Art Work of the Renaissance: 8 Best Facts that You Must to know

art work of the renaissance
Art work of the renaissance. The term “Renaissance” is usually understood bridge between the European culture of the Middle Ages and the New Age. 

1. What does the Renaissance mean?

The term “Renaissance” is usually understood to mean the period that began in the XIV and ended approximately in the XVII century, a kind of bridge between the European culture of the Middle Ages and the New Age. Although the term is now taken for granted, it was not a self-name of the era. The historian and artist Giorgio Vasari in “Biographies of the most famous painters, sculptors and architects” (1550) by the term rinascita(literally “rebirth”) contrasted the new art, going from Giotto to Brunelleschi, Alberti, Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo and other masters, the “barbaric” Gothic style. 

Art work of the renaissance

At the same time, he had in mind an artistic breakthrough, and by no means a return to ancient sources. But Francesco Petrarch, who is traditionally considered the first Renaissance writer, urged, first of all, to resurrect the ancient canon, and most importantly, classical Latin, to clear the tongue of the layers of the barbarian Middle Ages. It is easy to see that these two authors under the “Renaissance” had in mind fundamentally different things.

The Birth of Venus (1486) – Botticelli

In the middle of the 19th century, after the publication of Jules Michelet’s book History of France in the 16th Century: Renaissance, historians began to call in French style the entire period from the 14th to the 16th century. The term has taken root: just five years later, Jacob Burkhardt’s textbook work Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien (Italian Culture in the Renaissance) was published. 

Gradually, the word “renaissance”, or “rebirth”, began to be applied more widely, bearing in mind any interest in the renewal of lost knowledge. For example, the flowering of literature, theology, jurisprudence and other knowledge under Charles the Great and his descendants (VIII – IX centuries) is often described as the Carolingian revival, and the Renaissance of the XII century is the rise of science, philosophy and poetry in Europe, associated with the translation into Latin of many before unknown texts – not only from Greek, but also from Arabic.

Some modern historians believe that the era from Petrarch to the XVII century is more honestly called the early modern time (early modern period). Firstly, such a term incorporates the realities that affected all segments of the population (the lower classes were unlikely to have read Greek authors or studied ancient architectural orders). 

Secondly, the idea of ​​the Middle Ages as a temporary failure in darkness, after which the light of classical culture shone again, has long been outdated. However, the term “early New time” did not supplant the “Renaissance”. Confirmation of this is, for example, the Renaissance Society of America – an association that includes about four thousand specialists in the culture, history, science of the Renaissance, which holds annual conferences with hundreds of participants. We can safely conclude that both terms are relevant: one refers more to social and economic history,

2. When was the Renaissance

It is impossible to pinpoint the boundaries of an era; debates on this subject have been going on for decades and hardly everwill end. The symbolic starting point is most often taken in 1341, when Francesco Petrarch was crowned with a laurel wreath on the Capitol. In ancient times, the wreath relied on the winner of poetry, but in the XIV century Petrarch was out of competition: he was rightfully recognized as the undisputed triumph, heir to ancient literature, designed to revive pure Latin. 1341 is a more than conditional date, but there is a consensus in science that the Renaissance began in Italy in the 14th century, and Florence was its first and main center. 

When the end has come, the question is even more controversial. The final renaissance chord can be considered the discovery of America (1492), the beginning of the Reformation (1517), the execution of the philosopher Giordano Bruno (1600), and the end of the Thirty Years War (1648). Latest dates in particular the author of the Renaissance Civilization adheres to Jean Delumo, and perhaps we can agree with him: the signing of the Westphalian Peace signified a fundamentally new stage in the history of European states. 

International relations have lost their strict hierarchy: kings, electors, princes and landgraves of Europe have ceased to consider the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire as god overseers. The idea of ​​sovereign states and non-interference in their internal affairs arose and established itself, and an idea of ​​religious tolerance arose. 

New norms meant the onset of a new era. the princes and landgraves of Europe ceased to consider the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire as god over given overlords. The idea of ​​sovereign states and non-interference in their internal affairs arose and established itself, and an idea of ​​religious tolerance arose. New norms meant the onset of a new era. the princes and landgraves of Europe ceased to consider the emperors of the Holy Roman Empire as god over given overlords. The idea of ​​sovereign states and non-interference in their internal affairs arose and established itself, and an idea of ​​religious tolerance arose. New norms meant the onset of a new era.

3. The Renaissance and the Middle Ages

According to popular belief, the Renaissance rejected medieval superstitions in favor of science and turned to man instead of God. It is believed that the first thing the Renaissance abandoned scholasticism, that is, a system of rigorous philosophical evidence of the existence of God, on which the work of the first universities ( schola ) was based. 

Now this word is considered almost a curse, but initially scholasticism was one of the greatest achievements of European intellectual culture. It was she who taught European man to think logically; A considerable role in this process was played by the works of Aristotle, who in the 12th century returned to scientific circulation in translations from Arabic.

If scholasticism was based on Aristotle, then the Renaissance philosophical system at the forefront raised another ancient author – Plato. His works were first translated into Latin by Florentine Marsilio Ficino. This was a great European sensation: at the end of the 15th century, almost no one knew Greek, the texts were considered lost and restored according to fragmentary quotes.

In fact, the Renaissance never broke with the tradition of Thomas Aquinas , Anselm of Canterbury and other great theologians-scholastics. New, original, and interesting commentaries on Aristotle’s translations continued to be written and published until the 17th century. 

In addition, the Middle Ages never neglected man and his place in the structure of the universe, and Renaissance authors did not abandon God. On the contrary, it was theology that they considered the main business of their life. The same Marsilio Ficino sought to subordinate the ideas of Plato to Christian doctrine. His younger contemporary Giovanni Pico della Mirandola in his theological treatises and philosophical works sought to prove the commonality of all the teachings of the world and bring them into a single Christian system.

