Week 2 ProjectAssignment Due May 11 at 12:59 AM
Whether artists were working under the patronage of a Catholic Pope, endorsing a Counter-Reformation agenda, or producing art influenced by the Protestant Reformation, religion had an undeniable impact on the creation of art in the High Renaissance and Baroque periods in Europe.
Carefully examine the following works, and read about each one in your textbook, course and video lectures, and through reliable internet resources:
In an essay of 5-7 well-developed paragraphs, address each of the following questions, making specific references to the five paintings listed above:
Include specific details about the visual characteristics and content of each painting in your response.
Provide proper citations for any information from outside sources included in your essay.
The Sixteenth Century in Northern Europe
Outside of Italy in the sixteenth century, religion continued to be an important in�uence in the production of art. Some art, such as German artist Matthias Grünewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece (c. 1510-15), af�rmed the tenets of the Catholic Church with its intensely emotional representation of the Cruci�xion. Netherlandish artist Hieronymus Bosch, a practicing Catholic, created an unconventional triptych in his Garden of Earthly Delights (c. 1505- 15). The oil on panel is a symbolically rich and imaginative reminder that excesses of the �esh enjoyed during one’s natural life can lead to eternal damnation.
In other parts of Europe, a backlash against perceived excesses of the Catholic Church and its papacy resulted in a widespread call for Church reform. German theologian Martin Luther issued his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517, sparking the movement known as the Reformation. Luther and other reformers emphasized the authority of the Scriptures and individual faith. The most fundamental outcome of the Reformation was the spread of sects of Protestantism across Europe during the century. German artist Albrecht Durer’s Four Apostles (1526) expresses the artist’s own Protestant (speci�cally Lutheran) beliefs. In the diptych, the apostle Peter (the �rst pope), has been relegated to the background left of the composition, while Martin Luther’s favorite apostle, John, is at front left, holding an open Gospel with the inscription, “In the beginning was the Word,” highlighting the primacy of Scriptures, with no papal intercessor, espoused by the Protestants.
With a loss of a market for religious images in countries turning largely to Protestantism, other subjects, such as portraiture, landscapes, and moralizing genre scenes rose in popularity for artists and patrons. Pieter Bruegel the Elder’s landscapes and Han Holbein’s portraits were produced in this context.
Grunewald’s Isenheim Altarpiece (http://www.learner.org/courses/globalart/work/234/)
Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights (https://www.museodelprado.es/en/the-collection/art-work/the-garden-of-earthly-delights-triptych/02388242- 6d6a-4e9e-a992-e1311eab3609)
The Protestant Reformation (http://www.history.com/topics/reformation)
Albrecht Durer (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/durr/hd_durr.htm)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/brue/hd_brue.htm)
The High Renaissance in Italy
The High Renaissance in Italy, dating from approximately 1500-1527, witnessed the apex of artistic advances made in the previous century. A unifying theme of the High Renaissance in Italy was the personality of its artists. Sixteenth century Italian society regarded artists as geniuses, and artists enjoyed a heightened social status.
Like their predecessors, High Renaissance artists continued to focus on representing the human form with anatomical precision, represented three- dimensional space in a believable way, and captured human emotion and psychological states. Art produced in the High Renaissance also tended towards symmetry, balance, and stability.
The High Renaissance starts with Leonardo da Vinci in Florence. The epitome of the so-called “Renaissance Man,” Leonardo believed an artist should be intellectually versatile, and he used art to help explore and explain science and the natural world (Virtruvian man here – istock). Leonardo’s Last Supper (1495-98) shows the compositional and chromatic harmony characteristic of High Renaissance painting. Typical of Leonardo, the fresco was painted using an experimental technique in which a mixture of tempera and oil were applied directly to a thin layer of plaster. The paint did not fully adhere to the wall, and the fresco began to deteriorate almost immediately,
The center of artistic production in the High Renaissance ultimately shifted from Florence to Rome. In an effort to increase papal power, Pope Julius II, elected in 1503, aimed to align sixteenth-century Rome with the grandeur of ancient times. He therefore commissioned artists such as Raphael to create art for the papacy and the Catholic Church. Raphael’s School of Athens (c. 1510-11), a fresco in the papal apartments in the Vatican, depicts the greatest thinkers of classical times in a trompe l’oeil (“fool the eye”) architectural setting.
