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THE RENAISSANCE
THE “REBIRTH”
MYTHS OF THE MIDDLE AGES
•Today, people like to
romanticize the time period
known as the Middle Ages.
•Tales of courtly love in
which knights rescue their
beloved ladies from the
perils of ruthless overlords
are almost entirely makebelieve.
•Even the wealthy did not
live lives of leisure, as one
would suppose from
reading fantasies written
about the time.
MYTH #1 – CASTLE LIFE
•Firstly, land was
owned by
approximately 1%
of the population.
•Only those who
owned land could
afford to build a
castle.
•The rest of the
population consisted
of the clergy (2%)
and the peasants
(97%).
•The clergy lived in
monasteries with
little conveniences.
•The peasants lived
in hovels.
STATIC SOCIETY
•A person’s status in
life was
unchangeable.
•The minority
group, the nobility,
were blessed with
lives of mostly
leisure.
•The majority
peasant group were
sentenced to lives of
hard toil 7 days a
week throughout the
daylight hours.
•They were
commanded by their
noble landowning
lords.
AN AGE OF FAITH
•For the 1000 years
of the Middle Ages,
~400 – 1400 A.D.,
the entire focus of a
person’s life was to
make it to the
afterlife.
•They prayed up to 6
times a day for
protection or help.
•They did not
believe in selfreliance or selfpreservation.
•People believed all
diseases and
misfortunes were
punishment by God.
MEDIEVAL LIFE
•The average person
only bathed once a
year, if that and
wore the same
clothes yearlong.
•Their animals (pigs,
dogs, chickens) lived
in their homes with
them.
•They did not treat
diseases, only prayed
for cures.
•They had terrible
diets, mostly of dark
bread and gruel.
•Their average life
span was 35 years.
•Because of their
close proximity to
their animals, they
had the same fleas
and lice.
•During several
stretches of years
during the Middle
Ages, the Bubonic
Plaque ravaged the
population.
• Up to a third of the
population of
Europe was killed by
it.
•It is a disease
carried by fleas.
INTERCESSION
•The clergy, who
mostly came from
the noble class,
were necessary for
interceding with
God on the
victims’ behalf.
•Here plague
victims are being
blessed by a
Bishop so that they
might be cured.
•The ill will of
God was the only
source of disease
in their minds.
FOCUS OF ATTENTION
•Because
peoples’
attention was
directed to the
afterlife, they
did not pay
attention to the
world around
them.
•People and
objects were
depicted
symbolically.
INACCURATE PROPORTIONS
•People were not
depicted in accurate
proportions, either
from one part of their
body to another, or to
things in their
environment.
•Notice how large the
people are in
comparison to horses
and buildings.
PERSPECTIVE ERRORS
•Notice the town
and castle.
•There are people
looking over the
walls.
•Also notice the
giant people sitting
across the top of the
image. They have
seemingly no
relationship to the
scene below.
•The town and castle
are not in
perspective at all.
•The horses are as
large as the town.
FURTHER ERRORS IN PERSPECTIVE
•In the upper image,
the ceiling has
straight beams. They
should angle toward
the center.
•In the lower image,
the sizes of objects
do not change as
they go back into the
distance. Also, the
building is larger on
its back side that on
the side facing the
viewer.
•Notice the larger
size of the king and
the small size of the
oxen.
MEDIEVAL MEDIA
•Artworks from the Middle
Ages are almost entirely
religious in subject matter.
•Artworks were limited to
sculptures which were part of
buildings, icons of tempera
painted on wooden panels,
manuscript illuminations
painted with either
watercolors, inks or tempera on
parchment or vellum, stained
glass, or tapestries.
•Frescoes became more popular
toward the end of the age.
PRIOR TO THE MIDDLE AGES
•The Roman Empire ruled all of Europe prior to 400 A.D.
•The Romans had a different philosophy about mankind’s place in the
world.
•They believed that nature could be mastered through careful study
and innovation in engineering.
