Renaissance emerged in Italy during the 14th and 15th Centuries. It was a cultural movement which embedded Architecture, Design and Art, with a precise mission: bring back the light of Classical Knowledge after the darkness of the barbaric Middle Ages.
Early Renaissance- Florence Cathedral
Brunelleschi’s first major architectural commission was for the enormous brick dome which covers the central space of Florence’s cathedral, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in the 14th century but left unroofed. While often described as the first building of the Renaissance, Brunelleschi’s daring design utilizes the pointed Gothic arch and Gothic ribs that were apparently planned by Arnolfio. It seems certain, however, that while stylistically Gothic, in keeping with the building it surmounts, the dome is in fact structurally influenced by the great dome of Ancient Rome, which Brunelleschi could hardly have ignored in seeking a solution.
Image source: http://www.brunelleschisdome.com/Pictures.html
Inside the Pantheon’s single-shell concrete dome is coffering which greatly decreases the weight. The vertical partitions of the coffering effectively serve as ribs, although this feature does not dominate visually. At the apex of the Pantheon’s dome is an opening, 8 meters across. Brunelleschi was aware that a dome of enormous proportion could in fact be engineered without a keystone. The dome in Florence is supported by the eight large ribs and sixteen more internal ones holding a brick shell, with the bricks arranged in a herringbone manner. Although the techniques employed are different, in practice both domes comprise a thick network of ribs supporting very much lighter and thinner infilling. And both have a large opening at the top.
Info and image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_architecture
High Renaissance- The Tempietto
In Rome Bramante created the Tempietto in the Cloister of San Pietro in Montorio. This small circular temple marks the spot where St Peter was martyred and is thus the most sacred site in Rome. The temple features so many well-
mixed architectural references from Roman and Greek culture that word of its beauty and harmony quickly inspired praise from contemporary critics and artists such as Giorgio Vasari.
San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice– The central temple front is articulated with four three-quarter composite columns raised on high pedestals, which frame the central door. In the back plane, the lower body of the church is articulated by a smaller order of pilasters, supporting two lower, half pediments on either side. The cornice line continues through the central body, interlocking the two forms.
Info and image source: https://it.pinterest.com/pin/343399540313038940/
Renaissance Interior design
- The interiors of palaces impressed with monumental spatial effects, magnificence of marble staircases and rich decor. Living rooms and bedrooms were furnished with expensive furniture, performed in the spirit of antiquity. The floor, walls and door frames lined with marble; or log coffered ceiling trimmed with wood.
Image source: https://it.pinterest.com/lss42202/renaissance-period/
- Renaissance furniture is characterized by a clear form, clear construction and numerous architectural elements. Carcass furniture solved as architectural structure, as a miniature palace with columns, pilasters, cornices, pediments.
- Main materials: black and white wood (oak, walnut), ivory, stone, marble, sandstone.
- Colors: soft and light, dark and gloomy; cool shades of white and pastel shades.
Image source: http://history1ah.blogspot.it/
- Naturalism– this was evident in the increase of contemporary subjects, together with a more naturalistic handling of proportions, drapery, anatomy, and perspective.
- Reemergence of classical subjects and forms– The revival of classicism in sculpture took over completely only during the High Renaissance (c.1490-1530).
- Craft of metalwork– Bronze was employed first for reliefs, then for statues or busts.
David by Donatello
This work signals the return of the nude sculpture in the round figure; it was commissioned by Cosimo de’Medici for the Palazzo Medici. David is shown at a triumphal moment within the biblical storyline of his battle with the Philistine, Goliath. Donatello seems to be calling to mind the type of heroic nudity of antiquity, since David is depicted at triumphal point in the biblical narrative of his victory over Goliath.
Info and image source: http://www.italianrenaissance.org/donatellos-david/
Renaissance art is often divided up into two periods:
Early Renaissance (1400-1479) – Artists learned by trying to emulate classical artists focusing on symmetry and creating the perfect form. This era featured such artists as Giotto, Masaccio, and Donatello.
High Renaissance (1475-1525) – A rising interest in perspective and space gave the art even more realism. Great artists such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rafael flourished during this period.
Info source: http://www.ducksters.com/history/renaissance_art.php
The major artists working during this period was the painter Masaccio (1401-1428), known for his frescoes of the Trinity in the Church of Santa Maria Novella (c. 1426) and in the Brancacci Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine (c. 1427), both in Florence. Masaccio painted for less than six years but was highly influential in the early Renaissance for the intellectual nature of his work, as well as its degree of naturalism.
By the end of the 15th century, Rome had displaced Florence as the principalcenter of Renaissance art. Three great masters, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael, dominated the period known as the High Renaissance, which lasted roughly from the early 1490s until the sack of Rome by the troops of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Spain in 1527. Leonardo (1452-1519) was the ultimate “Renaissance man” for the breadth of his intellect, interest and talent and his expression of humanist and classical values. Leonardo’s best-known works, including the “Mona Lisa” (1503-05), “The Virgin of the Rocks” (1485) and the fresco “The Last Supper” (1495-98), showcase his unparalleled ability to portray light and shadow, as well as the physical relationship between figures–humans, animals and objects alike–and the landscape around them.
Info source: http://www.history.com/topics/renaissance-art