Many authors of the past and present have written about the Renaissance and the significant role it has in history. Euan Cameron’s “Civilized Religion” involves the exploration of link between humanism and religious reform as a product of the Renaissance in Europe. Craig Harbison’s “The Mirror of the Artist”, presents a rich overview of the history of Renaissance and how it affected the lives of the people and Europe as a whole. The Renaissance was a historical period that began in the later part of the fourteenth century.
The period is a significant part of European history because the Renaissance became the transition of Europe from a dark and tumultuous region to a revolution of the arts, architecture and sciences. In the initial stages, the movement began in the field of literature but it has taken off to include medicine, physics and chemistry. The origin of the Renaissance can be found in Tuscany and in the surrounding cities of Siena and Florence. Later on in the period, Rome was reconstructed by the popes in the sixteenth century using the architecture that emerged from the Renaissance.
The Renaissance painting is the bridge between the Baroque art and the paintings of the Middle Ages. The paintings that were born out of this era signify the rebirth of the classical and humanism. It is in the Renaissance period that new techniques and sensibilities in art were born again. This is also the period of transition between the Middle Ages to the Early Modern period. Sandro Botticelli is one of the greatest painters in the Renaissance period. His works reflect beauty and harmony. Botticelli’s art consisted of religious subjects like the Madonna and the saints.
He painted a series of paintings that were based on the literary work of Dante, the Divine Comedy. He also painted for the Sistine Chapel’s Temptation of Christ. He was sponsored by the Medici family and he did many portraits for them. With Lorenzon de Medici as his patron, Botticelli had contact with the humanists. The humanists wanted to influence artists such as Botticelli to interpret their ideas in the form of art. This resulted into one of Botticelli’s best known painting, the Birth of Venus.
In the Birth of Venus, the goddess is shown to have emerged from the sea and reached the shore. Venus stands on a shell that was blown towards the shore by the spirits called the Zephyrs. A goddess of the seasons gives Venus a flowered cloak. The Birth of Venus was painted during the Renaissance period. The Renaissance period was characterized by the re-awakening of the classical themes in art. The Birth of Venus exemplifies this classical theme from its subject of Greek mythology together with the philosophy that beauty comes from God (Pater & Phillips 1998).
The Renaissance period is also the awakening of the humanist movement. Humanism has offered modern artists with the opportunity to find new ways aside from the objective study towards the understanding and discernment of the emotional state of individuals. When modern artists will be able to leave their ideals of positivism, they will be exposed to many sources of new research. Otherwise, these new ideas will remain undiscovered. Landscape painting and novels have their own geographical uses.
There is a need to embrace the exposure of experiences by the individual and also his or her emotions rather than just being able to provide documentation for the events. Humanistic art rejects the idea of quantitative research. In changing the approach to a subjective experience and focusing on the individual rather than the creation of a general theory, artists who employ humanism are able to make suggestions on the vast new areas of materials covered for research such as the arts.
In the Renaissance period, humanistic artists have contemplated the place not merely as a physical location but a place where humans will not be extracted from it. The physical setting cannot be separated from man because he has a relationship with it. This is created by the emotional investments that were developed by those people living in the land. Humanistic artists also want to establish a stable place in humanities rather than only a stand that is limited to science. This is their way of relating to the experiences of man in places.
The evolution of humanistic modern art started from referring to the philosophies of existentialism and phenomenology. The power of the printing press gained popularity during the Renaissance period and the Protestant Reformation. It was through the invention of the printing press that the messages of the reformers and also the messages from the Bible were distributed all throughout Europe and eventually reached the shores of America. The Protestant Reformation began with Martin Luther in 1517. This was an attempt to make reforms in the Catholic Church.
The printing press has an implication in the Reformation. The changes in the industrial age quickly spread from Europe to North America. The event of the industrial revolution had changed every aspect of human life and has become a major turning point. The Renaissance has brought many great changes in different fields and gave way to the rise of the industrial revolution. Changes in the social and economic structures were the characteristics of the industrial revolution. There were other innovations in technology that were made aside from the printing press in the field of communication and transportation.
These became instrumental in the creation and development of new factory systems and machine production. Social changes also occurred as children and women were introduced to the work force. The Renaissance quickly spread all across Europe. The Renaissance provided opportunities for Europeans to dominate the world. People were thinking differently. The period opened many avenues and new experiences. The Renaissance increased the desire for knowledge and discovery, spirituality and wealth.