Analytical Essay on the Renaissance Art Movment


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For my analytical essay I've chosen the Renaissance art movement. I choose this movement because it played such a monumental part in European history. Basically, the Renaissance, also known as the rebirth, was a cultural movement that started an artistic transformation and started the scientific revolution. This time period also links the transition from the end of the Middle Ages to the beginning of the Modern Age. The Renaissance started in Italy in the 14th century and spread to northern Europe by the 16th century.
During the Renaissance artists changed the way they painted and sculpted, they learned how to paint in all three dimensions, which brought life and realism to their works. Also, getting away from the religious roots of art created an entirely new type of art that was rich in drama and emotion. This was also the time period when painting with oils was started.
In this paper I'm focusing mainly on Renaissance art work, since that was the assignment, but I feel it's important to also mention the other important parts of the Renaissance, architecture, science, politics and religion.
In architecture buildings were made bigger and grander than ever before, this was because of new rules were created pertaining to proportion and perspective. Temples dedicated to wealth (often disguised as something else…) popped up all over Florence and the rest of the world, because of the return of antiquity and referring back to the "classics" of the Greek and Roman past.
In science people started to question the church and its power—this may have been because the church's "indulgence" policy was so far out of line; as a result to this curiosity people started to study the natural world, discovering the secrets of the universe. Leonardo da Vinci was a huge part of the advancement in Science, with his inventions and theories. This was also the time period that Galileo discovered that the Earth revolved around the sun—much to the dismay of the church.
In politics more and more people were getting educated; being out of the churches clutches allowed more of the middle class to gain riches and education. Also, ancient works that hadn't been read for more than a thousand years were poured over, causing much debate from those who read them. The invention of the printing press allowed new ideas to be filtered through Europe at a quicker pace, allowing philosophers and writers to share their opinions with the general public.

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Unfortunately, at this time Kings and princes started to lust after the riches in Italy and a period of war and total chaos soon broke out.
Religion was going through a though stage at this point in time, the corruption of the Church and their officials had caught up with them, causing a lot of people to be feed up with the Church, this also started the exploration into different religions, including Protestant, which lead to the thirty years war. Also using the printing press, Martin Luther became the first person to publish his theories worldwide, in doing this he started a revolution in faith and forever divided the religion.
While in Europe we learned a lot about the Renaissance, the art created during that time period, the rulers, and the scientific advancements that occurred at this time, we didn't learn a lot about why it started though. We learned that people started to question the churches "indulgence's" and their absolute control, I thought the that term rebirth was referring to the "rebirth" of people's faith, and the exploration into Protestant beliefs. However, when I came home I did some of my own research and discovered that the "rebirth" was really about going back to the Greek's and Roman's, looking at their philosophies and way of life. I also learned that some pretty interesting people played a big part in this movement. Although the Renaissance doesn't have a specific starting point or place, it's said to have started in Florence, Italy.
There are many arguments as to why the Renaissance started, and why it started when it did; unfortunately, these arguments are just that, arguments. Each explanation has a rebuttal, leaving each person to come up with their own theory—which oddly enough, fits into the theme of this time period.
Some of the basic arguments as to why the Renaissance started, especially in Florence, include: 1. The Medici started it, with the portrait and solo sculpture emergence—but this doesn't fit in with history. The Renaissance started between 1410 and 1420, the Medici came into power after this time. 2. Donatello and Michelangelo, among others were simply geniuses—it's hard to believe that these men just came to this enlightenment…there had to have been a certain series of events that lead to their enlightenment.
The person that I really think started the Renaissance is Petrarch, he was part of the humanist movement and he thought that man had accomplished the most during the Roman Empire, and the time since then had "been a period of social rot" he called this period the Dark Ages. Petrarch thought man needed to look to history—not religion—to advance as a society, literarily, and in art. To him rebirth meant looking to the Roman's and Greek's, this method lead to advancements in art and science as well as other areas.
The first major work of Renaissance sculpture was from Donatello's chisel, is the bronze David, which is still located in Florence, Italy. When it was created it was the first free-standing nude statue since ancient times, a huge step away from religious works. Donatello's work always had a classical influence to them, but this was a huge step forward for the artistic movement. I also find it interesting that one of the most famous sculptures from the Renaissance was Michelangelo's "David," and he also played such a large in the Renaissance.
Other key artist in the Renaissance included: Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Botticelli, and Michelangelo. While Leonardo da Vinci is really well known for his paintings during this time period, including "The Last Supper" and the "Mona Lisa," he was also know as the Renaissance man. This title refers to his many inventions that helped advance modern technology (although few were actually made during his lifetime), his studies in anatomy, astronomy, and civil engineering. Da Vinci is an interesting character, it seems he was a genius, many of his ideas and discoveries were way ahead of his time, but it seems (at least to me) that he lacked the ambition to complete many of his projects. Da Vinci started painting when he was fourteen years old, and continued painting and creating throughout his life, yet there are very few completed works of Leonardo da Vinci.
Raphael's part in the Renaissance is completely different from the other artists involved. Raphael was a master painter and architect of the Italian High Renaissance, a school in Florentine. Raphael was considered a "master" painter at the age of seventeen and used his knack for perfection and softness to teach other impressionable artists the beauty in Renaissance art work.
Botticelli is also an interesting character, as a student in Florentine during the Renaissance he created many great works including "The Birth of Venus," which was a painting that expressed the new pagan view of antiquity. He was also very religious, he even burned some of his own paintings that expressed pagan ideas, but he found a why to resolve the conflict between his beliefs and his painting. Botticelli painted in the neoplatonism style, a joining of pagan and Christian themes in painting. Although Botticelli doesn't appear to have been a big part of the Renaissance, he was. He didn't follow the exact ideals behind the Renaissance, but he followed the mind set that there are different ways to do things, you just have to discover how and what these ways are.


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