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Renaissance Art. Departure from the Medieval--a new emphasis on sensual, worldly existence… but the medieval world doesn’t simply vanish overnight. Renaissance Humanism. Patronage? Why was it important in the success of Renaissance art?

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Renaissance Art

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Renaissance art

Renaissance Art

Departure from the Medieval--a new emphasis on sensual, worldly existence…

but the medieval world doesn’t simply vanish overnight.

Renaissance humanism

Renaissance Humanism

  • Patronage? Why was it important in the success of Renaissance art?

  • 2-sentence “essay” defining humanism (in Making of the West, pp 450-451)

  • “Civic Humanism”?

The renaissance had its medieval roots in vernacular literature like

“The Renaissance had its medieval roots in vernacular literature like...”

  • Dante Alighieri’s (1265-1321) Divine Comedy (1313-1321)

  • (Inferno, Purgatory, Paradise)

  • Written in Florentine dialect (vernacular)

  • A Christian tale, heavily influenced by Greek and Roman classical allusions.

Values and virtues classical and medieval see page 135 of your reader


(Areté, Virtus):

Moderation, Wisdom, Courage, Justice

“Man is the Measure of all Things!” (Protagoras)


“Christian” Virtues

Seven Christian Virtues and Vices

Values and Virtues: Classical and Medieval See page 135 of your Reader

Art as a historical source



Art as a historical source

Medieval art

Medieval Art

  • Emphasis on salvation and a glorious afterlife drowns out most other concerns.

  • Medieval Christians viewed this earthly life and the human body as tainted by sin and corruption.

  • Medieval artists focused on the soul, not the body. Nude was shameful and usually seen in a negative light (sinners were nude)

  • Christendom emphasized the community over the individual. Artists were craftsmen working for guilds, not individuals expressing themselves.

  • Artists didn’t sign their work—pride was a mortal sin

  • Art served the needs of the church as a form of education—some might say propaganda!

Illuminated manuscript the book of kells 760 820

Illuminated Manuscript:“The Book of Kells” (760-820)

Icons berlinghiero s madonna and child early 12 th century

Icons: Berlinghiero’s “Madonna and Child” (early 12th century)

Mosaic justinian and attendants c 547

Mosaic: Justinian and Attendants c. 547

Gothic churches cologne cathedral

Gothic ChurchesCologne Cathedral

Gothic sculpture teaching christ 13 th century chartres cathedral

Gothic Sculpture“Teaching Christ” 13th Century Chartres Cathedral…

Giotto di bondone noli me tangere 1305

Giotto di Bondone: “Noli me Tangere” 1305

Renaissance foci

Renaissance Foci:

  • Humanism

  • Civic Humanism

  • Individual virtú

  • Importance of this world as well as the next world.

    • Patronage is necessary for these beautiful works of art, so wealth can’t be all bad…

    • What were the subjects of a Humanist education (Liberal Studies)?

Renaissance art1

Renaissance Art

  • Rediscovery of art and literature of Greece and Rome.

  • The study of God and the Christian Gospels was augmented (not replaced!) by the study of human experience and life on earth. Not only Christian virtues, but also Classical virtues!

  • Informed by expansion of scientific knowledge of anatomy and perspective.

  • Lifelike—no longer supernatural, but natural subjects and styles.

  • Prestige of artists soared and we have our first great art “superstars”. Michelangelo was called “Divine”.

Donatello david c 1430 32

Donatello“David”c 1430-32

Botticelli birth of venus 1482

Botticelli: “Birth of Venus” 1482

Van eyck arnolfini wedding 1434

Van Eyck: “Arnolfini Wedding” 1434

Hans holbein the younger the french ambassadors 1533

Hans Holbein the Younger “The French Ambassadors” 1533

Leonardo da vinci mona lisa 1503 6

Leonardo Da Vinci Mona Lisa 1503-6

Da vinci in the womb c 1510

Da Vinci: “in the womb”c. 1510

Da vinci study for the adoration of the magi c 1481

Da Vinci: Study for “The Adoration of the Magi” (c. 1481)

Da vinci the last supper c 1495

Da Vinci: The Last Supper (c.1495)

Michelangelo the divine

Michelangelo: “The Divine”

  • Elevated the status of the artist

Pieta 1498 1500


Renaissance art

David (1501-1504)

  • How does it reflect Renaissance Virtues?

Michelangelo sistine chapel the last judgment 1541

MichelangeloSistine Chapel“The Last Judgment”1541

Creation of adam

Creation of Adam

Sistine chapel libyan sibyl

Sistine Chapel“Libyan Sibyl”



  • What are the classical virtues?

  • Provide and example of how one work of art reflects humanism?

  • Provide an example of how art reflected Civic Humanism?

  • What are four techniques that Renaissance era artists used?

Raphael 1483 1520 school of athens 1510 1511

Raphael (1483-1520): “School of Athens” 1510-1511

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