Issue 43

February 2013






Home. Up.

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Group News cont’d

Dome of Florence Cathedral

Photo by S. Scheele, Essen

Reproduced under CCBYSA license

History of Art – The Renaissance

Florence is considered the Cradle of the Renaissance as the social conditions existing there in the 15th century were conducive to the flourishing of art, architecture, and sculpture. There was an accumulation of wealth through trade and banking; the city had survived the plague, and was at peace following victory in a war with Milan. Guilds and bankers could demonstrate their piety and wealth through patronage of the Arts.

Giotto (d.1337) is an early example of breaking away from the old Byzantine style, with innovations like depicting emotions in facial expressions, sense of drama, “body language”, light and shade, composition in space, and landscaped backgrounds. Later artists like Sandro Botticelli (d.1510) implied movement in the painting with a cloak billowing in the wind, and someone poised as if about to take a step forward.

There was a Guild competition in 1418 to build the Dome of Florence Cathedral. Filippo Brunelleschi (d. 1446) was eventually successful and travelled to Rome to study and draw ancient buildings in preparation for the task.  These drawings helped him to develop a mathematical linear perspective which was taken up in paintings that amazed people with their realism and three- dimensional effect.

There was a revival of interest in Antiquity, in classical ruins, ancient texts in monasteries on architecture, mythology and philosophy. Classical motifs like egg-and-dart, wreaths and triumphal arches were reinterpreted to fit in with Christian theology.

There were technological changes as well, eg: in painting the use of canvas instead of wood panel or fresco, the use of oil as a binder for pigment, mixing of colours, and painted simulation of metals, instead of actual gold leaf.

There is so much more to this course than what I can write here, and to top it all, Brian has arranged a trip to Florence in May for the group. I hope I can organize myself to get a few photos to accompany the next newsletter.

Judy Muscarella

Please note changes to published dates as follows:-
Influence of Northern Artists
13th February
Leonardo…. …..27th February
Michelangelo.. 13th March
Raphael ……..27th March

Titian & Giorgione… 10th April

Brian Souter