Anatoly’s Art History: Renaissance Humanism
As a lover of all things art-related, I’ve used these platforms as a means of cataloging my journey through the various periods of art history. Studying the past is one of the most efficient means of exploring the culture of those who created art before us. And it is precisely that history that can lend insight into the people and their art.
Art, like people, changes over time. Comparing pieces and themes and motifs from the past to those today yields incredibly different results. On top of the differences you’ll obviously notice artist to artist, even casual art fans can take notice of the various periods and eras of art that we as humans have progressed through. In the past, I’ve covered quite a few between my blogs at TonyVanetik.net and TonyVanetik.WordPress.coms–everything from the Stone Age to the period I’m currently exploring, the Renaissance.
If, like me, you’re a fan of visual learning, I invite you to visit my Slideshare page, where I upload presentations covering this very information regularly.
The Renaissance Period and Humanism
Last month I jumped forward in time to about 1400, the beginning of one of the most important artistic and intellectual revolutions that has occurred in human history–The Renaissance. Far too long and influential a time to cover in just one blog post, I’ll be revisiting the Renaissance this month (and perhaps next!) to ensure a good bit of information is discovered.
It is impossible to write about the length of the Renaissance period while neglecting to mention the rise of humanism. Though not strictly an art-based revelation, the rise of humanism certainly had an impact on the art and culture of the period. Placing a strong focus on humankind, scientific reasoning, man’s image, and how our intellect reflects on us as a species, humanism’s rise can be attributed in part to the invention of movable print and a surge in the popularity of older philosophical texts.
So how did this affect art?
The spread of this scientific approach had tangible impacts on the art and artists of the time–take for example, da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man. There was a heightened concentration on proportions and on realism in the art that dominated the period–something that has remained a mainstay in some art today.
While the Renaissance period represented a rise in humanism, it certainly did not represent the birth of the movement. This is made evident by looking at the texts of the past that were dug up and meticulously studied at the time– classical texts that had been lost for years. These texts, which lead to a rise in humanism and intellectualism lead to enormous changes not only in the style of the art, as mentioned above, but the subjects as well.
Most art prior to the High Renaissance was inspired by religion, a central piece in art for almost as long as art has existed. But these rediscovered texts helped lead to a scientific revolution, pushing some artists away from painting religion and into the arms of scientific reasoning, study and deeply-rooted intellectualism.