Themes Of Italian Renaissance Art

This essay has a total of 874 words and 6 pages.

Themes of Italian Renaissance Art

Themes of Italian Renaissance Art

As the fourteenth century ushered out the Middle
Ages in Italy, a new period of cultural flowering began,
known as the Renaissance. This period in history was
famous for its revival of classical themes and the merging
of these themes with the Catholic Church. These themes of
humanism, naturalism, individualism, classicism, and
learning and reason appeared in every aspect of the Italian
Renaissance, most particularly in its art.
Humanism can be defined as the idea that human
beings are the primary measure of all things (Fleming,
29). Renaissance art showed a renewed interest in man who
was depicted in Renaissance art as the center of the
world. Pico della Mirandola said that, "there is nothing
to be seen more wonderful than man." (Fleming, 284) This
could almost be taken as a motto for Renaissance art.
Michelangelo's David clearly supports Mirandola's statement.
Since Renaissance art focused on representing
tangible, human figures, rather than depicting scenes from
the Bible in order to praise God, the artists had to think
in more natural, scientific terms. Artists became familiar
with mathematics and the concept of space, as well as
anatomy. Lorenzo Ghiberti studied the anatomical
proportions of the body, Filippo Brunelleschi was
interested in mathematics in architecture, Leone Battista
Alberti, who was skilled in painting, sculpture and
architecture, stressed the study of mathematics as the
underlying principle of the arts (Fleming, 285). Leonardo
also looked at the geometric proportions of the human body
(Calder, 197). In painting, but especially in sculpture,
artists were inspired to express the structural forms of
the body beneath its external appearance. Their anatomical
studies opened the way to the modeling and the movements of
the human body. In painting, naturalism meant a more
realistic representation of everyday objects. In Fra
Angelico's Annunciation, he shows an exact reproduction of
Tuscan botany (Wallace, 237). Also, the concept of space
was important. In painting, figures were placed in a more
normal relationship to the space they occupied.
Human figures tended to become more personal and
individual. Three clear examples of that are Donatello's
David, and Leonardo's Mona Lisa and Last Supper, in which
the twelve different expressions of the apostles were
shown. Every statue, every portrait was an individual
person who made a profound impression. Mary and the angel
Gabriel became very human in Fra Angelico's Madonna
(Wallace, 45). Even when placed in a group, every
individual figure stood out separately, as in Boticelli's
Adoration of the Magi. One form of art representing the
individual was the portrait. Wealthy families and
individuals commissioned artists

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