martes, 22 de enero de 2008

Renaissance Painting

It is influenced by the Humanism, the same as the rest of the Arts. In some authors’ opinion, the beginnings of this painting are the Flemish painters such as Van Eyck and Italian painters such as Masaccio.

· Supports:
Wall painting continued being used in Italy. In Venice, due to the mosaic tradition, it tended to lose importance and they began painting on canvas for conservation reasons.
Canvas became common but wood continued being the most used support. Polyptics were frequently produced in Europe and in Spain, while in Italy it was more common an altarpiece of just one level.

· Techniques:
Italian painters maintained the use of the fresco.
Book illumination was loosing importance due to the apparition of printed books.
From the last decades of 15th century, the engraving on wood and later on copper became common to reproduce and expand painted works. Some watercolours belong to this period too.
The drawing acquired more importance and was not considered any longer as a secondary job linked to painted works.
The most revolutionary element was the substitution of the temple by the oil. This new technique had been developed by Van Eyck and was spreading to the rest of Europe.

· Subjects:

Religious paintings were important and almost exclusive in some Northern countries and in Spain. New saints or new ways of portraying the traditional ones were introduced as a reflection of the worries of the time. It is frequent to find saints devoted to the studies, for instance.

In Italy mythological subjects were taken from the classical authors or from their contemporary.

History was other subject and the description of the conflicts between cities led to the development of war subjects.

Portrait was developed.
Landscape, without being a subject in itself, gained more importance in the paintings, especially in Venice and in Flanders.

· Composition:
The space was organised through lineal and atmospheric perspective.
In the painting organization, the centre is more important than the periphery. Symmetry was commonly used. Sometimes the images are organised depending of simple shapes (circumference, pyramid).
For the background traditional motives were used (half point vaults, sarcophagus) or architectures that were modelled following the Roman tradition.

· Drawing, colour and brushstroke:
Gold was eliminated progressively. Light colours tended to disappear from strategic point of the painting. The palette was diversified. In general, it is light, even when some painters experiment with unusual lighten effects such as storms or nights broken by lights.
The use of oil paining made it possible the introduction of more delicate nuances, especially in landscape and flesh depiction. In addition to this, it made possible the creation of effects such as bright, transparency and luminosity.
The sfumato technique gave the opportunity of unifying the image with the surrounds instead of delining its contour.

· Images:
A new realism inspired the faces’ depiction, particularly in Flemish painting. The painters made an effort to diversify the characters: bodies should be convenient thanks to their simility to real images.
At the same time, and mainly in Italy, there is a worry about idealization that affected specially the nudes, inspiring the use of some cannons. These new models were inspired in classical images.
The normalization of beauty resulted in the apparition of some stereotypes that were considered their antagonists. Ridiculous images, sometimes close to caricatures, were created in this period.

sábado, 19 de enero de 2008

Renaissance Sculpture

The discovery of the nature and the human body were more important than the imitation of Antiquity. The polychromes, the gilding and the various techniques employed emphasize the pictorial quality of the works. An innovation was that the artist was no longer content to be a mere craftsman, but he had the mission of adorn. Sculpture and painting are going to be together many times. Projects were important in cities such as Florence were competitions were hold when they had to command an important work, as in the case of the Doors of the Baptistery.

During the Quattrocento there is an intention to define an idealized, perfect bur naturalistic representation of the human body.
The novelty is the concept of beauty embodied by youth, whereas the gerontocracy in power strove to relegate the young and adolescent to the sidelines of social life.
The sculptures have three characteristics:
-Gothic tradition
-Renewal of Antiquity
-Resource to the single point of view that underlines frontality.


·Tomb sculpture.
The wall tomb was the favourite framework used by the Renaissance sculpture.The backed tombs were contaminated by the successive forms taken by altarpieces: the recess was surrounded by statuette aligned vertically on the pilasters.Artists adopted a tripartite structure, contrasting the central arcade, which emphasized the image of the deceased with lateral niches containing statues of saints or virtues.The development of the representation of the dead denoted a new conception of the portrait. Depiction of faces was often dictated by the concept of the ideal.