•The Romans bathed frequently, wore a variety of clothes, practiced
medicine, had well rounded diets, modified the environment to
control disease bearing insects, and lived to an average age of 72.
•They focused on the world around them and studied it to
understand how it worked.
SELF-AWARENESS
•The Roman’s philosophy
about mankinds’ ability to
master their world through
innovation and study is called
Humanism.
•They followed the ancient
Greeks in this belief system.
•This philosophy is exhibited
in the realism of their art.
•This image is from the Ixion
Room of the House of the
Vetii in Pompeii, which was
buried by a volcano in 79
A.D.
•Notice the fairly realistic
perspective and the solidity
and naturalism of the figures.
LATE MEDIEVAL ART
•At the end of the
Middle Ages, in
the1300’s, art
would begin to
mirror a change in
philosophy back
towards the ideals of
self-determination
from the Greeks and
Romans.
•Cimabue is one of
the last Italian artists
to paint in the
Medieval mode.
•He was the master
of his age.
FROM REAL LIFE
•In the middle of his career,
Cimabue made a great discovery.
•During his time, most people
traveled by foot from town to
town.
•He was walking from one town to
another, when he came across a
young shepherd boy drawing sheep
on a rock with a stick of charcoal.
•This boy’s name was Giotto di
Bondone.
•Cimabue was so impressed with
the child’s drawings that he
immediately found his father and
requested that Giotto apprentice
under him.
•Art changed forever.
GIOTTO’S LEGACY
•Giotto’s gift to art
was the practice of
drawing from life.
•He always studied
his subjects carefully,
drawing as he
looked at them.
•This made his work
far more accurate in
proportion, space,
and form.
•Notice the careful
shading of the
figures to look
rounded and 3-D.
•Giotto’s masterpiece is the Arena
Chapel.
•It contains a series of frescoes
depicting scenes from Christ’s life.
•A fresco is a painting on plaster.
There are two types of fresco:
•Buon fresco or “true fresco”
which is a technique of painting
onto moist plaster with colors
ground up in a limewater mixture.
With this technique the painting is
soaked into the plaster. It is not just
on the surface.
•Fresco secco or “dry fresco” is a
technique of painting on dry plaster
with watercolor. With this
technique the painting is only on
the surface of the plaster.
•Giotto painted using buon fresco.
ARENA CHAPEL
PRE-RENAISSANCE
•Giotto is called the Pre-
Renaissance artist,
because of the realism of
his work.
•He is not full Renaissance
artist, because the subject
matter of his work is still
Medieval.
•He will however
influence all of the
Renaissance artists.
•All artists of the next
generation would travel to
view his works as part of
their training.
A TIME OF CHANGE
•It would take the people
of the nation where the
original Roman
innovators lived to
jumpstart society out of
the Middle Ages.
•Great strides in
philosophy and
innovation would begin
in the southern European
nation of Italy.
GREAT INSTIGATORS
•One family is responsible for
changing the Western world and
moving it out of the Middle Ages:
the Medicis of Florence.
•Cosimo di Medici, the head of a
powerful banking and merchant
family in Florence began to
support philosophers, historians,
engineers, musicians and artists as
a patron.
•He pushed for the philosophy of
Humanism, an ancient Greek
belief system, to become the
guiding force behind innovation in
all aspects of life.
HUMANISM
 An ancient Greek philosophy that focused on the belief that
humans are the supreme creation.
 It supposes that human beings are like God in that they can
create totally new ideas and solutions to problems
encountered in life.
 This philosophy would stress the study of the natural world,
medicine, civil engineering, architecture that focused on
human needs, and other earthly problems.
 This belief system would promote the study of the physics of
how objects work and how natural systems function.
FLORENCE, ITALY
THE CRADLE OF CHANGE
THE RENAISSANCE
•It would originate in and be focused around the city of Florence, Italy.
•It would create changes in lifestyles which would lengthen life.
•It would generate situations that would allow for people of genius to
pursue their areas of study and be recognized for their gifts.
