10 June 2012
Writing Assignment #1, Option 2: Sculpture of the Renaissance A time of extraordinary beauty in the field of art was the period known as High Renaissance. There was a growing trend towards realism, and artists of the time aspired to achieve beauty, harmony and naturalism in their work. These qualities began to revolve around a movement called humanism, which was a philosophical school of thought that attached more importance to humans and less to God. In this respect, sculpture became so incredibly lifelike, and much more three-dimensional than in previous periods. Donatello's St. Mark reflects a change in artistic tastes: no longer was the highly stylized and unnaturally perfect international Gothic style the reigning artistic movement. It was slowly but surely making way for the individualism and realism of the Renaissance. An example of this is Donatello’s Saint Mark, ca. 1411-1413, which appears so lifelike that it is able to walk out of it’s niche and down into the palazzo. Donatello was commissioned by the linen drapers guild to sculpt Saint Mark as the guild’s niche decoration in the Or San Michele. The linen drapers guild were his patrons, who Donatello attempted to please with the realistic draping of Saint Marks robes. Choosing to work with marble, he began the sculpture in 1411. Saint Marks’ perfect proportions strongly reflect his devotion to the classical style and stands in contrapposto, his weight on one leg, with the opposite shoulder shifted downward. His clothing is naturally draped, revealing the body underneath it. The other leg is bent, allowing the viewer to see the outline of his kneecap. A detail of his right hand shows the veins beneath the skin, giving the sculpture an almost palpable heartbeat. This realism that allows the viewer to get an idea of St. Mark's body beneath his clothing was popular during the Renaissance. Donatello's St. Mark reflects a change in artistic tastes, as the highly stylized and...
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