being the most significant artist anatomist of all time. He took so many detailed studies of the human body that he had very little time to paint and do his art. But because of this and the notebooks that he left, we are given some beautiful detail of the human body.
Renaissance art is such an essential era of art because it helps change the direction of art as we know it today. Since this time, it can be said that artists built upon all of the things that the renaissance artists brought to art.
We are in debt to these Rensassice artists and their beautiful works of art.
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What Did Leonardo da Vinci Contribute To The Renaissance?
Leonardo da Vinci made many contributions to the Renaissance in art, science, engineering, medicine, and architecture. He was a keen observer who wrote down a lot of what he discovered in his notebooks. His artistic techniques changed how artists painted and influenced many other Renaissance artists.
By clicking here, you can learn more by reading What Did Leonardo da Vinci Contribute To The Renaissance?.
Was Leonardo da Vinci A Philosopher?
Leonardo da Vinci was a philosopher; being a philosopher means that you want to seek wisdom. Leonardo was one person who wanted to seek wisdom or enlightenment in his life. Leonardo was an active observer and learner of the human body, human behavior, and nature.