May 2, 2017
Art of The Renaissance
1. In class, we have discussed the increasing secularization of the world during this time period. What factors (intellectual, philosophical, social, economic, technological and political) went into this cultural shift? Furthermore, the advent of the academic system placed art, especially painting into distinct categories. Choose three works of art that you think demonstrate secularization and academic hierarchy, and describe them, making sure to also discuss them in the contexts listed above.
The Renaissance was the literal rebirth of art and culture. It was the beginnings of a societal shift, furthering the economy from religion and focusing more on human values. The human …show more content…
An elaborate sculpted altar was commissioned by the Milanese Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception for their oratory in San Francesco in 1480. A new contract was drawn up in 1483 with Leonardo and the de Predis brothers: a central panel was to be painted by Leonardo alone, and there were to be two side panels showing angels singing and playing musical instruments. Yes we notice Mary and the angels but what really takes our breath away is the scenery. That background that somehow takes us into a new world. In addition to the dynamic position of the visible group, the Virgin of the Rocks is also noteworthy for its rocky, almost mysterious setting in which the figures are placed. It is not like any of the heavenly spaces bathed in glittering gold backgrounds of older altarpieces, such as those by Cimabue, Giotto, or Duccio. It’s dark, misty, and cave-like, on the left side in the distance, the forms become less distinct as they get lost in a haze of foggy atmosphere, which illustrates the implementation of aerial perspective. The very smooth transition between colors and between light and dark that Leonardo used in this painting is called sfumato, which means “smoky”. Not only is it visible in the landscape, but also in the figures, who are cast in light, which smoothly turns into areas of dark shade. It is similar to the traditional chiaroscuro technique used by earlier Italian painters, but it is more refined and elevated to convey a higher level of visual realism. This painting is one of Leonardo’s early masterpieces, and it shows his reliance on traditional Italian Renaissance pictorial devices but also his movement beyond this tradition. Later on his sketches and scientific knowledge would bleed into his paintings. He view on the importance of self knowledge and science would break his path with religious symbolism and move him on to