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New awareness—new concept of “self”

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1 New awareness—new concept of “self”
Individuals of the Renaissance thought of their time as one in which mankind changed fundamentally—men thought the lives they lived and the ideas they held made their age strikingly different from the one(s) before. During the Renaissance, men began to develop a spirit of self-interest and a heightened awareness of self (e.g. composers/artists began to sign their works). Whereas Medieval thought held that to praise man was to praise God because man was a creation of God, Renaissance thinkers praised man himself as a creator (i.e. man possessed the ability to think/act for himself and was capable of “creating” works of art as well as understanding and controlling natural forces/phenomena). Leonardo da Vinci’s “Self-Portrait”

2 Renaissance Man Lover of learning/knowledge (life-long learner)
Belief that learning was necessary for cultural improvement became more widespread. Education was also utilitarian—helped one become more successful in commerce, law, politics, etc. Well versed in Greek and Latin Classics Renaissance Man (Above): Leonardo da Vinci’s “Vitruvian Man”; (Right): Some of da Vinci’s inventions

3 Johannes Gutenberg (of Mainz) and the printing press
Printing press was one of the most important technological innovations in the history of Western civilization.—it amounted to the difference between re-writing and copying. The invention process, which culminated sometime between , was evolutionary. Gutenberg’s Bible was the first real book produced using moveable type. The Press provided an impetus to learning.—printing facilitated cooperation among scholars and helped produce standardized and definitive texts. During the 1460s, presses were set up throughout the Holy Roman Empire. By the 1470s, presses spread to Italy, France, the Low Countries, Spain, and Eastern Europe. Venice was a well-known printing center. By 1500, Venice was home to almost 100 printers who produced close to two million volumes. There were over 1,000 printers in Europe who published almost 40,000 titles (8-10 million copies). Printing was becoming one of the largest industries in Europe. With the printing press, more people were learning How to read and lay readers were reading more often. New ideas (e.g. Reformation) were being disseminated much more rapidly throughout Europe. Religious materials, Classical works (both Greek and Latin), medieval grammars, legal handbooks, philosophical works, and popular romance novels were among the printed works.

4 Renaissance revolution in thought characterized by the formulation of a new educational program—the “humanities” The humanist movement had a profound effect on education. Humanist education intended to prepare young men for an active life of service to the community (civic humanism). Whereas Medieval scholars asserted that the only way a good life could be attained was through hermetic/monastic living (i.e. withdrawal from the earth and its material wealth), Humanists believed an active life in the world and possession of wealth were not incompatible with virtue (there was a new emphasis on an active and contemplative life). Furthermore, while Medieval scholars/practitioners viewed Classical Latin literature as pagan, Humanists sought to purify the Latin/Greek of the ancients—such texts were used as the medium for instruction.

5 The “humanities” grammar/letters/logic rhetoric/style/eloquence literature moral philosophy/ethics poetry mathematics astronomy music history

6 Vittorino da Feltre (1378-1446)
“Not everyone is obliged to excel in philosophy, medicine, or the law, nor are all equally favored by nature; but all are destined to live in society and to practice virtue. These courses of study were seen as the best preparation for a life of wisdom and virtue (i.e. a practical education). Humanist educators thought that humanist education was a practical preparation for life—its aim was the creation not of a great scholar but of a complete citizen. Humanities studies were all based upon the study of ancient Greek and Roman authors—Humanist educators followed the Greek precept of a sound mind in a sound body and they used Cicero as the model for prose and Virgil as the model for poetry. Vittorino da Feltre ( )

