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Analyze the ways in which the arts of the Renaissance period reflected new

conceptions of the individual

Prior to the Renaissance, Europe was entrenched in the Middle Ages perspective, concerning itself
with religion and salvation in the afterlife. The new economic and political opportunities opening for
Western Europe in the Late Middle Ages encouraged more people to take an interest in this world.
During the Renaissance people saw life on Earth as worth living for its own sake, not just as an ordeal
to endure before going to heaven. Renaissance philosophers saw humans as intelligent creatures
capable of reason rather than mindless pawns of God. The more communal, group oriented society
and mentality of the Middle Ages was being replaced by a belief in the potential of the individual to
make great achievements. Along those lines, the art of the period in particular exhibited this secular
spirit, showing detailed and accurate scenery, anatomy, and nature.
Visual art
o Most radical innovations and break with Middle Ages
o Medieval Art
Religious in tone and created for glory of God
Neglected details (lifeless) no individual and anatomical detail
o background, perspective, proportion, and individuality
o Secular themes
o Religious paintings great deal of attention to glorifying the human form and individual
human accomplishments.
Individual existence
o Focused on people than religion (Secular)
o No longer had to paint all their paintings for the church or contain certain meaning back
to religion
o School of Athens by Raphael
Example of Renaissance technique as it depicts Plato and Aristotle surrounded by
other great philosophers and scientists
o Self portrait
The Portrait of Ginevra de Benci by Leonardo Da Vinci
Batista Sforza & Federico de Montefeltre: The Duke & Dutchess of Urbino by
Piero della Francesca
o Free standing figures (Individualism), Classical Pose
Venus by the Medicis
o Nudes
Expulsion from the Garden by Massaccio
Individual emotions
o Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci
Conveys inner mood through complex facial expressions
o David by Michelangelo (eighteen-foot statue in Florence)
heroic pose and expression
Individual beauty
o Focus on the glorification of the human form
o David by Michelangelo (eighteen-foot statue in Florence)
Renaissance harmony, symmetry, and proportion all served for emphasizing
beauty of human body
small veins
o Venus by the Medici
o David by Donatello
portrays the Israel King who slayed Goliath as a short and beautiful man
Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused
him. For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward
appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart" (1 Samuel 16:7) from the Bible
meant that he was of short stature, expressing that in this artwork
o Leonardo Da Vinci
started to look into the structure of man and how it functioned

Analyze the ways in which the arts of the Renaissance period reflected new
conceptions of the individual
Individualism gave birth to the Renaissance Man,
- The Greek ideal of the well-rounded man was at the heart of Renaissance education.
- Able to link information from different areas/disciplines and create new knowledge.
- Deep knowledge/skill in one area.
- Broad knowledge about many things in different fields.