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The Renaissance revival of Classical Rome was as important in architecture as it was in literature. A pilgrimage to Rome to study the ancient buildings and ruins, especially the Colosseum and Pantheon, was considered essential to an architect's training. Classical orders and architectural elements such as columns, pilasters, pediments, entablatures, arches, and domes form the vocabulary of Renaissance buildings. Vitruvius's writings on architecture also influenced the Renaissance definition of beauty in architecture. As in the Classical world, Renaissance architecture is characterized by harmonious form, mathematical proportion, and a unit of measurement based on the human scale. The humanist and secularist beliefs of religion, individuality, and antiquity were evident in the style and illustration of Italian paintings and sculptures in the High Renaissance era. Historically, religion is the defining factor of nearly all paintings in modern and medieval European history. The Last Supper by Leonardo, The School of Athens by Raphael, Michelangelo's huge sculpture of the ancient Hebrew king David, Giotto's paintings of the Virgin Mary and Saint Francis of Assisi, and Masaccio's The Holy Trinity serve as an infinitesimally small sample of the vast selection of religiously inspired paintings, frescos, sculptures, and architectural endeavors created by Renaissance artists. The School of Athens by Raphael is an artistic representation of the beliefs and interpretations of the Renaissance humanist philosophers such as Petrarch and Drusus. Great classical mathematicians such as Pythagoras stand under the statue of the Greek goddess of reason, Athena, while intellectuals such as Socrates teach on the right, under the statue of the Greek patron of poetry, Apollo. This fresco also illustrates the existence of an intellectual community of painters, sculptors, and leaders such as Michelangelo and Leonardo, who exist in the painting as Greek philosopher Heraclitus and Plato, respectively. This select group of individuals was in fact the majority of the thinking power of the Italian Renaissance. The "rebirth" of art in Italy was connected with the rediscovery of ancient philosophy, literature, and science and the evolution of empirical methods of study in these fields. Increased awareness of classical knowledge created a new resolve to learn by direct observation and study of the natural world. Consequently, secular themes became increasingly important to artists, and with the revived interest in antiquity came a new repertoire of subjects drawn from Greek and Roman history and mythology. The models provided by ancient buildings and works of art also inspired the development of new artistic techniques and the desire to recreate the forms and styles of classical art. Central to the development of Renaissance art was the emergence of the artist as a creator, sought after and respected for his erudition and imagination. Art, too, became valued--not merely as a vehicle for religious and social didacticism, but even more as a mode of personal, aesthetic expression. Although the evolution of Italian Renaissance art was a continuous process, it is traditionally divided into three major phases: Early, High, and Late Renaissance. The last phase has been the subject in recent years of complex interpretations that recognize many competing and contrasting trends. Some scholars date the beginning of the Italian Renaissance from the appearance of Giotto di Bondone in the early 14th century; others regard his prodigious achievements in naturalistic art as an isolated phenomenon. According to the second view, the consistent development of Renaissance style began only with the generation of artists active in Florence at the beginning of the 15th century.
