Essay, Research Paper: Italian Renaissance

Literature: Shakespeare

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The Italian renaissance was as the name implies the rebirth of painting. This
does not imply that all the advances of painting came from this period but that
the masters learned to combine new and old. The list of artist who contributed
to the advancement in painting during the renaissance is as diverse as the
paintings. The Black Death (bubonic and pneumonic plague) caused an actual
decline in art from the prosperity of the high Middle Ages. The plague killed
almost a third of the people in Europe and the renaissance was the first
advancement in the arts after this terrible devastation. The capital of the
Tuscany region of Italy was Florence and this is where many of the new
renaissance artist were trained. The renaissance, broadly considered covered the
years between 1400 and 1600, although specialist do disagree on these dates.
During this period artist were no longer regarded as mere artisans, as they had
been in the past but were now considered independent personalities. Masaccio
made notable advances in the styles of paintings such as perspective, space, and
surrounding his subjects in light and air. The next great step was in the
mellowness and richness of colors used by Bellini. The complex strokes of color
make the surrounding light and air almost inseparable from the figures. Bellini
was a great artist and teacher who brought Venetian art onto the scene to the
point that it was at the forefront of the Renaissance. The Painter Sandro
Botticelli comes along as the next great painter after Masaccio. When you look
at the painting Primavera 1482, you see the new, sharply contoured, slender form
and rippling sinuous line that is synonymous with Botticelli. In the painting
Botticelli catches the freshness of an early spring morning, with the pale light
shining through the tall, straight trees, already laden with their golden fruit.
The two paintings that are said to epitomize the renaissance are the Mona Lisa
(1503-06) and the Last Supper (1495-97) by the master Leonardo da Vinci who was
the elder of the Florentine masters. The observation of nature, firsthand
investigations, and experimentation is what set him apart from his peers early
on. Like Shakespeare he came from an insignificant background and fittingly
described as a genius. The art of perspective was used extensively by Florentine
artist Paolo Ucello (Paolo di Dono, 1397-1475), and this was shown very well in
his painting The Hunt in the Forest, 1460’s. The painting shows how well he
used perspective the way everything in it is organized upon a distant and almost
unseen stag, a vanishing stag: the vanishing point. The art of perspective is
the representation of solid objects and three-dimensional space in accordance
with our optical perception of these things. We actually see the world in
perspective the way things get smaller as they are farther away. During the
Renaissance northern Italy was one of the wealthiest regions in Europe. Genoa
and Venice both had populations of around 100,000 by 1400 and were the main
centers of trade. Florence, with a population of 55,000 was the center for
manufacture and distribution. The renaissance continued with many great painters
improving the different styles and colors in the fantastic world of painting and
art.



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