•It would move visual arts from a craft to a liberal art worthy of
recognition.
•It would promote the idea that solutions to physical problems on earth
could be discovered and life could thus be improved.
•It would allow people of lower classes to move upward in society based
upon their abilities.
MEDICI FAMILY
•For several
generations, the
Medici family would
continue to be the
major instigators of
change through their
patronage of
philosophers,
historians,
engineers,
mathematicians,
musicians, and
artists.
•Their wealth and
power rivaled ruling
families all over
Europe.
FILLIPPO BRUNELLESCHI
•Fillippo Brunelleschi
was an artist who was
recognized early by
Cosimo di Medici for his
talents in sculpture and
architecture.
•Brunelleschi made
fundamental discoveries
in how to depict space
by inventing one-point
linear perspective.
INNOVATIVE DOME
•To sell his idea and win
the commission for the
design of the dome for
the Florence Cathedral,
Brunelleschi developed
a drawing method,
linear perspective.
•His dome design is also
innovative, because it is
actually a double dome,
which makes it much
stronger.
CATHEDRAL OF FLORENCE
•Brunelleschi also
designed his patrons’
new palace in
Florence.
•His design was
clearly influenced by
Roman architecture.
•It has rounded
arches, different
treatments for each
level, and attached
pediments.
•Palazzo Medici,
Florence, Italy and
its main courtyard
BALANCE AND HARMONY
•Architecture from the
Renaissance became far
simpler and more
symmetrical in design than
buildings from previous
periods.
•Elements of Roman
architecture appear:
pedimental roofs, attached
columns, arched openings
and clearly delineated
levels.
•Alberti, Sant’ Andrea,
Mantua, c. 1470
MASACCIO
•The first painter to incorporate
Brunelleschi’s linear perspective
techniques into his artwork was Masaccio.
•This painting, Holy Trinity, is a fresco.
•The figures are life-size.
•The clothing and figures are shaded in
the method of Giotto.
•The alcove is an illusion, all paint.
•It is painted to seem as if it goes back
into space.
•This painting was so realistic at the time,
that people fainted when it was first
revealed, because they thought Christ was
real.
MASACCIO’S MASTERPIECE
•The Tribute Money has very believable perspective.
•The figures appear to be three-dimensional and solid.
•Proportions are accurate and believable.
EARLY RENAISSANCE
•Early Renaissance artists
focused on depicting
naturalistic and believable
space.
•This artwork by Pieter
Perugino uses one-point
perspective.
•It is titled Christ Handing
the Keys to St. Peter. It is a
fresco in the Cappella
Sistina (Sistine Chapel) at
the Vatican in Rome. It
dates from 1481-1482.
•This painting is as much
about the depiction of
space as the story.
RENAISSANCE SUBJECTS
•Throughout the
Renaissance the
main subject matter
will still be Christian
stories.
•This is mostly
because the Catholic
Church was the
main patron.
•This fresco is titled,
The Annunciation. It
was painted between
1438 and 1445 by
Fra Angelico.
•Some wealthy
patrons also
commissioned
portraits.
•This painting was
made by Fra Filippo
with tempera on a
wooden panel around
1440.
•Its title is Portrait of a
Man andWoman at a
Casement.
SCULPTED REALISM
•The changes in art were
not limited to painting.
•Sculptors also were
influenced by Greek and
Roman art.
•Sculptors arranged their
figures in contrapposto,
or weight shift, so that
the weight was on one
leg.
•David, Verrocchio, c.
1465-1470, bronze.
DONATELLO
•The influence of the
ancient artists is very
apparent in the works of
Donatello.
•He was a sculptor who
entire career was spent
under patronage of the
Medicis.
•His figures are very
naturalistic.
•He was influenced by
Verrocchio.
A COMPETITION BETWEEN GIANTS
•Just as the Medicis
sponsored a
competition to design
the cathedral in
Florence, they also
sponsored a contest
for the design of the
Baptistry doors.
•The Baptistry was a
building solely for the
purpose of Baptisms.