7 Humanists were effective linguists, especially in Latin, although the rediscovery of Greek literature was equally important as a whole new world of thought emerged (remember, Latin was the official/formal language of the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages). The movement to revive “Classical” literature originated in Northern Italy during the 14th Century. In humanist education were exemplified at least two of Burkhardt’s concepts: the revival of Antiquity (Classical works) and the discovery of the individual. Humanist were able to publish previously unknown Classical works—for the first time, scholars could read accurate editions of Classical works and correspond with each other. The ability to speak, read, write in Greek meant Greek works weren’t read through translations (i.e. Greek to Arabic to Latin)—important given how some of the original material was often lost in translation. Humanism was not merely concerned with rediscovering or editing Classical works, but rather, the discipline sought to examine those texts for lessons/instructions on how to live. Renaissance scholars were committed to searching for the truth and they demonstrated a willingness to challenge long-held beliefs if/when they seemed false. This process was facilitated by the fact that Renaissance thinkers discovered, as their knowledge of the ancients increased, that ancient philosophers/theologians, taken for granted as unquestioned/authoritative sources during the Middle Ages, possessed differences of opinion amongst themselves and often contradicted one another, representing different schools of thought (e.g. Galen, Aristotle, etc.). The only way around this problem was to find out for oneself by consulting the original source (and not translations). Nonetheless, Renaissance thinkers sought to rediscover—not invent; they sought to improve man’s condition, not by looking forward toward the frontiers of knowledge, but by looking back to its reservoirs (i.e. Antiquity). By the 15th century, a whole circle of Humanists were emerging in Italy (both monks and laymen). This method of inquiry provided a strong stimulus for original scientific work and the best minds engaged in this type of inquiry sometimes found that none of the theories of the ancients had been correct and that completely new ones had to be devised (e.g. Copernicus). It was at this point that the efforts of the Humanists became involved with the work of the late Medieval scholastic philosophers—when these methods were combined, the results could be very original.

8 Why were the liberal studies (i.e. the humanities) pursued?
The purpose of a liberal education (and thus the purpose of the study of the liberal arts) was to produce individuals who followed a path to virtue and wisdom. Humanist schools sought to educate an elite class of individuals who would then comprise the ruling classes of their communities. Those individuals should possess the rhetorical skills by which they could persuade others to take this path. “We call those studies liberal which are worthy of a free man; those studies by which we attain and practice virtue and wisdom; that education which calls forth, trains, and develops those highest gifts of body and mind which ennoble men.” Petrus Paulus Vergerius (aka Pietro Paolo Vergerio, )

9 Raphael’s “School of Athens”
Humanists eagerly pursued the works of Plato, as well as Greek poets, dramatists, historians, and orators, such as Thucydides, Euripides, and Sophocles. For instance, Cosimo de Medici commissioned Marsilio Ficino ( )to translate Plato’s “Dialogues” Ficino dedicated his life to the translation of Plato and to the exposition of Platonic philosophy (known as Neoplatonism). In Florence, Humanists met at Ficino’s villa, calling themselves an academy, or an informal discussion group (in the Classical manner). Ficino’s academy was patronized ($ supported) by the Medici’s and it became the model of countless academies founded all over Europe in the following centuries as centers for different types of learning. Raphael’s “School of Athens”

10 Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374): “the Father of Italian Humanism”
Did more than any other individual in the 14th century to foster the development of humanism: Petrarch sought to find forgotten Latin manuscripts, thus setting in motion a search of monastic libraries throughout Europe. Began the humanist emphasis on the use of “pure classical Latin” (Latin as used by Romans) To the writer/thinker Petrarch, Rome was still the ideal—but the Roman empire had been impaired, debilitated, and almost consumed at the hands of barbarians and what followed was a “dark age” not even worth writing about. Collected and translated classical works and wrote numerous letters extolling “Classical” authors , even writing in their style. Like many other Humanists during the 14th Century, Petrarch remained devoted to Christianity. Petrarch was the forerunner of Christian Humanism best represented by Desiderius Erasmus. Christian Humanists combined an intense devotion to Christianity with a great love of Classical literature. Petrarch (and other Christian Humanists) had glorified intellectual activity/pursuit in a life of solitude and rejected a life of action in the community and family (far different from Civic Humanists). Francesco Petrarch ( ): “the Father of Italian Humanism” “Christ is my God; Cicero is the prince of language.” “What else then, is all history, if not the praise of Rome?” “Rome would rise again if she but began to know herself….This sleep of forgetfulness will not last forever. When the darkness has been dispersed, our descendants can come again in the former pure radiance.

