Wells

How to Look at Great Art-Tools for 22-24

How to Look at and Understand Great Art - Tools from Lectures 22-24

Lecture 22: Early Renaissance - Humanism Emergent (08.04.19)

How to recognize art of the early Renaissance:
⦁ Subjects are still largely religious but put more emphasis on the human identity of Christ, the Virgin Mary, and the saints than medieval art did; the childhood and human life of Christ emerged as a new topic.
⦁ Landscapes are included in paintings, demonstrating an interest in nature.
⦁ Paintings show the influence of classicism.
⦁ Artists paid more attention to accurate anatomy in human figures.
⦁ Artists made a greater attempt to create believable forms.
⦁ Attempts at realistic scale and proportion are inconsistent.
⦁ Atmospheric and linear perspective are attempted but imperfect.
⦁ Shading and shadowing may be inconsistent.

Ask yourself
⦁ How has this work evolved in subject and style from medieval art? How do its perspective, scale, and shading show that it is not High Renaissance art?

Lecture 23: Northern Renaissance - Devil in the Details (08.04.19)

How to recognize art of the Northern Renaissance:
⦁ Primary features are compulsive details and use of oil.
⦁ Subjects include both religious art and everyday civic interests, but either subject will address everyday life in its details and objects.
a. In religious depictions, many apparently ordinary objects are used symbolically, according to a specific code.
⦁ Like early Italian Renaissance art, some attempt is made at perspective, but it is far from perfect. They were much more accomplished at atmospheric perspective than linear perspective.
⦁ Artists were interested in realism but not in the classicism that interested their early Renaissance counterparts.
a. They did not adhere to the classical canon of proportion, nor a full classical sense of illusion.
b. They tended to use hierarchical scale, rather than realistic scale.
⦁ Oil paint allowed a remarkable wealth and realism of detail. Once the artists figured out how to use oil paint in this way, they were able to replicate the level of detail, but not the saturated hues, with tempera.
⦁ The cool light used highlights sharp folds and lines, not soft classical folds and lines, in clothes and other fabrics.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How is this work like and unlike early Italian Renaissance art?

Lecture 24: High Renaissance - Humanism Perfected (08.04.19)

How to recognize art of the High Renaissance:
⦁ Works demonstrate the culmination of humanism and classicism.
⦁ Artists had perfected observation and drawing, especially of plants and human anatomy.
⦁ Works demonstrate mastery of the human figure.
⦁ Compositions follow "perfect" shapes - circles, squares, or equilateral triangles.
⦁ Every feature of the work aims at glorifying humanity and imitating of nature.
⦁ Works feature classical proportions.
⦁ Artists had mastered linear and atmospheric perspective - not on a studied level but intuitively.

Ask yourself:
⦁ How are proportion and perspective in this work different from that of early Renaissance and Northern Renaissance art?