History of Art

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Discuss the evolution of the idea of beauty through the history of art. The idea of beauty, the perfect human body, is a result of culture: religious functions, advertisements, economy, and other factors. The definition of beauty is not an inherent concept, since every age, place and social class formed its own ideal of it. This evolution of beauty is shown explicitly through the history of art. Art, in different periods, was influenced mainly by history and religion. I will discuss this transition from the Middle Ages to Renaissance, from Impressionism to Expressionism and later Cubism. I will discuss artworks by various artists such as Giotto, Botticelli, Michelangelo, Degas and Picasso. I will analyze the way they depicted their ideas of beauty, compare and contrast the concepts the artists used to transmit their ideas. Giotto Di Bondone (1266/7 – 1337) was an Italian painter and architect from Florence in the late Middle Ages. In the transitional period between International Gothic and Renaissance, Giotto was among the first to make use of proportions to represent human figures. He worked on perspective and rounded sculptural forms that appear to have been based on living models rather than on idealized conventional human figure. Giotto rejected the long, elegant lines of the Byzantine style and went for a more realistic representation. He based his works on the real rather than the divine and idealistic. Painted in 1300 for the Church of San Francesco in Pisa, The Stigmatization of St. Francis illustrates stories from the life of the saint, who was a particular inspiration to Giotto. In this signed panel, Giotto uses the realistic human form, space, colour, gesture and placement of figures to tell the story in a new, human-like way. It remained for Masaccio (1401 – 1428), a century later, to expand upon Giotto's monumental style. Masaccio applied mathematical laws in his paintings and created an illusion of space and distance. Masaccio was and still is...
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