The Renaissance period refers to the era in history that occurred around 1400 through to the sixteenth century. This era came immediately after the middle Ages. Its trends reflected classical antiquity in science, music, literature and philosophy. It would be right to say that this era was initially noted in Italy and was common in Europe. The style also incorporated innovations of emerging trends as time passed and this form of art came to be known as Renaissance art. The foundation of this art was traditional royalties. The works of artists in this period so strongly created a culture of ancient pieces of work that were parallel to the ancient Greek and Roman society. Some of the Renaissance artists include Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo DA Vinci. These also gave the Greco-Roman arts a sense of originality and an artistic, cultural identity.
The Renaissance era also sought a revival in the culture of Romans and the Greek people. It took advantage of art to express itself uniquely as the identity for its inside beauty, this it did through reviving intellectual capacity after the fall of the Roman empire that had previously occurred. This era therefore, advocated for as much knowledge and input of intellect to any form of artistic work. In any case, artists like Leonardo da Vinci who ventured into different fields were seen as insightful people in the society. Leonardo therefore became the perfect image of a renaissance man since he considered botany, visual arts, geology, and anatomy among many other fields where he sought knowledge. His unique style in Mona Lisa, the last supper and virgin of the rocks only portrayed so much of his talent. This era inspired realistic creations of the imagined object. It hoped to make the best images as they were in the real society in the community. Furthermore, Michelangelo imagined and created very realistic sculptures of David. The Renaissance also encouraged innovation and technology that have since been viewed as the window to modernism. The fact that classical style was used initially and later modified only implies that the society of the day founded art on a strong basis.
While Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo are the most popular renaissance artists, there are a number of more artists of the same era. Masaccio was a painter whose several works involved the Santa Maria Novella Trinity. He lived in 1401-1428. In the last two years of his life, Masaccio worked with Santa Maria Del Carmine Church with the Brancacci Chapel. Despite having worked for only a few years, this artist portrayed a great deal of intellect and naturalness in his work. Evidently, artwork greatly involved the church, the Catholic Church to be precise. The government, wealthy individuals and courts commissioned such works. The Medici is popular for its promotion of these works in Florence. The Medici family offered great leadership also, through Lorenzo de Medici. He was also famous as ‘the magnificent’ and his concern for the arts was very influential. With such power behind it, Renaissance art became an even more powerful tool for communication, for political and religious power. In any case, the Romans .with the help of Michelangelo placed a great sculpture of David in the square to intimidate their enemies away from their territory. The seventeen foot statue was supposed to represent wit instead of power and portray Rome as a clever attacker. It was also meant to intimidate leaderships like that of Medici which threatened freedom and the thought of republicans.
Unlike the many statues that had been made by David, Michelangelo’s stood from the crowd. He was carved out before killing Goliath rather than after killing him. His sling is also hidden by his form. Through such a piece of work, Michelangelo implied that Rome was like David before the victory, clever, brave and unafraid to face his enemy. If anything, the statue portrayed David as having victory before the battle could begin. Rome’s power was in its cleverness and even though it had been attacked and intimidated before, it was not going to remain fearful. Instead, Rome was ready for its enemies. Such depth is the essence of art and Renaissance art was good at bringing out the intellect and cleverness of its society to communicate it to the world around it through mere visual tact. Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci became artists of the high renaissance under Pope Leo X. The pope was also a son of the Medici and strived to maintain his contact with artists of the day. Michelangelo sculptured his work from large pieces of marble; he had several workers and provided masterpieces of his work. In the works of Vasari, Michelangelo is portrayed as a sculptor of hard work. His work was more strenuous than others as he had to work with hard stone which meant cutting and hurting himself often. His work was all the same flawless in Vasari’s words ‘nor has there ever been seen a pose so easy, or any grace to equal that in this work, or feet, hands and head so in accord, one member with another, design and excellence of artistry.’ This mirrors the works of more than just Michelangelo; it is the definition of a renaissance piece of art.
The effects of knowledge in Leonardo’s works are evident in his use of light and shadow. The infamous Mona Lisa is also a reflection of great intellect put to work. Leonardo da Vinci further engaged in scholarly activities that inspired more than just art. This artist related animals and people in his paintings so well with their surrounding that it seemed real. Raphael on the other hand, was the young one of the renaissance era. He learned under both Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. The works of Raphael Sanzio 1508-11 served the Vatican. Like Raphael, many artists worked as apprentices for the already established ones as they learned and gained skill. They also made guilds within which they would exchange useful knowledge on artistic work as well as other kinds of knowledge. Leonardo da Vinci inspired more than just artists, he also provide thoughts in biology. Other artists of the renaissance period included Giorgone, Titian and Bramante. These later grew into the middle class of the society as they gained commissions from their works. Moreover, some of them had to complete unfinished works of their masters. Michelangelo is among a few artists who would leave incomplete works which only those trained under him could complete. Initially, most artistic work was made for religious purposes to support mass. It however came to reflect the great skill and intellect put at work by artists in the contemporary society much later.
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