Renaissance Art: A Brief Insight
Geraldine A. Johnson
Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub
Happily filling a request!
2010 Illustrated Edition of 2005 Book
Botticelli, Holbein, da Vinci, Dürer, Michelangelo: these Renaissance masters are still revered today. But who were these artists, why did they produce such memorable works, and how were they viewed in their own time? Using vivid and engaging examples, Geraldine A. Johnson focuses on both canonical and lesser-known artists from the Northern and Southern Renaissance. Additionally, she provides a fascinating overview of the period and its culture, while highlighting the variety of approaches that can help us understand these magnificent artistic creations.
Sticking to the secular sphere, the most common artistic commissions for women involved the tombs of their deceased husbands. Renaissance widows were exhorted to follow the Classical model of Artemisia, a widowed queen whose fabulous tomb for her husband, King Mausolus, became one of the seven wonders of the ancient world and has given us the word “mausoleum.” Like Artemisia, 15th- and 16th-century widows were also usually concerned first, foremost, and often solely, with commissioning an
inscription, Florence’s rulers had transformed a Medicean idol into a republican ideal. Donatello (Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi), Judith Decapitating Holofernes, bronze, mid-15th century. But the government’s decision to appropriate the Judith for its own political purposes soon ran into an important obstacle, namely, the gender of its newly adopted heroine. Less than a decade after the bronze had been installed on the ringhiera, the Judith was literally and metaphorically removed from
the symbolic center of Florentine civic life and replaced by Michelangelo’s colossal marble David (opposite). In January 1504, a gathering of citizens debated at length about where to place the recently completed David, which was originally made to be set high above ground level on one of the Cathedral’s buttresses. The first speaker at this meeting was an official representative of the new government, the palace herald, a certain Messer Francesco. Presumably reflecting the attitudes of at least
not have seemed out of place to the work’s original beholders. These were desperately sick pilgrims who had travelled to Isenheim (in the Alsace region, located around the present-day Franco-German border) to seek a miraculous cure for an excruciatingly painful and deforming fungal disease known as “St. Anthony’s Fire,” which made victims’ limbs turn black and green with gangrene before eventually falling off. For such beholders, seeing the dead Christ portrayed in horrifying detail would have
iconoclasm, which occurred from the third decade of the 16th century onward in different parts of Northern Europe, according to local religious but also political circumstances, not only resulted in the wholesale destruction of literally centuries of religious art of all types, including innumerable altarpieces, but also severely reduced the working opportunities for artists who had previously relied so extensively on lavish altarpiece commissions for their livelihoods. In the Protestant North