In 1508, Julius II asked Michelangelo to adorn the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican. Painted over the span of four years, the central length of the Sistine Ceiling portrays Old Testament accounts of humanity’s struggle for salvation. Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescos are typical of the High Renaissance, and the artist’s own style, in their glori�cation of Christianity, representation of emotion, and meticulous attention to anatomy. The �gures in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescos read as muscular as those in sculptures such as his Pieta (1500) and David (1501-04).
Page 1 of 1 History of Art from Middle Ages to Modern Times
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Baroque The word Baroque which derives from French and means irregularly shaped refers to art, music and literature produced in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries. As a style, Baroque art is typically dramatic, emotional and dynamic. It is marked by sharp diagonals and strong contrasts and color and light. The Catholic Church's Counter-Reformation, a direct response to the Protestant-Reformation, defined much of the art and architecture produced in 16th century Italy and Flanders. The Catholic Church commissioned large scale buildings, sculptures and paintings meant to be a sort of propaganda and to encourage piety in viewers. Elaborate sculptural installations such as Gian Lorenzo Bernini's Baldacchino and Saint Teresa of Avila and Ecstasy, 1645-52 are examples of Counter-Reformation sculpture. Caravaggio's the Calling of Saint Matthew, 1599-1600 epitomizes Italian Baroque painting in its subject who shows Christ singling out the Roman tax collector, Matthew to join him in a spiritual life and its composition in which the artist employs Tenebrism or the dramatic contrast of dark and light. Also, typical of the Italian Baroque approach, this biblical subject matter is told through what seemed to be ordinary figures with their dirty feet. Indeed, the only visible manifestation of Christ's holiness is a faint outline of a halo above his head. Flemish Baroque painter, Peter Paul Rubens also produced Counter-Reformation works such as his Raising of the Cross, 1610-11. The dramatic diagonal that defines the composition of this triptic is typically Baroque as are the muscular emotional figures, strong color and gestural application of paint. Dutch Baroque art showed the influence of Protestantism and the middle-class merchants and traders who served as patrons. Dutch Baroque artists create portraits, still life, landscapes and genre scenes of domestic life. Generally, Dutch Baroque art tended to be naturalistic in style and captured the transitory aspects of the every day. Rembrandt Van Rijn's large group portraits and Jan Vermeer's quiet interior studies are typical of this period's style.
Mannerism; The Sixteenth Century in Venice and Spain
Following Michelangelo’s completion of the Sistine Chapel Ceiling, he began to paint the subject of the Last Judgment on the altar wall of the Chapel. A frequent subject for Medieval and Renaissance artists, Michelangelo’s Last Judgmentserves as a bridge from the High Renaissance style into a style known as Mannerism. The Last Judgment fresco shows Michelangelo’s characteristic muscular human forms, typical of his High Renaissance style, but more typical of a Mannerist approach, his �gures exist in a vortex in which Heaven and Hell are not clearly delineated. Figures show heightened emotions and psychological states, and are posed in unnatural ways; the composition is crowded, confusing, and elaborate and the color is vibrant and striking. The fresco is understood to be Michelangelo’s personal interpretation of the New Testament account, in which the fate of all humans is decided, and its style re�ects changes in Italian art of the sixteenth century.
The term Mannerism comes from the Italian word maniera, and it can refer to certain artistic tendencies that appeared in Europe between the High Renaissance in the early sixteenth century and the Baroque era of the seventeenth century.
Mannerist art is marked by elongated �gural proportions, overstated poses, strange gestures, and a representation of subjects in an erotic or disturbing way. Mannerist artists used unconventional color schemes and unbalanced compositions. In Parmigianino’s Madonna with the Long Neck, perhaps the quintessential example of Mannerist painting, the �gures are unnaturally elongated and pushed to the foreground, the composition is unbalanced, and the sleeping Christ Child, which many read in a pose similar to the Piéta on Mary’s lap, seems likely to fall into the viewer’s space.
