The Italian Renaissance: Art

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The Italian Renaissance

Italy was the location of the beginning of the Renaissance. It was a time of colossal artistic transition. Art went from being a bland, flat, two-dimensional picture, to a vivid and new art that was three dimensional, which was something that had never been seen before in art. Outstanding artists came to be, and artists could enjoy fame. Leonardo da Vinci was a master artist during the Renaissance, along with Michelangelo and many other famous artists. They both acquired great amounts of fame and respect and became legendary artists and are still admired to this day. Humanism changed the outlook on life. Humanism allowed people to get interested in the human body instead of theology. Due to this change, many scientific discoveries were made. In addition, mathematics played a large role in making Renaissance art unique and spectacular. From this explosion of information, several new styles of art emerged. Two of the most know and preferred styles were tempera and fresco art. Both were initially developed and utilized during the Renaissance. Spanning from the late 1300’s to the late 1500’s, the proto, early, high and mannerism periods of the Renaissance were times of great change. Despite this short span of time, it is easily one of the most productive periods of art in history.

Italian Renaissance Artists
Leonardo da Vinci – He became a legend in his lifetime. He was so talented that he was regarded with admiration and awe. In spite of his ridiculous fame, he did not become arrogant. He was very kind and humane; he didn’t eat meat because he did not believe in killing animals. He wrote “He, who does not value life, does not deserve it”. He would go to markets and purchase songbirds and would then set them free. From the time he was a young boy to old age, he lived with animals as companions, treating them with compassion.

As well as being an artist, Da Vinci was also an accomplished musician, skillful horseman and expert swordsman, but he never drew it out of anger. In his early life he used his exemplary art skills to record his thoughts. He brought a notebook wherever he went. He had many notebooks but unfortunately the majority of them were lost throughout time. There are some that remain today and they are preserved.

Leonardo da Vinci was born into the booming Renaissance. He was extremely advanced intellectually, architecturally, and artistically for his time. In addition to learning to paint, he learned how to sculpt with wood and stone. He also worked with modeling clay and learned from the metalworkers how to cast in bronze, silver and gold. He was taught how to make musical instruments and surgical instruments.

When da Vinci was only 15 years old he had mastered many artistic skills. He was sent to Florence as an apprentice to Andrea Del Verrocchio. Verrocchio was very well known in the community and had earned a great reputation. His shop was almost always bustling with activity. Leonardo worked with Verrocchio until 1477. During that time Verrocchio was hired to paint what was later to become the famous painting, The Baptism of Christ. Verrocchio had Leonardo paint the kneeling angel in the painting. The angel turned out better than anything Verrocchio had done. He was so humiliated that he stopped painting after that. Da Vinci was later quoted, saying, “Poor is a pupil that does not surpass his master.”

In 1472 da Vinci was accepted into the painter’s guild of Florence. He left Verrocchio’s studio and worked on his own until 1481. It was then that his reputation was severely damaged by the accusation that he had committed sodomy. The charges were eventually dropped but he was humiliated and failed to complete two large projects that he was commissioned to do.

Da Vinci decided to move to Milan in 1482. He was hired by Duke Ludovico Sforza and was given the title of “painter and engineer.” He stayed in Milan for 17...
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