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The Renaissance (1400-1520 AD)
The Renaissance was “A revival or rebirth of cultural awareness and learning that took place during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, particularly in Italy,” according to Art In Focus. It followed the Middle Ages, and was basically a time of the revival of learning after the Middle Ages, or Dark Ages, a time with little increase of ideas, inventions or developments. During the Renaissance, art was a branch of knowledge. It was a way to show God and his creations, as well as a science, of anatomy and perspective. Also during the Renaissance there were many people who used art as a way to record discoveries and inspired people to take pleasure in the world around them.
In 1452 AD, a genius named Leonardo da Vinci was born in a small town called Vinci. He was the illegitimate son of a local lawyer. When he was small he loved to draw pictures of plants, insects, flowers, animals, and birds. When Leonardo was in his teens his father took him to Florence, Italy, to study at the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio. When Leonardo was twenty, he was so good at painting that he helped his art teacher finish his painting. Not only was Leonardo an artist, but he was also an architect, musician, sculptor, scientist, inventor, and mathematician. He kept detailed records of all of his inventions in his notebooks, which he wrote backwards so nobody could steal his ideas. One of his sketches in his notebook was of a skull. He used lines possibly to measure the length and the width of the human head. He might have done this to be able to paint the human head in proper proportion, and more life like. Leonardo painted very realistically, as you can see in the painting Ginevra de’Benci, which is of a young lady. Another advancement of Leonardo’s was to make his backgrounds very detailed and in proper aerial perspective. The techniques he might have used in his paintings are as follows: He would first cover a wood panel with gesso then, rough in the figures on the panels. The major forms were then modeled in a brownish tone. He would also use his fingers as well as his palms for the under molding. He would then use a fine “minever” brush for details. Leonardo was a genius in his approach to art and many other areas of study.
Another great artist of this time was Michelangelo Buonarroti. He was born near Florence, Italy, in 1475 AD. When he was thirteen, he learned a lot about art while walking through the streets on his way to school. He recorded mentally images he saw in ever day life. His teacher was Domencio Ghirlandio, a very famous artist. Ghirlandio taught Michelangelo many things, but none more important than the art of fresco. Fresco is painting on wet plaster, so that when the plaster dries, the paint is part of the wall. It is very useful because the paint will not flake off and will last for a very long time. Michelangelo used this technique while painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Although Michelangelo was a good and prolific painter, he enjoyed sculpting the most. One of his most famous statues is the Pietа. Every one loved it and found it hard to belive that such a young artist sculpted it at the age of twenty-four. He sculpted it out of a large block of marble. Another of his paintings was The Crucifixion of St. Peter. This painting showed how well Michelangelo could paint the anatomically correct human figure, and his use of proportion correctly. It is apparent that he paid a lot attention to details as well. Michelangelo, as well as Leonardo, were both geniuses in art and paved the way for other great artist of this time period and time periods to come.
The Renaissance was period of time when art was very important. It was a way for people to not only express them selves, but a science as well. The death of Raphael signals the end of the Renaissance and the rise of mannerism, which lead into the Baroque Period.