The work of humanist scholars as well as the renewed interest in classical learning was the greatest influence of the Italian Renaissance. The term renaissance in Italian means rebirth, and the Italian renaissance era is best known for the renewed interest in the culture of renewed classical antiquity after the period that the rebirth humanists referred to as the Dark Ages (Ben-Ezra, p. 230). The influence of these humanists greatly shaped the Renaissance writing, thinkers, art, and education because of the fact that the humanism ideas were spread across all aspects of life (Raadt, p. 511). More specifically, humanism during the Renaissance greatly affected the work writings of Machiavelli. He presents the thoughts of humanism in the way that he thought societies and governments should be organized.
Humanism slowly, but steadily infiltrated into all art throughout the Renaissance. Humanism aided the transformation of paintings from the original portrayal of people doing unskilled labor, seemingly unhappy, and wearing plain clothes into using lighter colors in paintings. Additionally, the people in the latter paintings were often smiling and some of their clothing was painted in gold. Humanism held the idea that members of the society should ensure that they learn skills such as geometry, history and art, which would make them well-rounded individuals to enable them deal with different aspects of life. Humanism unlike former ideologies considered human beings as God’s creatures and had dignity, which should be preserved. Additionally, classical learning had influences to paintings as reflected in sculptures and paintings of Biblical figures that resemble the Greek gods such as Michelangelo's statue of David, and the Creation of Adam (Keizer, p. 310). Finally, humanism led to the erection of learning institutions that further trained painters to become professionals.
The Primary Contributors and Contributions That Shaped Renaissance Art
Following the introduction of humanism that most of the early Renaissance artists supported, they endeavored to depict realistic human forms with correct representation of clothing, color, and expressions. In order to understand their subjects much better, painters and other Renaissance artists studied animal and human anatomy, and improved their paintings to have a more three-dimensional look. Giotto di Bondon was probably one of the initial important painters of the Italian Renaissance. He broke away from Byzantine and Gothic artistic traditions to paint in the fourteenth century. After his appointment as the Chief Architect in 1334 until his death in 1337, Giotto di Bondone made innovations that Tommaso Guidi, known as Masaccio later improved upon his demise (Clarke, p. 240).
The latter painter was also the first Renaissance artist to paint models in nude, and often used light and shadow to define the shapes of his paintings as opposed to clear lines that were used by previous painters. One of his most popular paintings is The Tribute Money, which is an extract from the scene of the Bible. Most of the artists during this artistic period used extracts from the Bible to make their painting. However, before humanism, making such paintings were prohibited, and took much courage and sacrifice, which none of the artists was willing to make. Other major contributors to the Italian Renaissance art include Sandro Botticelli, who was sponsored by the Medici in Florence to make paintings such as The Birth of Venus showing the goddess rising from the sea on a conch shell (LeMon, p. 143). The most notable contribution of these early Italian Renaissance painters is the fact that they started making paintings from the Bible with Christian themes and stared burning many of their paintings that carried pagan themes. This greatly contributed to the spread of Christianity during this period. Consequently, Christian movements started sponsoring painters and buying their paintings in order to encourage their work. City officials and Merchants were also major contributors to Italian Renaissance paintings. Despite preferring architecture to paintings, they also gave the painters an opportunity to Renaissance artists the opportunities for development, rising to power, and earning fame for their hard work and creativity. In selecting the best artist to design the doors for the Baptistry, a church honoring St. Paul the Baptist, Florence held a competition in 1401, and Lorenzo Ghiberti was awarded the deal that took him 28 years to complete (LeMon, p. 152). Such honors popularized artists as well as increased their earnings and networking.
Humanism and a growing interest in classical learning are considered to have influence Italian Renaissance. Humanists brought a new view that considered human beings as important and deserved respect since they are Godlike creatures. Humanism not only transformed art from symbolic to realistic paintings, but also changed the view of leaders on arts. There are several Italian Renaissance painters, who worked so hard with their contributions to ensure that the authorities understood art in a different perspective from the previous ideas on the same. These artists also helped in transforming people from paganism into Christianity through their paintings that were mostly derived from the Bible, which also earned them favor of the Christian community with rewards such as sponsorships and tender awards.Works Cited:
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Clarke, Mia Barkan. "Birth Of Venus." Paterson Literary Review 32 (2003): 240. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.
Keizer, Joost. "Michelangelo, Drawing, And The Subject Of Art." Art Bulletin 93.3 (2011): 304-324. Academic Search Complete. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.
LeMon, Joel M. "Recasting Genesis In Bronze: Ghiberti's Visual Exegesis In The Gates Of Paradise." Biblical Interpretation 20.1/2 (2012): 126-155. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.
Raadt, J. "Community Development And Renaissance Social Humanism: Some Lessons For Systems Science." Systemic Practice & Action Research 24.6 (2011): 509-521. Business Source Complete. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.