·Revival of the equestrian statue
Life-size representation of a horse and rider was and attractive subject for sculptors but did not become possible until the second half of the century, due to the cost of execution and technical problems to cast the bronze. The monuments were reserved to the representation of the civic and secular virtues of illustrious men and took as a model the Marcus Aurelius. Previously other models in short-lived materials were used. The best examples are the Condottiero Gattamelata made by Donatello, and the Condottiero Colleoni, work of Verrochio.

·The portrait
The art of medallist developed. They tended to specify and define the natural features of an individual, with attention to physiognomy and its psychological bearing, and without forgetting the course of the time. Female portraits implied a searching focus on the beauty of woman, and inspired the artist to a celebration of beauty, with a softer and tenderer treatment.

There is a predominance of male nudes. They follow the Gothic tradition. Female nudes appear in small bronze statues, imitating the antique statuary. Male nude kept the workshops especially busy. Some of the models are those made by Michelangelo: Bacchus and, later on, David.

Materials and technique
Bronze substituted other precious materials. It was casted and finished by chisel. At the beginning it was not highly polished.Extensive use of marble and fine calcareous stones
Details of images are sometimes gilded.Backgrounds can be coloured.

jueves, 17 de enero de 2008

Renaissance Architecture

15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, in which there was a conscious revival and development of certain elements of Classical Greek and Roman thought and material culture.
The Renaissance style places emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry and the regularity of parts as they are demonstrated in the architecture of Classical antiquity and in particular, the architecture of Ancient Rome, of which many examples remained.
Orderly arrangements of columns, pilasters and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches, hemispherical domes, niches and aedicules replaced the more complex proportional systems and irregular profiles of medieval buildings.

Architectonical elements
Plan: The plans of Renaissance buildings have a square, symmetrical appearance in which proportions are usually based on a module. Within a church the module is often the width of an aisle. Central plans are commonly used, combined with basilical models, and frequently buildings are a combination of both.
Façades: Façades are symmetrical around their vertical axis. Church facades are generally surmounted by a pediment and organized by a system of pilasters, arches and entablatures. The columns and windows show a progression towards the centre.
Domestic buildings are often surmounted by a cornice. There is a regular repetition of openings on each floor, and the centrally placed door is marked by a feature such as a balcony, or rusticated surround.
Columns and pilasters: The Roman orders of columns are used:- Tuscan, Doric, Ionic, Corinthian and Composite. The orders can either be structural, supporting an arcade or architrave, or purely decorative, set against a wall in the form of pilasters.
Arches: Arches are semi-circular or (in the Mannerist style) segmental. Arches are often used in arcades, supported on piers or columns with capitals.
There may be a section of entablature between the capital and the springing of the arch.
Vaults: Vaults do not have ribs. They are semi-circular or segmental and on a square plan, unlike the Gothic vault which is frequently rectangular. The barrel vault, is returned.
Domes: The dome is used frequently, both as a very large structural feature that is visible from the exterior, and also as a means of roofing smaller spaces where they are only visible internally.
Ceilings: Roofs are fitted with flat or coffered ceilings. They are not left open as in Medieval architecture. They are frequently painted or decorated.
Doors: Door usually have square lintels. They may be set within an arch or surmounted by a triangular or segmental pediment. Openings that do not have doors are usually arched and frequently have a large or decorative keystone.
Windows: Windows may be paired and set within a semi-circular arch. They may have square lintels and triangular or segmental pediments, which are often used alternately. Windows are used to bring light into the building and in domestic architecture, to give views. Stained glass, although sometimes present, is not a feature.
Walls: External walls are generally of highly-finished ashlar masonry, laid in straight courses. The corners of buildings are often emphasised by rusticated “quoins”. Basements and ground floors were often rusticated. Internal walls are smoothly plastered and surfaced with white-chalk paint. For more formal spaces, internal surfaces are decorated with frescoes.

Building typology
As it is a more profane art religious buildings are not exclusive.
Churches: Continue being one of the most important buildings. They tend to be of central plan and they are full of classical elements.

Palaces and villas: They acquire special importance. Two types can be distinguished:

· Palaces are urban buildings. They tend to be three-storey and they are very closed, with walls treated in different ways depending on the floor. They are symmetric and have several windows. Internally they are organised around a courtyard and they have a loggia.

· Villas: They are in the countryside. They loose their defensive character to become just a place for living in contact with Nature. They consist of a central cube standing on a strong base and they are surrounded by gardens.