Reading and Video Assignments

Reading and Video Assignments

Reading and Video Assignments

Question 1

            The three major trends of the 15th century in Florence were the scientific, prose, and poetic styles. Between Domenico Ghirlandaio and Michelangelo, the prose style changed from a mathematical rationalism to an extravagant depiction of subjects. Domenico Ghirlandaio used mixed techniques in his work, which Michelangelo would later improve by developing his unique technique influenced by the classical era in ancient Greece. The poetic style emerged as a reflection of Florentine reverence for the classical era. Idealized mythological paintings from the classical era were replicated during the early 15th century. The stories featured characters from classical literature but would later be appropriated to communicate humanistic ideals in the later part of the 15th century. The scientific style changed because of an increasing rejection of religious painting in favor of humanism. Consequently, the trend changed towards an increasingly realistic depiction of objects and phenomena, which reflected the prevailing mindset as the Renaissance progressed.

Question 2

            Piero della Francesca’s the Flagellation of Christ is a painting that demonstrates the scientific perspective because it depicts the characters naturally. It has perspective, real-life volume and depth. The elements are created through a study of the natural world to replicate it in a painting. The artist used the transition from light to dark to create the aforementioned elements of the painting (Zappella). Francesca was intimately concerned with using perspective, a knowledge he acquired through his expertise as a geometer and mathematician.

Question 3

Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Massacre of Innocents uses bright colors and happy details despite showing a violent scene. The painting shows the obsession with making paintings that spoke volumes to the viewers and excited multifarious emotions. There is emotive dynamism in the posture of the figures, which creates a striking effect for the viewer. The figures are set in 15th century Florentine, which shows that the artist adapted an old story for the here and now. The characters are dressed in Florentine attire, which could direct the viewer to the here and now when they are looking at the painting.

Question 4

            The La Primavera by Botticelli is an allegorical work of art that has idealism embedded in its conceptualization. The painting depicts the realm of Venus. In the painting, Venus represents the benevolence of the ‘humanitas’. The painting is humanistic because it portrays human beings in a positive light with values such as confidence, sensitivity to other people’s needs and spiritual. On Venus’ right hand lies the material world while on the left side lies the spiritual values that should guide man towards a positive life. Idealism is a dominating element in poetic painting style because of the optimism about human beings apparent during the Renaissance.

Question 5

Verrocchio was an influential 15th century artist who would have wanted to pass down his knowledge to a budding Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci’s family must have noted his talent at an early age. Therefore, they elected to attach him to a master such as Verrocchio to ensure that he can develop his talents. Also, Da Vinci was an illegitimate child, which might have led his father to organize for him an artist’s career. Becoming an artist was the most promising career for an illegitimate child during the 19th century.

Question 6

            The Medici family highly improved and developed Florentine culture through patronage of the arts. They championed a humanist orientation in the Florentine consciousness while developing their banking business (Hickson). However, the family faced significant challenges because of a period of stagnation in their political influence because of Piero de’ Medici’s illnesses and early death. The Medici family was unable to restore its sociopolitical prominence in Florence. The French invasion of Italy in 1492 led to the loss of Medici political power (History.com Editors). The Medici family and their supporters were exiled and Florence became a Republic.

Question 7

            Savoranola criticized Renaissance secular art in favor of a return to religious art, which had dominated European art during the Middle Ages. He was influential in ensuring that the Medici family was expelled from Florence, which shifted artistic tastes away from humanism towards religious art. He promoted sacred art to remove vice from Florentine streets. He promoted literature and art through his writings such as his meditation on the book of Psalm. Artists used his writings to compose literature, music and acquire inspiration for artwork.

Question 8

            Foreshortening refers to using perspective to portraying an object as nearer than it actually is or having less distance and depth. It helps to create illusion by using perspective and the angle of vision to fool the eye into misperceiving the relative position of objects. Andrea Mantegna is a foremost artist who used foreshortening in his work. The most prominent of his work is Dead Christ. It usesforeshortening to create the illusion of depth, thereby portraying Christ in a lifelike manner.

Question 9

            Patricia Simons states that women in Renaissance Florence were depicted as objects for male discourse. The women appeared modest and dressed in a conservative appropriate way. They had to engage in impression management and good manners, especially if they were from a high social status. Women’s external appearance was the most important element of female behavior and perception in a male dominated society (Simons 8). The image of the woman was idealized rather than a true depiction of fundamental aspects of the female identity.

Question 10

            The Sleeping Venus by Italian Renaissance artist Giorgione is an example of artwork showing a woman that does not fit with Patricia Simon’s article. The artwork shows a woman in the nude, which is contrary to Simon’s contention that a woman’s outward appearance was the most important element of her being. The painting of a single woman in the nude was particularly peculiar during the Renaissance because of the conservative social attitudes and overtly religious sentiments. On the other hand, since the woman in question is Venus, then the major point in the artwork could have been to portray another realm other than the human one. Consequently, Sleeping Venus does not depart from social convention during the Renaissance. Based on Simon’s argument, the depiction of a nude Venus could have been a neutral undertaking (4). The female nude might not have been an attempt to provoke society’s opinions about women’s sexuality.

Works Cited

Hickson, Sally. Ghirlandaio, Life of the Virgin. Smarthistory, August 9, 2015. Accessed July 21,

2019. https://smarthistory.org/ghirlandaio-birth-of-the-virgin/

History.com Editors. The Medici Family. History.com, November 9, 2009. Accessed July 21,

2019. https://www.history.com/topics/renaissance/medici-family

Simons, Patricia. “Women in frames: the gaze, the eye, the profile in Renaissance portraiture.”

The Expanding Discourse. Routledge, 2018. 38-57.

Zappella, Christine. Piero della Francesca, Flagellation of Christ. Smarthistory, August 9, 2015.

Accessed July 21, 2019. https://smarthistory.org/piero-della-francescas-flagellation-of-christ/


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