The Early Renaissance
The principal members of the first generation of Renaissance artists--DONATELLO in sculpture, Filippo BRUNELLESCHI in architecture, and MASACCIO in painting--shared many important characteristics. Central to their thinking was a faith in the theoretical foundations of art and the conviction that development and progress were not only possible but essential to the life and significance of the arts. Ancient art was revered,
sought a general. efforts were made to discover the correct laws of proportion for architecture and for the representation of the human body and to systematize the rendering of pictorial space. the Medici Chapel (1519-34). San Pietro in Vincoli. and realistic technique. Leonardo is considered the paragon of Renaissance thinkers.1495-1520) and was created by a few artists of genius. Andrea Mantegna's paintings in Padua displayed a personal formulation of linear perspective. to instill the work of art with ideal. The High Renaissance style endured for only a brief period (c. Florence. the cradle of Renaissance artistic thought.1510-15). Florence. The High Renaissance The art of the High Renaissance. consequently many artists sought means of personal expression within this relatively well-established repertoire of style and technique. His universal talents are exemplified by the tomb of Julius II (c. antiquarianism. About 1450 a new generation of artists that included such masters as Pollaiuolo (see POLLAIUOLO family) and Sandro Botticelli came to the fore in Florence. as was once maintained. Urbino. Leonardo da Vinci's unfinished Adoration of the Magi (1481. Leon Battista ALBERTI's work in Rimini and Mantua represented the most progressive architecture of the new HUMANISM. In retrospect. and Giovanni Bellini's poetic classicism exemplified the growing strength of the Venetian school. Rational inquiry was believed to be the key to success. Similarly. These characteristics--the rendering of ideal forms rather than literal appearance and the concept of the physical world as the vehicle or imperfect embodiment of monumental spiritual beauty--were to remain fundamental to the nature and development of Italian Renaissance art. Because the essential characteristic of High Renaissance art was its unity--a balance achieved as a matter of intuition. Donato Bramante. Early Renaissance artists sought to create art forms consistent with the appearance of the natural world and with their experience of human personality and behavior. In a different way. Other Italian cities--Milan. however. or the pictorial considerations of measurable space and the effects of light and color. and its expression of human emotion is stylized rather than real. Michelangelo has come to typify the artist endowed with inexplicable. therefore. solitary genius. Venice. Michelangelo. Early Renaissance painting seems to fall short of thoroughly convincing figural representation. they made an effort to go beyond straightforward transcription of nature. Milan). Florence) is regarded as a landmark of unified pictorial composition. Ferrara. the SISTINE CHAPEL ceiling (1508-12) and . they also tended to extrapolate general rules from specific appearances. The Early Renaissance was not. merely an imperfect but necessary preparation for the perfection of High Renaissance art but a period of great intrinsic merit. and linear perspective. Raphael. among them Leonardo da Vinci. contraposto (twisted pose). and Naples--became powerful rivals in the spreading wave of change. unified effect of pictorial representation or architectural composition. increasing the dramatic force and physical presence of a work of art and gathering its energies and forming a controlled equilibrium. Intending to retrace the creative process rather than to merely imitate the final achievements of antiquity. The challenge of accurate representation as it concerned mass sculptural form. Rome. intangible qualities. Padua. remained one of the undisputed centers of innovation. Furthermore. however. endowing it with a beauty and significance greater and more permanent than that actually found in nature. later realized fully in his fresco The Last Supper (1495-97. Santa Maria delle Grazie. Although these artists were keenly observant of natural phenomena. By the late 15th century the novelty of the first explosive advances of Renaissance style had given way to a general acceptance of such basic notions as proportion. beyond the reach of rational knowledge or technical skill--the High Renaissance style was destined to break up as soon as emphasis was shifted to favor any one element in the composition. engaged as he was in experiments of all kinds and having brought to his art a spirit of restless inquiry that sought to discover the laws governing diverse natural phenomena.not only as an inspiring model but also as a record of trial and error that could reveal the successes of former great artists. the strength of individual features of a work of art is disproportionate to the whole composition. Uffizi Gallery. The term Early Renaissance characterizes virtually all the art of the 15th century. was addressed in the spirit of intense and methodical inquiry. and Titian.
Last Judgment (1536-41). anticlassical tendencies had begun to manifest themselves in Roman art. PARMIGIANINO. were the symptoms of a somewhat overripe development. in paintings of Madonnas and in frescoes. a man of very different temperament. in 1520. and the cupola of SAINT PETER's BASILICA (begun 1546)--works that represent major and inimitable accomplishments in the separate fields of sculpture. France. Mannerism was an aesthetic movement that valued highly refined grace and elegance--the beautiful maniera. The display of individual virtuosity became an important criterion of artistic achievement. and rivalry often provoked competition based on brilliance of individual performance. or style. Some early exponents of MANNERISM. not overwhelming forces but sublime harmony and lyric. far removed from the fresh dawn of discovery that first gave meaning to the concept of the Renaissance. evoked. which temporarily ended the city's role as a source of patronage and compelled artists to travel to other centers in Italy. from which Mannerism takes its name. Although the fundamental characteristics of Late Renaissance style were shared by many artists. and their efforts to match or surpass the great masters who had immediately preceded them. and Spain. was marked by artistic individuality--a quality demonstrated to its fullest extent by the late works of Michelangelo. this period. dominated by Mannerism. Raphael. The Late Renaissance A major watershed in the development of Italian Renaissance art was the sack of Rome in 1527. The self-consciousness of Mannerist artists. Even before the death of Raphael. including Jacopo Carucci PONTORMO. and ROSSO FIORENTINO. Cathedral of Florence The church of San Lorenzo . contributed to the development of a style that reached its most extreme expression in the work of Giorgio VASARI and Giovanni da BOLOGNA. painting. and architecture. graceful beauty. Rome.
In 1434 Brunelleschi designed the first Renaissance centrally planned building. The Palazzo Medici Riccardi is Classical in the details of its pedimented windows and recessed doors. in practice both domes comprise a thick network of ribs supporting very much lighter and thinner infilling. The vertical partitions of the coffering effectively serve as ribs. Brunelleschi was aware that a dome of enormous proportion could in fact be engineered without a keystone. however. although this feature does not dominate visually. At the apex of the Pantheon's dome is an opening. Santa Maria degli Angeli of Florence. Designed by Brunelleschi in about 1425 and 1428 respectively. Each has a modular plan. which Brunelleschi could hardly have ignored in seeking a solution. his most famous work being the Palazzo Medici Riccardi. This same formula controlled also the vertical dimensions. Florence. Michelozzo Palazzo Medici Riccardi by Michelozzo Michelozzo Michelozzi.Brunelleschi's first major architectural commission was for the enormous brick dome which covers the central space that of Florence's cathedral. Brunelleschi's daring design utilizes the pointed Gothic arch and Gothic ribs. (1396-1472). now a church. the dome is in fact structurally influenced by the great dome of Ancient Rome. was another architect under the patronage of the Medici family. He was one of the first architects to work in the Renaissance style outside Italy. From this date onwards numerous churches were built in variations of these designs. . a circular temple. designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in the 14th century but left unroofed. He went into exile in Venice for a time with his patron. In the case of Santo Spirito. which is entirely regular in plan. 8 meters across. Among his other works for Cosimo are the libraries at the Convent of San Marco. While often described as the first building of the Renaissance. San Lorenzo The new architectural philosophy is best demonstrated in the churches of San Lorenzo. that while stylistically Gothic. A decade later he built the Villa Medici at Fiesole. both have the shape of the Latin cross. Inside the Pantheon's single-shell concrete dome is coffering which greatly decreases the weight. It seems certain. which he was commissioned to design for Cosimo de'Medici in 1444. but. Although the techniques employed are different. And both have a large opening at the top. It is composed of a central octagon surrounded by a circuit of eight smaller chapels. in keeping with the building it surmounts. while the nave is an extended version of these. with the bricks arranged in a herringbone manner. The dome in Florence is supported by the eight large ribs and sixteen more internal ones holding a brick shell. and Santo Spirito in Florence. building a palace at Dubrovnik. transepts and chancel are identical. This is the dome of the Pantheon. each portion being a multiple of the square bay of the aisle.
Mantua. Humanism made man the measure of things. Instead. Alberti perceived the architect as a person with great social responsibilities. but unlike Brunelleschi.unlike the works of Brunelleschi and Alberti. that of the Church of Sant'Andrea in Mantua. Alberti Leon Battista Alberti. he did not see himself as a builder in a practical sense and so left the supervision of the work to others. was to have a façade reminiscent of a Roman triumphal arch. (1402-1472).Frode Inge Helland He designed a number of buildings. Photo. This was left sadly incomplete. which. the façade. Sant'Andrea. He has seemingly created three orders out of the three defined rusticated levels. the whole being surmounted by an enormous Roman-style cornice which juts out over the street by 2. . like Sant'Andrea. there are no orders of columns in evidence. a science first studied by the Ancient Greeks. in particular the human form. Miraculously. Not so the church of San Francesco in Rimini. was brought to completion with its character essentially intact.5 meters. one of his greatest designs. was an important Humanist theoretician and designer whose book on architecture De re Aedificatoria was to have lasting effect. Michelozzo has respected the Florentine liking for rusticated stone. a rebuilding of a Gothic structure. An aspect of Humanism was an emphasis of the anatomy of nature.
