The High Renaissance in Italy

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At the end of 15th and early 16th centuries, when the political power of the Medici declined, many artists found reward at the Vatican as their desire “Artists must work where their art is appreciated and their labors rewarded”(311). It was considered as a type of natural evolution of Italian Humanism and it was characterized by explosion of creative genius. In the book Culture and Value A Survey of the Humanities by Lawrence Cunningham and John Reich, we will see that painting in this period reached its peak of technical competence, rich artistic imagination and heroic composition via the works of the greatest artists ever known: Rapheal, Leonardo da Vinci, and Michelangelo. First, the “School of Athens” by Rapheal was acknowledged as the perfect embodiment of the Classical spirit of the High Renaissance. It represents all characteristics that can describe the Renaissance ideal: “a high degree of sensitivity to ordered space, a complete ease with Classical thought, obvious inspiration from the Roman architectural past, a brilliant sense of color and form, and a love for intellectual clarity.”(312). In the detail of the fresco, among a group of people are the two greatest ancient Greek philosophers: Plato and Aristotle. While Plato with one hand “points to the heaven, the realm of ideal form” indicate the world of idea, Aristotle “points to the earth, where his science of empirical observation must begin”(312) indicate the world of experience. Also, in the fresco, Rapheal represented the expressive energy, the physical power, and the dramatic group of his figures. All members play their role purposefully. Each group shows the variety that Raphael was capable of introducing to a compositional grouping. Second, another greatest works in this period is the “Moses” by Michelangelo. The work is the sculpture with impression of “bulky physicality and the carefully modeled particulars of musculature, drapery, and hair”(313). When look at the figure, we can see that...
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