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This is the Renaissance Art overview video for TICE ART 1010, a video from the Utah System of Higher Education. Created by Nancy Ross.
Video transcript
Arturo Potori here, but you can call me Art. This is explorations in art history starring me! And, the hand. Well, without the rest of me, how embarrassing, people watching from around the world and I'm stuck waiting on some five-fingered prima donna. Oh, well that's better. It looks like we'll be talking about the Renaissance Period. During the medieval period, the torch lit by the Greeks, carried on by the Romans, had been rejected, Medieval values instead elevated the spiritual and denounced the flesh. Then, in the mid-14th century, Petrarch, an Italian poet and scholar of Latin, was able to reconcile Christianity and classical Roman and Greek thought in his writings, and revive interest in what had been dismissed as the pagan past. This started the period called the Renaissance, or rebirth. The shift of focus from god-centered toward human-centered interest became known as Humanism. Of course, there wouldn't have been much of a Renaissance without a Renaissance man or two, a man with expertise in many fields. Take Brunelleschi, who was a goldsmith, architect, engineer, sculptor and mathematician. As an artist, he discovered the principles of linear perspective, which gives the illusion of 3-dimensional space, to 2-dimensional art. Start with the horizon line, add a vanishing point, and then lines that converge to that vanishing point. Now you have a framework for making objects appear farther away. Or closer. Of course, Brunelleschi was most famous for his massive dome. No, not that dome. The dome he built for the Florence Cathedral, equal in size to the dome of the Pantheon. Brunelleschi's new method of construction was so different that some Florentines wondered if he was mad! He devised a way to build the dome without scaffolding, and without using flying buttresses, commonly used in Gothic architecture to support the weight of large structures. Sixteen years later when the dome was completed, it was recognized as a marvel of the era, and Brunelleschi was heralded as a genius. Donatello also started as a goldsmith. No, no, no, no, Donatello was not a crime-fighting turtle, but Donatello did study the old Roman styles of sculpture and ornamentation. His David is famous as the first free-standing bronze sculpture cast during the Renaissance. It depicts David as the beautiful youth of the Bible, just after decapitating the giant Goliath, and uses classical techniques like contrapposto in its design. Donatello also developed a new way of sculpting in shallow relief, that applied the rules of linear perspective to create a greater illusion of depth. He would have been hailed as the most accomplished sculptor of the Renaissance, if not for the coming of Michelangelo, who, along with da Vinci and Raphael kicked the art world into high gear for the High Renaissance. Perhaps no one exemplifies the ideal of the Renaissance man more than Leonardo da Vinci. No, Renaissance man was not a superhero. Really, read your history. Leonardo was a talented painter, sculptor, scientist, architect, and even a military engineer. He painted the most famous portrait in the world, the Mona Lisa. His boundless curiosity was best exemplified by his notebooks, which were filled with inventions, like a tank, flying machine, and a parachute. In 1482, Leonardo went to Milan where he painted his famous mural, The Last Supper, on the wall of a monastery. He chose to portray the emotional moment when Jesus predicts that one of the apostles will betray him, and the betrayer will take bread at the same time he does. The apostles react in different degrees of surprise and horror, except for Judas, who, distracted by the commotion, reaches for a piece of bread. Leonardo used perspective lines as a compositional device that leads the eye to Jesus' face, the calm center of the chaos. Though The Last Supper had been painted by others, Leonardo's was the first to depict the apostles as acting, or reacting, like real people. Now we come to Michelangelo. You think we can do this one straight? Ok. At 24, Michelangelo carved the famous Pieta, which in Italian, means pity. The Pieta depicts the body Jesus on his mother Mary's lap, as she mourns his death by crucifixion, and combines the Renaissance ideals classical beauty and realism. Shortly after installing the Pieta, Michelangelo overheard someone say that the sculpture was the work of another artist. That night Michelangelo chiseled the words, "Michelangelo Bourinati Florentine made this" across the sash running across Mary's breast. Later, Michelangelo regretted this act. It was the only statue he ever signed. Michelangelo was reluctant to accept the commision to paint the Sistine chapel, but Pope Julius II insisted. Contrary to popular belief, Michelangelo did not lay on his back to paint, but stood on specially designed scaffolding and had to reach upward craning his neck awkwardly to paint. Fresco required painting in to a newly applied layer of wet plaster, and Michelangelo, also a poet, complained in a letter to a friend, "My beard turns up to heaven my nape falls in, a rich embroidery bedews my face, from brushstrokes thick and thin." Four years later the arduous task was done, and a masterpiece created. The paintings of the Sistine Chapel had a profound effect on other artists. One story claims that Raphael slipped into the chapel to examine the paintings when Michelangelo was absent. "Mamma mia! What's the matter with me? It's back to the drawing board." Raphael scraped the fresco he was working on off the wall and repainted it. Imititating the more powerful style of Michelangelo. Raphael became a favorite of the Pope, and was commissioned to paint other rooms in the Vatican. His greatest masterpiece, The School of Athens, portrays Plato, Aristotle and other Greek philosophers, mathematicians, scientists, from classical antiquity, sharing their ideas, learning from each other. It's a kind of intellectual fantasy gathering, since these figures all lived at different times, and it shows that Humanism had become accepted in the church. Raphael even included himself standing with the astronomers. Sounds like my kind of party, Plato, Aristotle, Arturo, huh? Oh. We haven't mentioned the Northern Renaissance. No, no, no, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael did not go North for a skiing trip. Sorry folks, you'll have to excuse the hand today, it's just that, well, for many, the Renaissance was an intoxicating time. Ok, so what happened in Italy didn't stay in Italy. The ideas of the Renaissance migrated up into the rest of Europe, and started what was called the Northern Renaissance. Jan van Eyck pioneered the techniques of painting with oil based paints on wooden panels. Artists of the North had a fondness for meticulous detail, and were more interested in realism than classicism. Albrecht Dürer traveled to Italy and was friends with Raphael and other artists of the Renaissance. He was able to incorporate the Italian and Northern ideas into his paintings and prints. He became one of the most influential artists of printmaking, and elevated this relatively art form to new levels of aesthetic quality and popularity. After the death of Leonardo in 1519 and Raphael in 1520 artists rejected the values of the High Renaissance for a more heightened or more mannered approach. Mannerists like Tito and Regel created unbalanced compositions that gave for visual tension to the work. Tintoreto's painting of The Last Supper shifts the table from the center to the left side, and emphasizes dramatic lighting and motion to increase the drama of the image. Mannerist artists also intentionally distorted and stylized the human body and spatial relationships like this painting of the Madonna, by Parmegianino. The figures are elongated, and instead of balancing the angels on either side of Mary, they are deliberately squeezed into the left side with only a tiny Saint Jerome on the right. Oww, how does she do it! The Renaissance was a period of great discovery, invention, and creativity The Renaissance included the discovery of the New World by Columbus, the invention of the printing press by Gutenberg, the beginning of the Protestant Reformation by Martin Luther, and the scientific advances of Copernicus and Galileo, to name a few. The influence of the Renaissance on Western art is ongoing, and even went viral without Facebook or Twitter or Youtube, because of the strength of its ideas, and the beauty of its creations. Created as a part of TICE Art 1010 Online Course Special thanks to the Utah System of Higher Education For their generous support Produced by: and: Video Production: