Early Italian Renaissance part 2.
Early Italian Renaissance
Part 1 of 2
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The Renaissance, like most technical terms in art, has an ambiguous definition; for example, there is no full agreement as to when it began in painting, and no agreement as to when it ended. Certainly everyone agrees in general that the Renaissance began in Florence. The date is more questionable. The beginning of the Fifteenth century, 1401, is the commonly accepted date for the beginning of the period. However, if one includes Giotto, a Florentine artist from a century before (born about 1267; died 1336/37) then the date should be seventy-five years earlier.
The main thrust of the Renaissance was a shift of interest away from institutions and religion to man. This is not to say religious themes were not central to Renaissance art, the church paid for most of the art, so it had its say. But rather there was a new human experience added to the style of the art. It represents the birth of the humanist tradition. In this sense the Renaissance is still not over.
How one defines the end of the Renaissance is an interesting problem. Sometimes, 1520 is used as the end marker (at least in this museum). It is a time when distinct changes in artistic style set in, but no single alternative style emerged. That puts the length of the Italian Renaissance at 120 years; some scholars believe 300 years a more appropriate interval.
This gallery covers only the early Renaissance. The late or high Renaissance, which includes Leonardo and Michelangelo, is in the next gallery covering 1490 to 1520.
Characteristic of the Renaissance was a change in attitude toward the artist as a person. In the middle ages the artist was just a craftsman; in the Renaissance he became an important person, a creative element; some artists began to be respected like scholars and authors were. He was suddenly acceptable as company for the high class social crowd. This meant signing and taking responsibility for his work. This also gave rise to an artistic hubris, where the artist thinks he knows better what should go into a painting than the patron who is paying for it.
born: Florence, Republic of Florence [now Italy]; 1375 or 84 or 90
died: Florence, Republic of Florence [now Italy]; 1421
Banco was a Florentine sculptor, trained by his father, Antonio.
|Unlike his contemporary sculptors Ghiberti and Donatello he tended to retain the drapery-clad sculpture of the Middle Ages rather than employ the figure sculpture of the early Renaissance.|
born: Florence, Republic of Florence [now Italy]; 1377
died: Florence, Republic of Florence [now Italy]; 15 April 1446
An architect/engineer/sculptor and one of the instigators of the Renaissance.
He was the first to redescover single point perspective.
Christ on the Cross
Christ on the Cross, shown above, was the last sculpture by Brunelleschi who then dedicated himself to architecture.
The design of the Florence Duomo, shown below, was not Brunelleschi's, but he did the engineering to create it.
born: Pelago, Republic of Florence, [now Italy]; about 1378
died: Florence, Republic of Florence, [now Italy]; 1 December 1455
|Ghiberti was the winner in 1401 (or co-winner with Brunelleschi according to some sources) of the competition to design the second set of doors leading into the baptistery the church of San Giovanni in Florence. The south doors existed and were designed by Andrea Pisano. See picture below. In any case Brunelleschi eventually withdrew and the doors were made in Ghiberti's workshop. The doors are bronze covered by gold. They are considered one of the great masterpieces of western art.|
Sacrifice of Isaac
Seven more Ghiberti images.
born: Panicale, near Perugia, Romagna; 1383
died: between 1440-1447
born: Florence, Republic of Florence [now Italy]; about 1386
died: Florence, Republic of Florence [now Italy]; 13 December 1466
The greatest sculptor of his time and one of the instigators of the Renaissance.
Six more Donatello pictures.
born: Pratovecchio, Republic of Florence [now Italy]; 1397
died: Florence, Republic of Florence [now Italy]; 10 December 1475
Four more Uccello pictures.
born: Vicchio nell Mugello, Republic of Florence [now Italy]; about 1400
died: Rome, Papal States [now Italy]; 18 February 1455
Ten more Fra Angelico pictures.
born: Castel San Giovanni di Altura, Valdarno, Duchy of Milan [now Italy];
21 December 1401
died: Rome, Papal States [now Italy]; November 1428 (of malaria)
|A young artist who painted professionally for only eight years. One of the first to paint in a Renaissance style. His most famous fresco is from a church in Florence: the expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden.|
Five more Masaccio pictures.
born: Florence, Republic of Florence, [now Italy]; about 1406
died: Spoleto, Papal States [now Italy], 8 or 10 October 1469
|Filippo Lippi's father and mother died when he was in his early teens, and he then lived with an aunt in Florence. When she could no longer control him, at about age fifteen, she shipped him off to become a Carmelite monk. Frescoes by Masaccio were being painted in the Brancacci chapel of the Carmelite monastery. These frescoes were probably Lippi's first contact with art.|
Five more Fra Lippi pictures and a short biography.
born: in Venice? about 410? (active in Florence by 1438)
died: Florence, Republic of Florence [now Italy]; 15 May 1461
Early Italian Renaissance painter.
The Mannerist author/painter Georgio Vasari, in his lives of the famous painters, links his biography of Dominico Veneziano with that of Andrea del Castagno. In it he accuses Castagno of killing Veneziano out of jealously for the quality of Veneziano's art. In fact Veneziano lived about 4 years after Catagno died so that this particular murder seems highly unlikely.
If you are interested here is a pdf version of this chapter translated into English. The input of the text was automated and pretty unreliable; I reparagraphed the result according to my own tastes and tried to correct as many errors as I could. It still makes fun reading. — ed.
St John the Baptist
born: Borgo San Sepolcro, Republic of Florence [now Italy], about 1419
died: Borgo San Sepolcro; Republic of Florence [now Italy], 12 October 1492
Six more della Francesca pictures.
born: San Martino a Corella, near Castagno San Godenzo, Republic of Florence
[now Italy]; about 1421
died: Republic of Florence [now Italy]; 19 August 1457
For a somewhat tainted biography of Castagno there is a chapter on him in Gerogio Vasari's Lives of the Painters. In the chapter Vasari accuses Castagno of killing Dominico Veneziano. This is unlikely since documentation shows that Veneziano died about four years after Castagno died.
If you are interested there is a pdf version of an English translation of this chapter of Vasari's book. The input of the text was automated and pretty unreliable; I reparagraphed the result according to my own tastes and tried to correct as many errors as I could. It still makes fun reading. — ed.
A dozen more Andrea del Castagno pictures