Essay Sample on Renaissance Art in Fifteenth-Century Italy

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  555 Words
Date:  2022-11-14


In the 15th century, during the Renaissance, massive amounts of art were created in Italy. Italy got divided into four city-states that were ruled by powerful families. The leaders established courts and hired painters to create art in them and for them. These patrons were not only wealthy but also educated. They were also very proud of their power and viewed art as a form of expression and necessity to life. As the 15th century matured, the patrons became increasingly interested in prestige and fame. Hence, lavish display of wealth and power became common, especially in art. The act of commissioning an artist to design a building, sculpture or painting signified a patron's financial status, taste, and ambition.

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The Medici family, for example, ruled Florence as princes besides the fact that it was a republic. They had amassed a fortune in banking to become one of the wealthiest people in Italy. Motivated by a sense of civic pride, the patrons created magnificent works to show their devotion to the cultural development of their city-states. They hired many scholars, poets, and artists for both aesthetical and political reasons.

Donatello's bronze sculpture (David, 1428-32) is a heroic nude sculpture that shows David posed as a young man while holding a sword. Besides, the religious meaning, the work represented the triumph of Florence over their enemies, a symbol of civic pride. The Borgia and Sforza families ruled over Papal and Milan states respectively. Similarly, they also commissioned art for propaganda and honor. Leonardo da Vinci worked for both families as an engineer. He created (The Last Supper, 1895-98) for Ludovico Sforza as a symbol of power and divinity. Artists progressively became recognized and started earning higher fees for their personal styles and innovativeness.

The spirit of competition is evident between artists and between patrons. For example, both Brunelleschi and Ghiberti created bronze figures representing The Sacrifice of Isaac in the same year in a competition. The figures in both artworks protruded from the surface creating a three-dimensional illusion. The evident rivalry between artists and patrons led to the creation of better ideas and artwork. Ghiberti won the competition and proceeded to make the Gates of Paradise which depicted ten panes like paintings from a linear perspective.

Brunelleschi designed the (Dome of the Florence Cathedral, 1420-36) which solved the problem of the drum. The stood magnificently as the brainchild of genius, not only showing patronage to Florence but also intellect in art and architecture. Brunelleschi also designed the Foundling Hospital in which he used a combination of classical and early renaissance architectural techniques with Pythagorean proportions. Finally, Brunelleschi redesigned the Church of San Lorenzo adding order and proportion. The church stands with symmetrical beauty of standards that had not been seen previous to the fifteenth century.

Masaccio's The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Paradise shows the physiological impact of shame from sin. His Trinity makes complex use of space to give the illusion of a stone funerary monument that symbolized the inevitability of death and the hope of salvation. Within the competitive environment, most of the artwork's meaning goes beyond their historical religious meaning to show a patriot's status or power. For example, Perugino's Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter used linear perspective and orthogonal to show the pope having diving authority from the Sistine Chapel.

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