LORENZO GHIBERTI
•Brunelleschi, the great architect,
competed for the commission, but
Ghiberti won the job.
•These are the second set of doors
he designed.
•They are gold plated over wooden
relief carving.
•Michelangelo was so impressed
with them, he called them “The
Gates of Paradise.” The title has
stuck until the present time.
•Gates of Paradise, Lorenzo Ghiberti,
1425-1452, gold plated over wood,
Baptistry, Florence
•Amazingly, Ghiberti has incorporated the concepts of linear
perspective into these relief panels.
Isaac and His Sons, Detail from Gates of Paradise
SANDRO BOTTICELLI
Birth ofVenus, c. 1484-1486, tempera on canvas
Botticelli’s lyrical depictions of mythological themes
have been favorites of art lovers for centuries.
Sandro Botticelli, Primavera (Spring), c. 1482, tempera on canvas
AMAZING ILLUSIONS
•Through his use of perspective
techniques, our last Early
Renaissance artist created the
illusion of looking upward into
the sky through a hole with
little cherubs in foreshortening
looking down at the viewer.
•These types of paintings will
influence later styles of art
seeking tromp l’oeil
illusionism.
•Mantegna, Ceiling of Camera
degli Sposi, Room of the
Newlyweds, 1474, fresco
TEACHER TO THE MASTERS
•While himself a major
artist and member of
the Medici artists,
Ghirlandaio is best
known as the teacher of
several very important
artists: Michelangelo
Buonarrotti in
particular.
•Ghirlandaio, Portrait of
Giovanna Tornabuoni,
1488, tempera on panel
HIGH RENAISSANCE
•The High Renaissance is a period of art which occurred after the
mid-15th century.
•It was characterized by the inclusion of three master artists who are
considered to be perhaps the greatest artists of all time:
Leonardo daVinci
Michelangelo Buonarrotti
Raphael Sanzio
LEONARDO DA VINCI
•Leonardo da Vinci was the man for
whom the term “Renaissance Man”
was coined.
•Leonardo was a genius who
discovered how most systems in the
human body function, who developed
many machines for flight, locomotion,
war, and others, who was a talented
musician, and a master visual artist.
•This painting is a masterful example
of Leonardo’s invention of “sfumato”.
This technique creates blurred edges
and a hazy atmosphere.
•The most famous face in history:
Mona Lisa, c. 1503-1505, oil on canvas
THE LAST SUPPER
c. 1495-1498, Santa Maria della Grazie
Considered the most perfectly composed image in history.
Leonardo experimented with painting oil paint in the fresco secco
technique. Moisture trapped between the oil and plaster immediately
caused paint to begin flaking off.
•Following the building’s
almost total destruction
during WWII, The Last
Supper has been strenuously
guarded, including
replacing the structure
destroyed by bombs.
•Most of the image is still
readable, however the
entire original surface is
gone.
•The image is more or less
a ghost image of what it
once was.
•The home of this famous
painting is now a museum.
MICHELANGELO BUONARROTTI
•Michelangelo was a
child prodigy.
•He was brought
into the Medici
palace as a child and
raised along side the
Medici children.
•From the
beginning, he saw
himself as a sculptor.
•He was able to
make stone seem to
come to life.
•Pieta, 1498-1500,
marble
David
•Michelangelo was able
to carve every muscle,
fold, and texture with
ease out of hard stone.
•His forms are so
muscular and supple they
seem to be lifelike.
•He chose expression of
mood and idea as his
focus.
•Here David is preparing
mentally to fight Goliath.
•David, 1501-1504,
marble
A GRAND EGO
•Michelangelo was well
aware of his special
gifts.
•When he completed
this sculpture, he
supposedly tapped the
knee and said… “Now
speak!”
•Michelangelo
Buonarrotti, Moses,
1513-1515, marble
GREATER EXPRESSION
•Later sculptures
became more and
more expressive.
•These two
sculptures are part of
Lorenzo di Medici’s
tomb.
