Compare and Contrast: Gothic to Renaissance

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Travis Lent
10/24/12
Midterm Essay
Professor Kate Martin

Compare and Contrast: Gothic to Renaissance

There is truly no doubt that the Gothic and Renaissance eras were both incredibly significant periods of time in the history of art. The developing transition beginning in the Gothic period as far back as 1150, to the end of the Early Renaissance in 1450 and finally the High Renaissance in 1520, would forever signify one of the most accomplishing and inspirational ages of art. In this development spanning almost four centuries, both many similarities and differences can be found when comparing and contrasting various works of art.

In Europe, a different perspective was growing even before the Black Death struck in 1348. The economic, political and social changes stirred by the plague definitely affected the development of an awakening view that saw human life as valuable in its own right. In reaction to the Black Death, some artists saw the plague as punishment for too much emphasis on worldly things while others questioned the fact that God would allow so much suffering, subsequently turning away from the strict devotion of the middle ages. This would ultimately lead to the new form of humanism in Italy when artists began to depict and illustrate religious figures more humanly.

One of the most significant works of the Gothic period was the Annunciation with Saints Ansanus and Marggherita, which was produced by Simone Martini and Lippo Memmi between 1285-1344. Simone Martini, a student of Duccio and employed by the French kings in Naples and Sicily, created the Anunciation alterpiece for the Siena Cathedral. His uses of elegance, fluttering line, vibrant colors and weightless figures in a spaceless setting all became signature aspects to Martini’s forte. Utilizing these styles and techniques ultimately lead him to become one of the most influential developers in the creation of the International Gothic era.

Nearly two centuries later, Leonardo...
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