Alberti applied the classical orders of columns to the façade on the three levels. is mostly very flat in nature. At Santa Maria Novella he was commissioned to finish the decoration of the façade. Two of Alberti s best known buildings are in Florence. Alberti linked the lower roofs of the aisles to nave using two large scrolls.  For the first time. The decoration. Venice In the fifteenth century the courts of certain other Italian states became centers for spreading of Renaissance philosophy. For the palace. the Palazzo Rucellai and at Santa Maria Novella. He completed the design in 1456 but the work was not finished until 1470. These were to become a standard Renaissance device for solving the problem of different roof heights and bridge the space between horizontal and vertical surfaces. but a sort of order is established by the regular compartments and the circular motifs which repeat the shape of the round window. the most revered building in the city. and the Florentine tradition for polychrome that was well established at the Baptistery of San Giovanni. 1456-70. Scuola Grande di San Marco. being mainly polychrome marble. art and architecture. Alberti simply respected what was already in place. The lower section of the building had Gothic niches and typical polychrome marble decoration. 1446-51.Façade of Santa Maria Novella. . There was a large ocular window in the end of the nave which had to be taken into account.
was born in Urbino and turned from painting to architecture. The style became more decorated and ornamental. In Rome Bramante created what has been described as "a perfect architectural gem". the Tempietto in the Cloister of San Pietro in Montorio. Antonio da Sangallo the Younger and others showed a mastery of the revived style and ability to apply it to buildings such as churches and city palazzo which were quite different from the structures of ancient times. . for whom he produced a number of buildings over 20 years. Michelangelo and Raphael. as in the picture above. found his first important patronage under Ludovico Sforza. The architectural period is known as the "High Renaissance" and coincides with the age of Leonardo. Bramante Santa Maria delle Grazie. Bramante travelled to Rome where he achieved great success under papal patronage. The building adapts the style apparent in the remains of the Temple of Vesta. Donato Bramante. it is seen framed by an arch and columns. statuary. the most sacred site of Ancient Rome. domes and cupolas becoming very evident.High Renaissance In the late 15th century and early 16th century architects such as Bramante. It is enclosed by and in spatial contrast with the cloister which surrounds it. Duke of Milan. After the fall of Milan to the French in 1499. As approached from the cloister. (1444-1514). the shape of which are echoed in its free-standing form. This small circular temple marks the spot where St Peter was martyred and is thus the most sacred site in Rome. Milan.
cornice and alternate arched and triangular pediments. Designed by Sangallo and Michelangelo. Rome (1534-1545). Sangallo The Palazzo Farnese. Antonio da Sangallo the Younger. Giulio Romano. (1483-1520). working in conjunction with Antonio Sangallo. trained under Perugino in Perugia before moving to Florence. that led to the Baroque style in which the same architectural vocabulary was used for very different rhetoric. Antonio da Sangallo also submitted a plan for St Peter s and became the chief architect after the death of Raphael. 8. His uncle. Raphael Raphael. Urbino. most of which were finished by others. was for a time the chief architect for St. 7. . each set around with ordered pilasters. His single most influential work is the Palazzo Pandolfini in Florence with its two stories of strongly articulated windows of a "tabernacle" type. 3. He also designed a number of buildings. Mannerism Mannerism in architecture was marked by widely diverging tendencies in the work of Michelangelo. 2. was one of a family of military engineers.7. to be succeeded himself by Michelangelo. Peter s. (1485-1546). Baldassare Peruzzi and Andrea Palladio. Giuliano da Sangallo was one of those who submitted a plan for the rebuilding of St Peter s and was briefly a codirector of the project. with Raphael.
the bays being strongly articulated by orders of pilasters. His architectural fame lies chiefly in two buildings: the . 8.Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne. but working in Rome. Above this rise three undifferentiated floors. from the time of its construction. as a refuge to the city s poor. Peruzzi Baldassare Peruzzi. was an architect born in Siena. 1. the upper two with identical small horizontal windows in thin flat frames which contrast strangely with the deep porch. It has in its ground floor a dark central portico running parallel to the street. sculpture and architecture and his achievements brought about significant changes in each area. (1481-1536). Michelangelo Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) was one of the creative giants whose achievements mark the High Renaissance. whose work bridges the High Renaissance and the Mannerist.  Peruzzi s most famous work is the Palazzo Massimo alle Colonne in Rome. The unusual features of this building are that its façade curves gently around a curving street. but as a semi enclosed space. rather than an open loggia. His Villa Farnesina of 1509 is a very regular monumental cube of two equal stories. He excelled in each of the fields of painting. The building is unusual for its frescoed walls. which has served.