•Michelangelo
Buonarrotti, Tomb
for Lorenzo de
Medici, Night and
Day, marble
TOWARDS BAROQUE ART
•Baroque art will be
characterized by twisting and
moving forms.
•Also, Baroque forms have a lot
of expression in faces and
motions.
•This sculpture is partially
unfinished.
•Its surfaces are full of varying
textures. These help to create a
very strong mood of suffering.
•Michelangelo Buonarrotti, Pieta,
1547-1555, marble
A GREAT PAINTER
•The Pope commissioned
Michelangelo to repaint the
ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at
the Vatican in Rome.
•Michelangelo argued that he
was a sculptor not a painter to
no avail.
•He spent four long years
painting this ceiling.
•It is one of the greatest
masterpieces of art ever made.
•Michelangelo Buonarrotti,
Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel,
1508-1512, buon fresco
•22 years after he finished
the ceiling, Michelangelo
was sent back to the Sistine
Chapel by another Pope to
paint the wall over the
altar.
•This painting is very
different in style from his
earlier pure Renaissance
painted ceiling.
•Instead of calm, balance
and harmony, these figures
twist, contort and writhe
across the wall.
•This is a very expressive
and emotional image.
•Michelangelo Buonarrotti,
The Last Judgment, 15341541, buon fresco
A MASTER ARCHITECT
•The Pope interrupted
Michelangelo’s sculpturing again to
have him finish his new cathedral,
St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican,
Rome.
•The Pope wanted only a master to
design the most important church in
all of Christendom; the home of the
Catholic faith.
•After leaving the Sistine Chapel, the
visitor can travel into St. Peter’s and
view the amazing dome which
Michelangelo designed to complete
the cathedral.
•Michelangelo Buonarrotti, Dome
of St. Peter’s Basilica, 1547, the
Vatican, Rome, Italy
For his dome design, Michelangelo incorporated Brunelleschi’s double shelled dome. He
then added windows to admit light. There is actually a gallery at the base of the dome
around which the visitor may walk, over a hundred feet above the floor!
MICHELANGELO’S STYLE
•Michelangelo’s
architectural style is
characterized by
symmetrical balance,
simplicity and
repetition of shapes.
•His ordered style
would influence later
building styles,
especially the
Neoclassical
architectural styles.
•Michelangelo
Buonarrotti,
Laurential Library
vestibule and reading
room, 1523-1571,
architecture
PALLADIO
•The architect that was
most famous at the end of
the Renaissance was Andrea
Palladio.
•His buildings combine
many features of Roman
building styles.
•His symmetrical
arrangements of parts will
show up again during the
Neoclassical period.
•This building influenced
Jefferson’s Monticello.
•Andrea Palladio, Villa
Capra La Rotonda, 15661580, architecture
RENAISSANCE PLANS
•Palladio’s designs
are characterized by
symmetrical
balance, repetition
of forms, balance,
and simplicity.
•His forms derived
out of
Michelangelo’s
architectural style.
•Andrea Palladio,
Floor plan for Villa
Capra La Rotonda
RAPHAEL SANZIO
•Raphael is the final great
Renaissance master of the
High Renaissance.
•He died relatively young,
but all of his works are
masterpieces.
•He incorporated the
triangular composition and
sfumato of Leonardo and the
three-dimensional solidity of
Michelangelo.
•Raphael’s color is unique to
him though. He often used
brilliant red and intense blue.
•Raphael Sanzio, Madonna of
the Meadow, 1505, Oil on wood
panel
•This one painting is a
culmination of all things
gained by the Renaissance:
the philosophy of
Humanism, reverence for
classical Greece and Rome
(building structure and
clothing, representation of
great thinkers from the
past.)
•Note two main figures are
Leonardo (left center with
blue top and orange toga)
and Michelangelo seated
leaning on a stone in
foreground.
•Raphael Sanzio, The School
of Athens, 1508-1511, buon
fresco
SCHOOL OF ATHENS