History of Painting: Renaissance Art

It is said that the classic defines itself by surviving; and Renaissance art has defined itself. No other artworks are as popular as the paintings done during this period. The word 'Renaissance' means rebirth. The artists of this period claimed that they were reviving the art of Greek and Roman period; they looked at the art with a new perspective.

Sacred and Profane Love, by Titian (1515) Oil on Canvas

CHURCH AND ART: Mainly commissioned by Catholic Church, the Renaissance Paintings were like celebration of the art of painting. Starting from the use of religion themes outside of the premises of churches, the renaissance artists celebrated the invention of using oil colours, too. Well equipped with diverse subjects and variety of themes, these artists used philosophy, poetry, religious beliefs, architectural splendour and scientific development in their paintings. These prolific painters proved many new concepts. They established that the ideas could be depicted with ease and grandeur on canvases and walls of churches and palaces. (Image courtesyWikimedia Commons)

ART AND TECHNIQUE: Period of Renaissance was the era of scientific realism. New inventions in the field of architect and industrial sectors were bubbling in the air. The art of painting could not remain untouched by blowing air of this growing scientific knowledge. On close observation of renaissance paintings we can see how precisely the theory of showing scientific realism, too, is depicted through masterly skills. It can be assumed that these painting are the final product of intricate drawing that the artists would have done before going onto canvas.

While being an artistic bridge joining the two greatest of the art moments like ‘The Art of Middle Ages, and the ‘Baroque Art’, renaissance painters made available the paintings to the people living outside of courts and palaces. The genre painters did this revolution. They mounted the life of common men and their daily activities onto canvases. They made the art honouring the life of citizens who had just tasted the freedom sponsored by new age of industrial revolution.


Leonardo da VinciThe Last Supper, a Painting of Jesus in His Final Discourse 

Paintings of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. Religious Painting. Renaissance Art. Where the spirit does not work with the hand there is no art, said Leonardo da Vinci. His spirit always worked so spontaneously that we remember his work till the date.

The Last Supper
The Artist: A magician would not allow our visual system to function with normal pace. While performing on stage, he would touch a normal looking object and that thing would turn looking as bathed in a golden glow. Leonardo da Vinci was such a magician. May it be a simple structure of weed or a curvy section of a skull, Leonardo turned that into an eternal beauty. His extraordinary lining work and the precision he showed in executing light and shade aspects of the paintings had added values to the artworks making them lively.

The Renaissance Art: When we talk about the art of painting, and when we talk about renaissance artists, a reference of The Last Supper must be there. It is a Mural Painting done on a wall of a dining hall in the convent of Santa Maria in city of Milan in Italy. A painting as size of 15 x 29 feet had consumed Leonardo da Vinci’s four years to be completed. Here he had painted the mythological event in a manner where we would be led to believe that the real people are painted acting like real people.

Last Supper is Vinci’s visual representation of the event wherein Jesus had gathered all of his twelve disciples. He informed them that all were equal in the eyes of God and told them how to eat and behave in his remembrance. This was the incident where Jesus had shocked all of his disciples that one of them would betray him. The painting depicts the reactions of all the disciples of Jesus, on his statement about the betrayal. (Image courtesy by Wikimedia Commons)

It is believed that the person sitting on the right side of Jesus was John. But Now it is also argued that the figure sitting right of Jesus is clearly looking feminine. Thus she must be Marry Magdalene. Researches are on to identify that controversial figure. There are different views regarding whether Judas, who had betrayed Jesus, was present in the dinner or not. Thus looking to the importance of the incident it depicts, this painting is very much important. However Leonardo’s artistic interpretation has given a realistic touch to the incident portrayed in this painting.

This painting The Last Supper was badly damaged due to weather effect and lack of proper care. It needed major restoration. The restoration work for The Last Supper was completed in 20 years and it was made again available to the viewers in the year 1999. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

MICHELANGELO: Painting Sistine Chapel, the Spirit of Renaissanc

Theme: History of Painting, Renaissance Period.
Renaissance artists were not only the painters. They were sculptures; they were poets, they were engineers; they were architects, too. Michelangelo was all of these. Born in Italy and lived almost for 90 years (1447 – 1564), he was contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci.

Sistine Chapel

The Period: Renaissance period had a special feature in respect of the development in religious sector, too. The artists of this period had seen unprecedented support from ambitious Popes. Church helped artists in commissioning the work of painting and sculpture; it offered such works for the decades. Michelangelo had enjoyed benefits of the support of church. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The Artist: Michelangelo had developed his own style of painting that would be called ‘Highly Impassioned’. Those who later followed ‘Mannerism Style of Painting’ followed most of the characteristics of Michelangelo’s art. His style of painting had been so impressive, in depth and in artistic patterns. Though his father desired to educate him in grammar and language, Michelangelo loved copying of the paintings done by masters. He used to went to Church for the purpose painting; he me other painters to get himself educated in that line of actions. Such was his passionate enthusiasm; so focussed was his attention.

