If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content
Current time:0:00Total duration:3:30

Painting in central Italy

Video transcript

cities are chaos and it has led people from ancient times to the present to imagine what the ideal city might look like we're in the Kamel de gallery in berlin and we're looking at one image of an ideal city by francesco giorgio this is a panel that may have originally been part of piece of furniture or perhaps embedded into the frame of a wall so that it was probably not meant to be an individual work of art you can see the incredible illusion of space that the linear perspective creates and the intense rationalism that we know is so important to the renaissance here applied to an image of a city you know the ancient Romans had planned their cities as Garrison's they were formed out of a grid sometimes a rectangle sometimes a square but they were rational and they were meant to be rational but during the medieval period that thousand years that followed cities grew organically and they became complex and did not facilitate the movement of people or goods and so one can imagine now in this revival of the classical in the Renaissance this idea of returning to a kind of geometric purity what would that City be like and how might it affect its culture how might a city that was geometrically perfect that was ideal affect those that lived within the confines of it everything about the Italian city-states and new notions of being a citizen of a republic and rising to the virtues of living in a republic then we could indeed see how artists are the renaissance would try to imagine what kind of city space would foster an ideal citizen it makes so much sense because the medieval feudal tradition had been a kind of organic system but now people were taking responsibility for the development and planning of government why not also take responsibility for the planning of their civic spaces and in places like Florence there were squares that were cleared very consciously so that you had ideal vistas you had ideal views and so this notion of urban planning was one that was developing it was very much at the forefront artists like Leonardo da Vinci is applying the kind of geometry to the form of the body right exactly and what one might think of the Vitruvius man where you actually have this beautiful coming together of a perfect geometry and the ideal human form a man of perfect proportions you mentioned earlier the severe linear perspective it's so seductive the way in which our eyes rock it back into space towards those ships I'm really taken with the playful element that is we can see where the vanishing point would be but very close to it but not quite there is a ship and so there's a dot and we expect that to be the vanishing point but it's not and it were reminded that outside of the built environment on the sea in the water these rules don't apply and so the idea of the rational is the idea of the man-made this is a space that we can control so what we're seeing here is a coming together of a renaissance interest in illusionary space in the architecture of classical antiquity and in notions of the ideal that's right this ennobling idea of the rational