Exploration Of Medieval And Renaissance Era Artists 

Italy was unlike any other place in Europe. It was divided into independent city-states, each with a different form of government. Florence, where the Italian Renaissance began, was an independent republic. The city became the cultural center of Europe and of the Renaissance. Renaissance Italy had many achievements in painting, sculpture and architecture. During this time a majority of paintings were related to a religious aspect. Painters were praised and wealthy because of their work. It set the tone for the Northern Renaissance and the heavy influence on religious attentiveness. To exemplify these topics The Met provides many contains different artifacts, paintings, and sculptures that express the depth of religious devotion in Renaissance Italy. I chose three different paintings that contain great meaning and symbolize this time period.

My first selection is called “The Meditation on the Passion”, Vittore Carpaccio, the artist painted this piece in 1490 AD. The exceptional picture is a representation of Death and Resurrection. Christ’s dead body is displayed on a broken throne inscribed in pseudo-Hebrew. The words that are still legible are “with a cry”, “Israel”, “crown”, and “that my redeemer liveth” A bird, which symbolizes the pure soul flies upwards. The landscape in the contrast, barren and lush symbolizes to the subjects of being alive and dead, as do the animals. The Old Testament Prophet Job sits on a block inscribed in pseudo-Hebrew while on the opposite side of Jesus is Saint Jerome. The turbaned figures in the background would have been familiar to Venetians through their trade with the Middle East and Egypt.

The second painting I chose to symbolize this era is named “Madonna and Child”, by Giovanni Bellini, one of the most influential Venetian artists. There are multiple interpretations of this piece. Artist such as Luca Signorelli, Carlo Crivelli, Simone Martini, and a sculpture done by Luca della Robbia. All with the same meaning behind the painting and sculpture but each had different versions of the same story. The painting is described as “separated from our everyday world by a parapet” by The Met. The figures — Madonna and the child — capture the viewer with their stare to an unknown object or person. A cloth of honor is pulled aside to reveal a distant landscape, where we witness the transition from a slumbering background to rich nature—a metaphor, like the dawn sky, for death and rebirth. The asymmetrical composition looks ahead to the work of Titian. When Albrecht Dürer visited Venice, he declared Bellini the best painter. The exquisite Venetian frame is of the period.

The last piece I chose to represent the religious devotion in Renaissance Italy is “The Crucifixion” painted by Fra Angelico (born Guido di Pietro) he was praised as “the Angelic Painter”. This early work accentuates the drama of the Crucifixion by showing the Virgin collapsed on the floor in grief with the mourning Maries and emphasizing the diverse attitudes of the Roman soldiers and their horses. There is a well delivered delicacy about this work that Fra Angelico will develop in his mature paintings. The innovative circular composition was inspired by the bronze doors created by Lorenzo Ghiberti for the Baptistry of Florence.

To conclude, there are numerous amounts of paintings that express the depth of religious devotion is Renaissance Italy from the Medieval Period. During this time period Italy reached many achievements, not just in painting, but in architecture, music, literature, philosophy, science, and more. These ideals of the Italian Renaissance set off and began to spread off the Norther Renaissance.

16 December 2021
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