A Comparison of Renaissance and Mannerism Art
Western Governor’s University
One of the most influential eras of art is the Renaissance period. The Renaissance period began around the fourteenth century in Italy. It continued and spread through Europe until the sixteenth century. This era was marked by considerable political and religious turmoil. The papacy in Rome was occupied with corruption and scandal and Protestant branches breaking from the Church. The Bubonic Plague was spreading through Europe decreasing the population by as much as 30-50%. The consequent decrease in the available working force might have allowed workers more bargaining power. Coastal cities become commerce and trade centers (The Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 1998). These events may have allowed the power to increase in the middle class, allowing more time for study and the patronization of the arts. This time period was also known as the “Age of Discovery”. Europeans began exploring the world seeking a faster route to the Indies. Copernicus theorized that the Earth revolved around the Sun as opposed to the Earth being the center of the universe with all of the planets and stars orbiting our planet, which was the general belief at that time. Galileo invented the telescope and is credited for discovering moons orbiting Jupiter. The printing press was invented during this time allowing for the spread of information, new ideas and more people having access to education. Renaissance scholars sought to learn from classic texts and artists endeavored to render more natural and harmonious pieces. Science and art often intermixed as evidenced by Da Vinci’s sketches of the human form. There was growth and innovation in the art world during the Renaissance as well. Paintings became more realistic and harmonious with nature. Linear perspective was developed as well as other techniques such as the use of light and shadow to give paintings a three-dimensional look....
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