11 Civic Humanism In the busy civic world of Florence, intellectuals began to take a new view of their role; a trend that intensified when the city’s liberty was threatened by the Milanese. Florentine intellectuals responded to this aggression with a passionate defense of their city-state’s independence (and they cited Cicero). Leonardo Bruni ( ) was a Civic Humanist, Florentine Patriot, and Chancellor. Bruni was devoted to both Classical literature as well as to a responsibility to his respective city-state. Not only did Bruni eulogize Petrarch, but his biography of Cicero, “New Cicero,” praised Cicero’s ability to fuse political action and literary achievement. Bruni was impressed by Cicero’s political action as well as his treatises/prose on liberty. Bruni celebrated Cicero’s ability to take on an active political life while still having time for reading and writing (in fact Cicero believed this to be his civic duty). From Bruni’s time on, Cicero served as the inspiration for the Renaissance ideal that one must live an active life for one’s state and everything, including riches, was considered good if it increased one’s power of action. Leonardo Bruni, a pupil of the Byzantine scholar, Chrysolaras , who taught in Florence between , was one of the first Humanists to gain an interest in Greek literature and he illustrated Humanism’s growing interest /preoccupion with the Greeks (philosophy, writing, etc.).

12 Civic Humanism intensified the involvement of Humanists in government and guaranteed that the rhetorical discipline they praised would be put to the service of the State—small wonder that the Humanists served the State as chancellors, councillors, and advisors. When the Medici’s strengthened their rule over Florence once again (and the republic was undermined), the interest in civic humanism wanted (i.e. what’s the use for people to participate in a city run by a despot or oligarchs)/

13 Humanists and their works
Francisco Petrarch In Praise of Antiquity The Labors of a Humanist A Debate on Cicero A Letter to Boccaccio: Literary Humanism Leonardo Bruni A Tribute to Petrarch Study of Greek Literature A Humanist Education On Learning and Literature Picco della Mirandola Oration on the Dignity of Man Marsilio Ficino The Soul of Man Giorgio Vasari Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects: Leon Battista Alberti The Development of Art Peter Paul Vergerio On the Liberal Arts Lorenzo Valla On the Forgery of the Donation of Constantine Niccolo Machiavelli The Prince Desiderius Erasmus The Education of a Christian Prince Praise of Folly

14 Vernacular Literature
Dante Alighieri (attributed to Giotto) Vernacular: the language spoke in one’s own region (e.g. Italian, French, or German). During the Renaissance, some writers began to use the vernacular to write their works. Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy is the story of the soul’s journey to salvation, which was a basic concern of people in the Middle Ages. This lengthy poem is divided into three major sections (Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise/Heaven). Dante is led on an imaginary journey through each of these realms of the afterworld until he reaches Paradise, where he beholds God, or “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales is a collection of stories told by a group of twenty-nine pilgrims journeying to the tomb of Saint Thomas à Becket at Canterbury, England. This format provided Chaucer with the opportunity to portray an entire range of English society (both high and low born), such as the Knight, the Monk, the Merchant, the Student, the Lawyer, the Carpenter, the Cook, the Doctor, and the Plowman, as well as the “Good Wife”. These pilgrims told an enormous variety of stories, some uplifting and others anectdotal. François Rabelais’ Pantagruel and Gargantua were comic tales detailing the lusty adventures of the giant Pantagruel and his father Gargantua. Rabelais went far beyond Dante’s concern with salvation, making clear his own love of life while exposing what he perceived as the follies of the society of his day. The Fictional king with a gigantic appetite: Gargantua

15 Studying works of art produced during a specific period in history can teach us a great deal about the values of the people who created the art. For example, much of the art of the Middle Ages reflects religious values. In general, medieval art developed themes of faith and religious spirituality, rather than of human individuality. Medieval paintings had stressed the world beyond everyday life. They used formal figures to express religious concerns. Artists had often portrayed the Holy Land. In contrast, Renaissance art combined such religious themes with the humanistic values of the era. As humanity became the center of life on earth, artists placed realistic human beings at the center of their works. Renaissance artists created realistic scenes and images. They depicted lifelike human figures in their paintings. Painters showed the rugged Italian countryside they knew so well.