and in fact a stylistic likelihood that the person who decided upon the more dynamic outline was Michelangelo himself. cohesive unity. reverted to Bramante s Greek-cross plan and redesigned the piers. and the Basilica of St. Various changes in plan occurred in the series of architects that succeeded him. Peter's The plan that was accepted at the laying of the foundation stone in 1506 was that by Bramante. in fact it is unknown who it was that made this change. Laurentian Library Michelangelo was at his most Mannerist in the design of the vestibule of the Laurentian Library. St. The dome. the whole lot being held together by a wide cornice which runs unbroken like a rippling ribbon around the entire building. the same San Lorenzo s at which Brunelleschi had recast church architecture into a Classical mold and established clear formula for the use of Classical orders and their various components. But at its completion. one within the other and crowned by a massive lantern supported. to lessen the outward thrust. Helen Gardner says: "Michelangelo. There is a wooden model of the dome. converted its snowflake complexity into a massive. as built." Michelangelo s dome was a masterpiece of design using two masonry shells. and a great number of architects contributed their skills to it. but Michelangelo. on ribs. . at some time during the years that he supervised the project. But. the building had reached the height of the drum. Peter in Rome. showing its outer shell as hemispherical. before or after him.interiors of the Laurentian Library and its lobby at the monastery of San Lorenzo in Florence. St Peter's was "the greatest creation of the Renaissance". also built by him to house the Medici collection of books at the convent of San Lorenzo in Florence. as at Florence. Peter's Basilica St. has a much steeper projection than the dome of the model. there was more of Michelangelo s design than of any other architect. when he took over the project in 1546. giving the lower weight-bearing members massive proportions and eliminating the encircling aisles from the chancel and identical transept arms. and it equally possible. the walls and the dome. For the exterior of the building he designed a giant order which defines every external bay. It is generally presumed that it was Della Porta who made this change to the design. When Michelangelo died in 1564. with a few strokes of the pen. The architect who succeeded Michelangelo was Giacomo Della Porta.
end of Hundred Years War: stability returns to north-west Europe. 1494: Pacioli: Everything About Arithmetic. including the Sistine Chapel. Geometry and Proportion. his rule is considered a reign of corruption. 1488: Portuguese sailors led by Bartolomeu Diaz round the Cape of Good Hope. he begins a major program of rebuilding. 1396: Creation of Chair of Greek in Florence: teacher Chrysoloras brings a copy of Ptolemy¶s Geography. scholarly and socio-political movement which stressed the rediscovery and application of texts and thought from classical antiquity. his rule is considered the high point of the Florentine Renaissance. 1454: The Gutenberg Bible published. 1444: Alberti: On the Family. 1432: Van Eycks: The Adoration of the Lamb. designed by Giacomo Della Porta. France invade. Brunelleschi and Donatello travel to Rome. 1470: Malory: Morte d¶Arthur. 1400 . Behaim¶s globe created. 1480: Botticelli: Primavera. . 1453: Ottoman conquest of Constantinople: many Greek thinkers and works travel westward. 1447: Pope Nicholas V appointed. he is declared a heretic but protected by the Medici. 1459: Gozzoli: Adoration of the Magi. 1471: Sixtus IV appointed Pope. ³The Magnificent´. takes power in Florence. 1420: The newly united Papacy moves back to Rome. 1450: Francesco Sforza takes power in Milan. he is burnt as a heretic. print revolutionises European literacy. Major building continues in Rome. 1401: Ghiberti awarded commission to create doors for the baptistery of San Giovanni in Florence. 1423: Forsari become Doge in Venice. 1429: Cosimo de Medici inherits the family bank and rises to great power in Florence. 1397: Giovanni de Medici moves to Florence. 1465: Bellini and Mantegna: The Agony in the Garden 1469: Lorenzo de Medici. 1440: Valla uses humanist skills to expose Donation of Constantine as forgery. Pre 1400 1347: Black Death ravages Europe for the first time. Events of Renaissance The Renaissance was a cultural. Italian Wars. 1483 Pico: 900 Treatises. 1492: Buonarroti: Battle of Lapiths and Centaurs. 1485: Alberti: On Building. 1474: Ficino: Platonic Theory.1450 1400: Burni: Panegyric to the City of Florence. 1417 ± 36: Brunelleschi works on dome of Florence Cathedral. Columbus sails west. 1451-1500 1452: Birth of Leonardo da Vinci. This timeline lists some major works of culture alongside important political events. 1446: Death of Brunelleschi. 1494 ± 95: Rule of Savonarola in Florence. Italian architects travel to Russia to aid in rebuilding of Kremlin. 1374: Death of Petrarch. Rodrigo Borgia appointed Pope. birth of painter Masaccio. 1435: Alberti: On Painting.Il Gesù.