4. Renaissance humanism

Almost the only direction of Renaissance thought is humanism, which was not even a complete philosophical system. The humanist scientists Coluccio Salutati, Leonardo Bruni, Niccolo Niccoli only proposed a new educational program – studia humanitatis, that is, according to Bruni, “the knowledge of those things that relate to life and morals and improve and decorate a person . “ The program concentrated around the study of ancient languages ​​- Latin, ancient Greek, and a little later, Hebrew.

The humanists also did not have a formal center: the Platonic Academy in Kareji, most likely, is a later myth. Cosimo Medici did present Marsilio Ficino with a villa in the hills of Kareji, but young men eager for knowledge did not flock to regular classes there. 

The Academy was not an educational institution, but rather a virtual concept – a free association of like-minded and interlocutors, admirers and commentators of Plato. It was elevated to the rank of a state institution in the 16th century. But the Medici dynasty managed to take full advantage of the fact that Plato was first transferred to their city – Florence began to be considered the cultural capital of the Renaissance.

5. Science and magic in the Renaissance

Usually the Middle Ages are blamed for superstition, while the Renaissance is considered the time of the victory of the mind over prejudice. 

However, magic played a crucial role in the renaissance picture of the world, and in the writings of the fathers of the so-called “scientific revolution.” Girolamo Cardano, the inventor of the driveshaft, and the physicist Galileo Galilei made horoscopes; astronomer and mathematician Johannes Kepler tried to simultaneously reform astrology; astronomer Tycho Brahe, in addition to astrology, was fond of alchemy, as was Isaac Newton. Is it possible that Nikolai Copernicus was not interested in magic – but his only pupil Johann Retic was professionally engaged in astrology.

6. The revolution in art

The art of the Renaissance produced a real revolution, but it was not the textbook Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael who began it. One of the most important artistic innovations of the era was oil painting. From the time of Vasari, it was customary to believe that her Dutch master Jan van Eyck (1390–1441) invented it. 

In fact, in Afghanistan pigments diluted in vegetable oil were used in the VI century (archaeologists discovered this already today, when they began to explore the caves that opened behind the backs of the Bamyan Buddhists blown up by the Taliban), and oil painting reached Northern Europe by the XII century (it is mentioned in the treatise of presbyter Theophilus “On the various arts”). However, it was van Eyck who brought this technique to masterly perfection.

Oil painting penetrated into Italy like an overseas fashion: the Ferrarian Cosimo Tura studied it from the works of the Flemish Rogier van der Weyden from the collection of his patron, the Duke of Lionello d’Este, and Antonello da Messina mastered the basics at the Neapolitan court, where Alfonso of Aragon brought craftsmen from all over Europe, including from the Netherlands. Along with oil, many compositional novelties came to Italy from there, which we now admire on the canvases of Bellini, Carpaccio and other famous masters – optical and lighting effects, hidden symbolism, beating of interiors, the approval of a secular portrait as an independent genre.

The laws of perspective were first applied by Tommaso di Giovanni di Simone Kassai, who went down in history under the nickname Masaccio. The most famous example is the “Trinity” from the Florentine church of Santa Maria Novella (1425–1427), but Masaccio began experimenting in his first work – “The Triptych of San Jovenal”. It is believed that Masaccio mastered the science of perspective under the leadership of Filippo Brunelleschi – a man who for the first time since ancient times swung at the construction of a dome (this technique was completely lost). Florence Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore, completed by Brunelleschi, became one of the main buildings of the era.

7. What was invented during the Renaissance

In addition to a printing press (Johannes Gutenberg, 1440s), a telescope (Galileo Galilei, 1609), a microscope (Zachary Jansen, Cornelius Drebbel – the end of the 16th century) and a magnetic compass resistant to pitching, the Renaissance gave the world another important device that determined the fate of mankind , – toilet bowl with flushing cistern. 

The inventor of the mechanism was the court poet Elizabeth I, the translator Ariosto, Sir John Harington: he christened his creation Ajax, and from the assembly manual he managed to make a political satire. One of the first copies (1596) was presented to the queen, but she did not appreciate either the gift or the original form of his description – the author was expelled from the yard for several years.

8. What was discovered during the Renaissance

First of all, of course, America. The Old World suddenly realized that it was old, and beyond the seas there is still a new one that remains to be explored, subdued, divided, and properly explored. In addition to gold, exotic treasures poured into the ports of Portugal, Italy, Spain and England: Inca animated truffles(known to us as potatoes), decorative fruits of love (the poet Sir Walter Raleigh presented tomatoes to Queen Elizabeth), as well as parrots, sunflowers, turkeys, cocoa, corn and guinea pigs. 

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And without potatoes, for example, a radical population growth in Europe in the XVII – XVIII centuries would hardly have become possible. But the great geographical discoveries did not end there: the Portuguese landed in China (1513), the Dutch in Australia (1606), Tasmania and New Zealand (1642); they also explored the Arctic (Willem Barents, 1594–1597) and deduced the principles of modern cartography (Gerard Mercator in the 1540s taught the whole world to use an equiangular cylindrical projection – so the maps took on their usual form, with parallel lines of longitude and latitude). 

Meanwhile, another native of the Netherlands, Andreas Vesalius, thoroughly understood the insides of man: he found that men and women had the same number of ribs and teeth (before Vesalius, doctors were sure that men had 32 teeth and women had 28), and found out how the skeleton, muscles and vascular system are arranged. By the way, illustrations for the anatomical atlases of Vesalius were drawn by a student of Titian – Jan Just van Kalkar.

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