16 Renaissance artists investigated movements as well as anatomical structures.
Overall, the 15th century in painting was a period of experimentation and technical mastery. Renaissance artists and intellectuals were fascinated with Antiquity. New emphasis on portraiture during the Renaissance. Patrons included within works/paintings. Portrait statues honoring prominent Florentine citizens. Artworks revealed wealth and power of their subjects. Marked by the exaltation of individuals. Religious themes remained important, yet, more focus was given to secular themes. Large wall spaces of Italian churches and buildings were allowed for frescoes. High Renaissance artists who were extremely talented were seen as artistic geniuses with divine-like creative energies. Artists were heroes. As a result, artists gained considerable profit for their artwork (they became members of the upper class). They socialized with intellectuals gaining new insights which were reflected in their works. Patrons played an important role in the art of the Early Renaissance since art guilds depended on commissions for their projects. Thus, they could determine both the content and purpose of the paintings.

17 Renaissance Art “The painter will produce pictures of small merit if he takes for his standard the pictures of others, but if he will study from natural objects he will bear good fruit…those who take for their standard any one but nature…weary themselves in vain.” Renaissance artists sought to imitate nature—they wanted onlookers to see the reality of the object/subject/event they were portraying. In addition, humans (viewed as the “center and measure of all things”) increasingly became the focus of attention.

18 Early Renaissance artists were viewed as artisans (skilled craftsmen), no matter what their talent.
Artists were perceived as creators like God. Believed divine inspiration had animated their souls and guided their hands. By their creator’s hands, dead material miraculously came to life. Renaissance Italian artists sought to master technical skills that allowed them to portray humans in realistic settings (required precise observations of people and nature).

19 Perspective: method of drawing and painting the illusion of depth (three dimensions) onto a flat (two dimensional) surface. Depth makes objects appear real and true. They appear to extend deeply into illusional space. Appears to be magic; creation of appearance of form, depth, and natural play of light. Perspective considered to be the foundation of all good paintings/drawings. Linear perspective: use of lines. Atmospheric perspective: use of color (i.e. light and shadows) Viewing (vantage) point: position from which we view the subject(s) in a painting. Appearance of objects differ when viewed from various positions. For this reason, the viewing point must be established and stuck with for the complete picture. Drawing in perspective: drawing a subject onto a flat surface as it appears to the eye. Proportion: correct distance and relationship between objects in a painting or drawing (correct size and shape of objects or subjects). All objects appear to be smaller the farther away they are from the viewing point. Any portions of the object that are farther away appear smaller than parts that are nearest to our viewing point. If a number of objects are the same space apart, the space between them appears to lessen as objects become smaller with distance. Horizon line: common line upon which all objects appear to be receding. The farther away an object appears, the closer to the horizon line it will be.

20 Linear Perspective

21 Masaccio Tribute Money
Masaccio used the frescoe technique—his works in Florence (beginning of the 15th century) have long been regarded as the first masterpieces of early Renaissance art. Masaccio himself was regarded as a genius. Unlike medieval subjects, Masaccio’s figures were not flat—they were three-dimensional (that is, they had depth and seem to come alive thank to his mastery of the laws of perspective which enabled him to create the illusion of depth). Beginning with Masaccio, a new, realistic style of painting emerged in terms of the relationship between the figures and their background.








29 “The Last Judgment

30 Statue of Moses



33 Donato di Donatello Statue of Saint George (1416)
This statue is 6’10” Donatello intended to portray his subject as confident, relaxed and ready for battle. This work radiates a simplicity and strength that is meant to express the dignity of human beings. Donatello spent much of his time in Rome, studying and copying the statues of the Greeks and Romans.

34 New St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome
Old St. Peter’s Basilica (aka Basilica of Constantine)

35 Filippo Brunelleschi’s interior
Church of San Lorenzo Brunelleschi was a friend of Donatello who went with him to Rome. Brunelleschi drew much inspiration from the buildings of classical Rome and he poured his new insights into the creation of new architecture when he returned to Florence. The Medici family commissioned him to design the church of San Lorenzo. Filippo Brunelleschi’s interior

36 Tempietto Tempietto di San Pietro in Montorio, Rome, 1502, by Bramante. This small temple marks the place where St. Peter was put to death.


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