Renaissance

Renaissance spread in Italy during the 14th and 15th Centuries. It was a cultural movement which wanted to bring back the light of Classical Knowledge after the darkness of the barbaric Middle Ages.

Ornate Italian Renaissance style
Ornate Italian Renaissance style

Image source: https://www.123rf.com/photo_14466996_ornate-italian-renaissance-style-ceiling-of-the-mezquita-cathedral-interior-in-cordoba-spain.html

Renaissance Architecture

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 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 mantaining with the building it surmounts, the roof is structurally influenced by Ancient Rome, which Brunelleschi could not have ignored looking for a solution.


Brunelleschi's Dome, detail
Brunelleschi’s Dome, detail

Image source: http://www.brunelleschisdome.com/Pictures.html

Inside the Pantheon’s single-shell concrete dome is a coffering which lights the weight. The vertical partitions of the coffering is 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.

The dome of Florence Cathedral (the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore)
The dome of Florence Cathedral (the Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore)

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_architecture

High Renaissance

Tempietto in the Cloister of San Pietro in Montorio
Tempietto in the Cloister of San Pietro in Montorio

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 site in Rome. The temple is featured with so many architectural inspirations from Roman and Greek cultures. Its beauty and harmony quickly inspired praises of Giorgio Vasari one of the most important critics of the time.

Image source: https://imaginalworldsdotorg.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/tempietto-of-bramante/

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 back plane, 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.

HIGH RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURE, North Italy; Facade of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice, 1566, Palladio.
HIGH RENAISSANCE ARCHITECTURE, North Italy; Facade of San Giorgio Maggiore, Venice,1566,Palladio.

Image source: https://it.pinterest.com/pin/343399540313038940/

Renaissance Interior design

The interiors were also an important centre of interest ot 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.

Example of Renaissance furniture
Example of Renaissance furniture

Image source: https://it.pinterest.com/lss42202/renaissance-period/

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 colours were mostly used along with cool shades of white and pastel shades.

English Renaissance Interior
English Renaissance Interior

Image source: http://history1ah.blogspot.it/

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;
  • Reemergence of classical subjects and forms passes through a revival of classicism in sculpture;
  • Craft of metalwork played a key role starting with Bronze employed first for reliefs, statues and busts.
David by Donatello
David by Donatello

Image source: http://www.italianrenaissance.org/donatellos-david/

Renaissance Art

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.

Info source: http://www.ducksters.com/history/renaissance_art.php

Masaccio, Holy Trinity, 1424, fresco
Masaccio, Holy Trinity, 1424

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.

Image source: http://www.italianrenaissance.org/masaccios-holy-trinity/

Renaissance Artists Heritage

Rome displaced Florence as the most important center of Renaissance art. Three great artists, Leonardo da VinciMichelangelo and Raphael, dominated 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.

Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci
Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci

Image source: http://www.express.co.uk/news/history/563058/Mona-Lisa-Leonardo-da-Vinci-Subject-Identifying-Naming-Model-Subject

Info sources: http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/tempietto-at-san-pietro-in-montorio

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Renaissance_architecture

http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/sculpture/renaissance.htm

http://www.italianrenaissance.org/donatellos-david/

http://www.history.com/topics/renaissance-art

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