Renaissance spread in Italy during the 14th and 15th Centuries. It was a cultural movement that wanted to bring back the light of Classical Knowledge after the darkness of the barbaric Middle Ages.
Brunelleschi‘s first commission was for the dome that covered the central space of Florence’s cathedral, designed by Arnolfo di Cambio in the 14th century left without a roof. Brunelleschi’s daring design used the pointed Gothic arch and Gothic ribs that were conceived by Arnolfo. It is certain that while stylistically is Gothic maintaining with the building it surmounts, the roof is structurally influenced by Ancient Rome, which Brunelleschi could not have ignored looking for a solution.
Inside the Pantheon‘s single-shell concrete dome is a coffering which lights the weight. The vertical partitions of the coffering are used as ribs. At the apex, there is an opening, 8 meters across. Brunelleschi knew that a huge dome could be designed without a keystone. The dome in Florence is supported by ribs and internally by a brick shell. Although the techniques are different, both domes have a thick network of ribs. The structures have a big opening at the top.
In Rome Bramante designed the Tempietto in the Cloister of San Pietro in Montorio. This small circular temple was built where St Peter was martyred and it is one of the most sacred sites in Rome. The temple is featured with so many architectural inspirations from Roman and Greek cultures. Its beauty and harmony quickly inspired the praises of Giorgio Vasari one of the most important critics of the time.
San Giorgio Maggiore is in Venice, the front part of this temple is created with four three-quarter composite columns based on high pedestals, which gave the shape to the central door. In the backplane, the lower body of the church is structured with a small order of pilasters, used to support two lower half pediments on each side. The cornice line goes all over the central body, linking the two forms.
Renaissance Interior design
The interiors were also an important center of interest to Renaissance sensibility. Palaces were impressed with several spatial effects, marble staircases, and impressing decors. Living rooms and bedrooms were furnished with expensive pieces of furniture, designed respecting the spirit of antiquity. The floor, walls, and door lines were adorned with marble; or ceilings trimmed with wood.
Renaissance also affected furniture which is featured with a clear structure and several architectural elements such as a miniature palace with columns, pilasters, cornices, pediments. The main materials used were black and white woods (oak, walnut), ivory, stone, marble, sandstone. Dealing with colors soft and light, dark and gloomy colors were mostly used along with cool shades of white and pastel shades.
David by Donatello and Sculpture
This work marks the return of the nude sculpture in the round figure; Cosimo de Medici commissioned it for the Palazzo Medici. David is shown in a triumphal moment in the biblical storyline when he won his battle with the Philistine, Goliath. Donatello seems to recall to mind heroic nudity of antiquity. A Renaissance sculpture is featured as follows:
- Naturalism is evident in the use of contemporary subjects and naturalistic use of proportions;
- The reemergence of classical subjects and forms passes through a revival of classicism in sculpture;
- The craft of metalwork played a key role starting with bronze employed first for reliefs, statues, and busts.
Renaissance art can be divided into two periods:
Early Renaissance (1400-1479) in which artists learned trying to emulate classical artists giving importance to symmetry to produce the perfect form. Artists of this period were: Giotto, Masaccio, and Donatello.
High Renaissance (1475-1525) was featured with a rising interest in perspective and spatiality to give art even more realism. Artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rafael were important in this period.
The main artists active during this time was the painter Masaccio, famous for his frescoes of the Trinity in the Church of Santa Maria Novella and the Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine, in Florence. Masaccio painted for less than six years but was an important influence on the early Renaissance for the intellectuality of his works, as well as naturalism.
Renaissance Artists Heritage
Rome displaced Florence as the most important center of Renaissance art. Three great artists, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, dominated the High Renaissance, until the sack of Rome in 1527. Leonardo was named “Renaissance man” after the interest he had in humanist and classical values in general. Leonardo’s best-known works, including the “Mona Lisa”, “The Virgin of the Rocks” and the “The Last Supper”, demonstrate his skill for the rendering of light and shadows and the landscapes surrounding humans.