Peace of Augsburg brings legal co-existence of Protestants and Catholics in the Holy Roman Empire. 1529: Ribeiro: World Map. 1504: Michelangelo: David.1550 1503: Pope Julius II appointed Pope. 1541: Michelangelo: The Last Judgement. start of ³Roman Golden Age´. 1544: Bandello: Novelle. St. 1590: Spenser: The Faerie Queen. Portuguese sailors led by Vasco de Gama reach India. 1572: Camõs: The Lusiads. More: Utopia. 1569: Mercator: World Map. Renaissance Furniture . 1520: Süleyman ³the Magnficent´ takes power in the Ottoman Empire. 1536: Paracelsus: Great Book of Surgery. 1501 . 1524: Raphael: Donation of Constantine. Battle of Pavia between France and the Holy Roman Empire: end of French claims on Italy. 1525: Dürer: A Course in the Art of Measurement. 1570: Palladio: Four Books on Architecture. 1500: Michelangelo: Pieta. 1517: Start of the Reformation. Giorgine: Tempesta. 1508 ± 12: Michelangelo paints roof of the Sistine Chapel. Peter¶s Basilica in Rome.1498: Leonardo da Vinci: Last Supper. 1519: Death of Leonardo de Vinci. Charles V takes power in Spain. Castiglione: Book of the Courtier. Agricola: De Re Metallica. 1558: Elizabeth I succeeds to the throne in England: start of the English ³Golden Age´. Death of Erasmus. 1550+ 1555: Labé: Euvres. 1571: Battle of Lepanto. 1527: Sack of Rome by Imperial forces. 1513: Machiavelli: The Prince. followed by his accession to the Holy Roman throne. 1499: French conquer Milan. 1533: Holbein: The Ambassadors. 1556: Tartaglia: A General Treatise on Numbers and Measurement. heavily influenced by Humanist thinking. 1516: Eramus: New Testament. 1511: Erasmus: Praise of Folly. 1580: Montaigne: Essays. Ortelius: Theatrum Orbis Terrarum. 1512: Erasmus: De Copia. 1532: Rabelais: Pantagruel. Bartholomew¶s Day Massacre of Protestants in France. Bosch: Garden of Earthly Delights. Dürer travels to Italy. 1506 ± 1615: Work on St. 1567: Whitney: The Copy of a Letter. facilitating greater passage of Renaissance ideas into the France. 1505: Leonardo: Mona Lisa. 1603: Shakespeare: Hamlet. 1543: Copernicus: Revolutions of the Celestial Orbits/ De Revolutionibus. 1515: Francis I takes power in France. 1605: Cervantes: Don Quixote. Regiomontanus: On Triangles. Portuguese ³discover´ Brazil. 1564: Death of Michelangelo. Philip II takes power in Spain as Charles V abdicates. Vesalius: On the Fabric of the Human Body. 1509: Henry VIII succeeds to power in England.
Specific paintings and sculptures: Holy Trinity (Masaccio) The Birth of Venus (Sandro Botticelli) Monalisa / the Last Supper (Leonardo Devianci) Marriage of Virgin/ With the Goldfinch (Rafael Madonna) Madonna with the long neck David (Donatello/Michel Angelo) Creation of Adam (Michel Angelo) .
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