The Sixteenth Century in Venice and Spain
The Renaissance in Venice, Italy, produced oil paintings characterized by rich color and idyllic, sometimes sensuous subjects. Titian’s Venus of Urbino (c. 1538), commissioned by the Duke of Urbino, is a portrait of a Venetian courtesan portrayed as a reclining Venus, mixing classical mythology with actual life. Titian’s painting became the of�cial artistic formula for representing a reclining nude and would be resurrected by artists like nineteenth century painter Edouard Manet.
Later in the sixteenth century, Venetian artist Tintoretto painted his dramatic version of the Last Supper (1592-94). Marked by a strong diagonal composition and dramatic effects of dark and light, Tintoretto’s treatment of the subject matter is in stark contrast to Leonardo’s version a century earlier. With its dynamic, unbalanced composition, Tintoretto’s Last Supper foreshadows the Italian Baroque style.
Spanish artist El Greco similarly bridges the Renaissance and Baroque period styles. El Greco’s Burial of Count Orgaz contains the elongated �gures and jumbled composition typical of Mannerism. Compositional details such as the diagonal clouds lean towards the Baroque style, as does the implied lowering of the Count’s body into the viewer’s physical space, an interactive device that integrates the viewer in the subject in a typically Baroque manner.
Additional Materials (https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/renaissance-reformation/high-ren-florence-
Mannerism (https://www.britannica.com/art/Mannerism) (http://www.uf�zi.org/artworks/venus-of-urbino-by-titian/)
Download: Video Transcript (PDF 19KB) (media/transcripts/SU_W2_L4.pdf?_&d2lSessionVal=pYHvJkic8VnMWDaIA53QXBUfs&ou=77276)
The Baroque Style in Europe
The word Baroque, which derives from the French and means “irregularly shaped,” refers to art, music, and literature produced in Europe in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. As a style, Baroque art is typically dramatic, emotional, and dynamic. It is marked by sharp diagonals and strong contrasts in color and light.
The Catholic Church’s Counter-Reformation, a direct response to the Protestant Reformation, de�ned much of the art and architecture produced in sixteenth-century Italy and Flanders. The Catholic Church commissioned large scale buildings, sculptures, and paintings meant to be a sort of propaganda, and to encourage piety in viewers. Elaborate sculptural installations such as Gianlorenzo Bernini’s Baldacchino (1624-33) and St. Teresa of Avila in Ecstasy (1645-52) are examples of Counter-Reformation sculpture. Caravaggio’s The Calling of St. Matthew (1599-1600) epitomizes Italian Baroque painting in its subject, which shows Christ singling out the Roman tax collector Matthew to join him in a spiritual life, and its composition, in which the artist employs tenebrism, or the dramatic contrast of dark and light. Also typical of the Italian Baroque approach, this Biblical subject matter is told through what seem to be ordinary �gures with bare, dirty feet. Indeed, the only visible manifestation of Christ’s holiness is a faint outline of a halo above his head.
Flemish Baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens also produced Counter-Reformation works, such as his Raising of the Cross (1610-11). The dramatic diagonal that de�nes the composition of this triptych is typically Baroque, as are the muscular, emotional �gures, strong color, and gestural application of paint.
Dutch Baroque art showed the in�uence of Protestantism and the middle-class merchants and traders who served as patrons. Dutch Baroque artists created portraits, still lifes, landscapes, and genre scenes of domestic life. Generally, Dutch Baroque art tended to be naturalistic in style, and captured the transitory aspects of the everyday. Rembrandt van Rijn’s large group portraits and Jan Vermeer’s quiet interior studies are typical of this period style.
The European culture of the sixteenth century was completely altered by the profound in�uence of the Protestant Reformation. Beginning in the sixteenth century, the Protestant Reformation split Europe along religious and geographical lines. To halt the spread of this reform movement throughout all of Europe, the Roman Catholic Church began a Counter-Reformation after 1540. This resulted in deep and long lasting changes in church organization and administration. The Catholic Counter-Reformation was an effort for reform and renewal. In this effort, art became a major tool of popular persuasion.