The Art: Though reluctant to leave his work of sculpture for which he was commissioned, Michelangelo had accepted to paint the ceiling of Sistine Chapel. Here he executed an unprecedented work. On the ceiling of Sistine Chapel, there are paintings based on Book of Genesis. Some of the paintings depict the ancestors of Christ, too.

Ezekiel, as depicted on a Sistine Chapel Fresco by Michelangelo

Though based on old religious themes and subjects, Michelangelo endeavoured depicting the spirit of Renaissance. One would notice the humanist touch in his paintings. (Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

Raffael stcatherinaRAPHAEL: Painting Females With Passionate Perspective

It was night of cold December, probably, and the year was 1508 for sure. The people of Vatican were under the siege of severe cold and there entered a horse carrying a man with bright eyes and long hair. He had fire of artistic passion in his heart and in his pocket the man had invitation from Pope Julius II for painting fresco on the walls Sistine Chapel. The man was riding on the horse was Raphael who was to embed his name in the hearts of art lovers for next 500 years.

                             St Catherine of Alexandria

If we want to see the artworks with hallmark of a painter’s genius, the paintings by Raphael would be one of the best examples.

The Life: Raphael was an Italian painter and architect. Description of Renaissance period of would be incomplete without putting his name in centre. He was third angle of the great artistic triangle made of three great renaissance artists along with Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. He kept his own style of painting in tact while taking some beautiful factors of contemporary Florentine Art. Raphael Depicted Feminine Aspects with profoundly artistic prowess. He would depict his passion for the art and his attachment with subjects, especially women.

The Art: The above painting of St Catherine was painted in his early stay in Florence, in the year 1507. Raphael was still passing in his years of getting education that he gained from the experience and seeing the works of the other great Italian artists. In this painting he had skilfully painted the figure standing with most of its weight on one foot. The twist of shoulders, the arms, legs and even hips give very dynamic and relaxed appearance of the lady. The upward gaze of woman and her leaning on a wheel helps creating an effect how she felt ecstasy while standing in this pose.

The Style: Many painters have chosen portraying St Catherine, as she is considered as representative of feminine behaviour. As a religious icon she and a huge follow up among women devotees. She had remained in the hearts of her devotees due to the importance of the virgin martyrs. Raphael's above painting is one of the most famous of the paintings depicting the feminine aspects, for which he was so famous.
Raffaello Madonna CowperLegacy of Raphael’s painting is invaluable in artistic qualities and huge in number of the paintings, too. He was much productive and had established a very large place for painting. Though he died very young age of 37, his studio had generated a cult in the art of painting. 

                                                     Madonna Cowper

His work is so ‘influencing’ for the other artists that his name divided the history of art in two segments: one Prep-Raphaelite and another Post-Raphaelite. Look at the painting of Madonna given here. We can see the grace of the woman in the tilt of her head and the beauty of her neck. Her carrying the child adds to the motherly passion of a woman. Raphael was known for his injection of such sensuality and passion in paintings.It is believed that the Mother was Virgin and the Virgin feels no age. She remains always pious and always young. Raphael had tried to depict this aspect in this painting, too.

Rafaello Sanzio - Pietà, c. 1503-5Raphael had come from a small town. He was not well aware of the city of Florence. But it took no time for him to become the darling of the church and the others. He had painted several versions of Madonna and child. His painting Pieta is very much famous for its clear depiction of the grief and the passionate atmosphere Raphael had infused in it.

In this painting Pieta, Mother Marry is holding body of Jesus after Crucification. The face of Mother Marry is shown as young.

Geometric Perfection in Raphael's Paintings

Raphael was the artists who never missed the geomagnetic proportions to infuse in his paintings. The painting  "Descent from the Cross" (given below) he wonderfully maintained to put all the main figures in defined triangle spaces

In the above painting, we can see the emphasized geometric construction dividing the whole scene in two different triangular shapes. The well-know mythological concept of resurrection of Christ is depicted here in near realistic manner. Look at the curved body of Jesus and the nearly unconscious Virgin Mary. This position of the main figures help viewers to understand the scene easily. the triangular construction and the curves, in the body of Christs and two carriers, give a dynamic look to the whole painting.

