17 June 2014
Continuity and Change from The Dark Ages Through The Enlightenment and Beyond
We, the human race, have always moved forward with the changing times. As we gain knowledge through education and other means we see this reflected in our way of thinking and our culture. These changes are portrayed and preserved through art. Starting back in the dark times of the Medieval period, we can see two art forms in particular, art and sculpture, change as we move through the Renaissance period and on into the Baroque period, by way of the introduction of mathematic concepts and new techniques, as well as the introduction of more secular art works. Starting with Medieval paintings, such as Cimbaue’s depiction of Madonna Enthroned, we see the same facial expression over and over, illustrated in fairly flat colors. It is mostly one-dimensional, there is little light, shading or contrast, and it greatly lacks dramatic effect. This was true of most works of the time. Paintings of the Renaissance built upon that which was established in the Middle Ages. Light was more prevalent and was used artistically to focus the viewer eye and draw them in to the work. Brighter colors and contrast were used making paintings more dramatic. Techniques of perspective, introduced by Giotto and built upon by Masaccio and others, as well as light and dark shading began to give images dimension and realism. These new techniques are prevalent in Giotto’s Illustration of Madonna Enthroned. There was a move from solely religious paintings to more secular works and classical themes, including nudes, were re-introduced during this time as well. As we move from the Renaissance through to the Baroque period, images build more upon what has already been seen. Colors become brighter and more contrasting. The artist works even harder to draw the viewer in through extravagant settings, creative use of light, more intense emotions, etc. The main theme of the...
Cited: Fiero, Gloria K. The Humanistic Tradition, Fifth Edition: Book(s) 2, 3, 4. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2006.
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