During the seventeenth century, upheavals occurred not only in the religious world, but also in the political, economic, governmental, and scienti�c worlds—having a profound impact on artistic effort and production. Art became more and more something that was within reach of members of a growing middle class, and many types of art were speci�cally produced for their consumption and enjoyment.
The characteristics that “baroque” designates are generally open compositions that obtain strategically placed elements that move diagonally across a piece. The use of a dramatic light source and rich colors are key ingredients of most Baroque paintings. The artists of the seventeenth century were attempting to mimic life naturally. This added more responsibility onto the observer since the viewer was now expected to be emotionally involved with the work.
Although churches remained the dominant form of architectural achievements, public spaces were becoming a popular way to attempt to unify the citizens after the Reformation. Piazzas, open urban spaces, housed �ne sculptures, fountains, and statues by famous artists of the time. Rome’s famous Piazza Navona is a large public outdoor space that includes monumental fountains.
As in the High Renaissance, artists including sculptors were concerned with the individuality of each piece. Bernini was one of the most famous sculptors of the Baroque era. His ability to create the illusion of different textures in marble is what set him apart from the rest. In his piece Saint Teresa of Avila in Ecstasy, Bernini elicits such a feeling of movement and emotion, as the facial expressions seem to be a glimpse into a miracle. The work is overwhelmingly beautiful, as gild bronze rays of light are descending down onto the angel and a hidden window above illuminates Saint Teresa.
Another example of raw emotion caught within a solid piece of marble is Bernini’s David. Although many acclaimed sculptors tackled an image of David �ghting Goliath, Bernini’s David is very different. The determination on his face shows through as the image is composed of David rearing back to hurl a stone. His positioning of the �gure encroaches into the viewer’s space, making the onlooker feel as though he/she is paying witness to the act at hand. The diagonal composition carries the viewer’s eye completely around the piece and gives way to the sight of David’s abandoned armor on the ground at his feet.
The ceiling paintings of the Baroque era were utilizing the same ideas of that of the High Renaissance, just on a new level. Architectural elements were included in the images through the technique known as trompe l’oeil painting, a technique that made paintings appear to be textured and three- dimensional. Painting the elements as opposed to sculpting them allowed the artist to have the subjects of an image interact with the space itself.
Key Artists of the Baroque (media/week2/SUO_HUM1002%20W2%20L4%20Key%20Artists%20of%20the%20Baroque.pdf? _&d2lSessionVal=pYHvJkic8VnMWDaIA53QXBUfs&ou=77276)
Rembrandt van Rijn (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/rmbt/hd_rmbt.htm)
Johannes Vermeer (http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/verm/hd_verm.htm)
Key Artists of the Baroque
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The Baroque Style in Europe
Key Artists of the Baroque
Caravaggio—His love and study of still life, coupled with his intensely realistic figures brought a heightened sense of reality sought by both viewers and patrons.
Georges de La Tour (French)—He filled the foreground with colossal figures which forced the viewer to interact on an emotional level with the painting. The simplified settings and a singular light source, that was included in the painting, were often so dramatic that they seemed to be primary subjects of the paintings apart from the actual figures.
Diego Velazquez (Spain)—Like Caravaggio, Velazquez was skilled in painting still lives and was able to incorporate them into his compositions to create realistic scenes. Complex compositions were indicative of Velazquez paintings and it is apparent in his most famous piece Las Meninas.
Peter Paul Rubens (Flanders)— With unique compositions containing a sense of formality containing rich colors attention to detail and multiple textures, Rubens work is a perfect example of traditional Flemish techniques. In his triptych The Raising of the Cross utilizes the diagonal pull by having Christ’s body on the cross stretch across the middle panel. It almost looks as though the light source is coming from within the figure of Jesus and illuminates the other characters.
Rembrandt van Rijn (Netherlands)—Now considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time, Rembrandt was also highly revered in the seventeenth century. Rembrandt was a portrait painter and relied on that for income but also painted landscapes and narratives. His figures have a life to them that may be due to the fact that he often painted portraits over portraits and give the canvas a rich history of paint and texture.
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