F.M. Godfrey describes how, during the fifteenth century, the courtly civilization of Ferrara gave birth to splendid works of art. Read more HERE
Alexander Lee admires an article by Frederick Godfrey from 1952, reflecting new attitudes towards the Renaissance.
An interesting look into the historiography of the Renaissance period. Lee shows how historians moved from Burckhardt's rose-tinted view of patronage, through Godfrey's interpretation and towards a modern view of the Medici where art was more about power than beauty.
Read more HERE
You can read the original Godfrey article HERE
Simon Sebag Montefiore charts Rome's rise from the abandonment and neglect of the 14th century into the everlasting seat of the papacy recognised today. His story takes us through the debauchery and decadence of the Renaissance, the horrors of the Sack of Rome and the Catholic Reformation, through to the arrival of fascism and the creation of the Vatican State. By taking us inside Rome's most sensational palaces and churches and telling the stories behind some of the world's most beloved art, Sebag Montefiore's final instalment is a visual feast.
As Renaissance culture grew more secular in the wake of the Reformation, painters and poets expanded their thematic repertoires to include subjects drawn from the natural world and from daily life. In the visual arts, landscape and still life slowly emerged from narrative representation despite the low status held by such subjects in the aesthetic hierarchy. With history painting remaining so dominant, artists drawn to genre frequently “justified” their efforts by overlaying them with historical and allegorical allusions. Thus, in the realm of still-life painting, some pictures were made in imitation of ancient xenia, others incorporated relevant moral and social commentary, and still others fashioned clever visual puns from ordinary foodstuffs. One sixteenth-century artist, Giuseppe Arcimboldo, went so far as to make a career of creating human “portraits” out of common produce, while a handful of painters made pointed references to the sexually suggestive shapes of certain fruits and vegetables. Highlighting the erotic associations of figs, peaches, melons, and squash was particularly common in the era that began with Raphael (1483–1520) and ended with Caravaggio (1571–1610).
Read more here: LINK
A dissertation on the role of the Medici
This paper looks at the Medici family’s rise to power and control over Florence. The main focus of the paper is on Cosimo de’ Medici, who is the man responsible for bringing his family to power. The first chapter looks at his business and familial connections and the ways that these relationships helped him gain power. The second chapter examines Cosimo’s role as patron of the arts and learning and the ways in which this helped to extend his influence. The third chapter looks at Cosimo’s grandson Lorenzo de’ Medici and the ways in which he continued the dominance of the Medici family in Florence, specifically focusing on his role as patron and how
he took after his grandfather.
It is said of the Florentine painter, Paolo Uccello (1397-1475),
that the discovery of perspective had so impressed him that he spent nights and days drawing objects in foreshortening, and setting himself ever new problems. His fellow artists used to tell how he was so engrossed in these studies that he would hardly look up when his wife called him for a meal, and would just exclaim: “What a sweet thing perspective is!”
Find out more about how the Renaissance artists were captivated by perspective by downloading the file
From where do artists get their colours?
It might seem a little strange to study art by looking at its materials. But it would not have seemed strange at all to painters of the Middle Ages or the Renaissance. They were deeply engaged with their materials, out of sheer necessity - for they made their own paints from the raw materials. These painters knew that the quality of their art depended vitally on the quality of these materials. Although that is still true today, few contemporary artists have a comparable relationship with the physical characteristics of
their medium. One suspects there is a perception almost of something vulgar about such tangible aspects of art. This means not only that some artists have undertaken illinformed and disastrous experiments with paints, but that art itself is in danger of losing touch with its roots as a practical craft – a craft that happens to have produced some of the most glorious expressions of the human spirit.
Read more here:http://philipball.co.uk/docs/pdf/RI_discourse.pdf
The Google Art Project lets you visit 17 museums from around the world. The link below takes you to the Florentine Uffizi Gallery where you can view Botticelli's Birth of Venus at a resolution of 7000 megapixels - you can actually see the brush strokes!
The discovery of the laws of perspective and the effect created by painting from a fixed and particular point of view was perhaps the most original and momentous invention of the Renaissance. The ancient Greeks had understood foreshortening, and Hellenestic painters were skilled in creating the illusion of depth, but not before the fifteenth century were the tricks mastered of representing the external world in art according to scientific perspective and from fixed points of view...
Read more here: LINK