After mastering the art of such geometric construction, Raphael had used it in many other master pieces like School of Athens and Liberation of St. Peter. In these paintings and many other done by him, the the triangular construction had become a fundamental element in his paintings. [Images courtesy By Raffaello Sanzio (1483–1520) Alternative names Raffaello Santi, Raffaello de Urbino, Rafael Sanzio de Urbino, Raffael Description Italian painter and architect Date of birth/death 6 April 1483(1483-04-06) 6 April 1520(1520-04-06) Location of birth/death Urbino Rome Work location Florence, Rome, Perugia[see page for license], from Wikimedia Commons , Madonna Cowper By Raffaello (http://pintura.aut.org/)[see page for license], from Wikimedia Commons , Pieta By Raffaello Sanzio (1483–1520) Alternative names Raffaello Santi, Raffaello de Urbino, Rafael Sanzio de Urbino, Raffael Description Italian painter and architect Date of birth/death 6 April 1483(1483-04-06) 6 April 1520(1520-04-06) Location of birth/death Urbino Rome Work location Florence, Rome, Perugia (Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, EUA)[see page for license], from Wikimedia Commons Raffaello Sanzio [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons]

Giovanni Bellini: Painting Linear Visual Images

If an artwork is a process of imagining and an act of conceiving something in mind, and if an artist uses lines, shapes and colours to enliven that image and conception, the outcome would be a thing of visual joy for the eyes of viewers. These viewers would enjoy and examine such a work of an artist according to their understanding. Mostly they would respond to these visual images emotionally. Some of them would react through the application of their intellect, too.
                             Madonna and child

The work of an artist like Giovanni would lead the viewers to see more than this. It is because in the work of such a prolific artist, they would find appealing qualities, leading them to the wonderful sky of the world of art.

The Artist: Born in 1430, Giovanni was a Venetian painter. He had almost revolutionised the style of Venetian painting, by adding essence of sensuality in the colours he used. One of the biggest and important tasks Giovanni was entrusted to accomplish was the work of Hall of the Great Council of Venice. This work was commissioned to him along with his brother in the year of 1479. The pity is that his masterpieces painted in this place are not present today. There was a great fire in the year 1577 and entire Hall of the Great Council of Venice was destroyed in it.

The Art: It is beyond doubt that the display of elements of aesthetics would make viewers' eyes pasted on a painting. Giovanni did it very well. He was the artist who would keep doing experiments in his work. In the later stage of his life, he had done novel experiments involving the use of light. He kept adding new aspects in the landscapes he painted during this period. He infused the element of light in his landscape so stunningly that on seeing his particular painting one would be able to tell about what time of the day is depicted in it.

However his favourite subject was to paint Madonna. Keeping the Madonna as central theme, he had painted many master pieces like ‘Madonna with Saints’ in the year 1505, Madonna with Two Saints’ in the year 1490, and ‘Madonna with Child’. If art is an honest record of what an artist sees and feels, the paintings done by Giovanni is one of the most appropriate evidences of the same.

He did paint throughout his life. During his old age, too, he was very much productive. He was fortunate to have disciples like Titian who would be a world renowned painter in the later years. Giovanni died in the year 1516 and he had left a precious legacy of beautiful paintings.

The Presentation of Jesus in the Temple (Images courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

GIOVANNI BELLINI: Painting Seated Cloth-less Woman

Giovanni Bellini 018Theme: Painting seated women, depicting grace and modesty of women in natural beauty.

Cloth-less Young Woman in Front of the Mirror --by Giovanni Bellini

The painting of a female without clothes is always subjected to the painter’s own interpretations, so far as her depicted form is concerned. Even the postures of the female models tell inherent tales; even the moods revealed by the postures and the gestures of the bare-body female model depicted in the painting tend to be an exclusive interpretation of the artist.
In reality that might not be the same as depicted; but a painter, an artist with brushes and colours in hands and the imagination in mind try transferring the feel of beauty of the scene that is spread out before their eyes. Here the woman seems to have just come out from her bathroom. Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini has depicted the woman's eagerness to get her hair ordered. While she might be still drying her wet body, she seems finding something interesting in the mirror. The painting looks nearly of photo realistic appearances.

Giovanni Bellini was born in the family that could be called as the family of artists. Living in Venice, he had almost revolutionised the art of painting. And he did it well. He demonstrated how the sensuality could be depicted in paintings; how beautifully the colours could be laid on surfaces to paint.

To his credit, Giovanni has a rich collection of paintings. Some of his masterpieces had been destroyed in a huge fire in Doge’s Palace in the year 1577. Though living among master artists in his family and in the surrounding, too, the artist in Giovanni had built up a road of his own; he had developed his style of painting. However in many of his paintings we can see influence of his brother in law and the master Renaissance artist Andrea Mantegna. (Above image courtesy By Giovanni Bellini Description Italian painter Date of birth/death ca. 1430(1430) 29 November 1516(1516-11-29) Location of birth/death Venice Venice Work location Venice ([1]) [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons)
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