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> Chapter 13 > Improve Your Grade > Art Essay Activities
Improve Your Grade

Work with these documents and activities to master chapter learning objectives.

Art Essay Activities


The Renaissance

This activity corresponds to the “The Renaissance” essay in your textbook. The following questions are designed to help you better understand the departure from medieval art by Renaissance artists. Once you have answered the questions in the Comprehension section, submit your answers and move on to the questions in the Analysis and Outside Sources sections. After you have answered all of the questions, you will have the option of emailing your responses to your instructor.

Introduction

Renaissance art represents a crucial departure from medieval norms in two ways. First, Renaissance painters, sculptors, and architects developed styles that stressed proportion, balance, and harmony. These artistic values were built on innovations in technique that reflected a new interest in mathematics and its relationship to nature. Second, Renaissance artists drew on the values of Renaissance humanism: sympathy with classical ideals, belief in the dignity of the individual, and belief in the possibility of mastering nature. These two features of Renaissance art have led many to describe the Renaissance as the birth of modernity. Many viewers of medieval and Renaissance art feel the truth of this assertion in their own responses. Where medieval art looks strange, distorted, unrelated to our world, we feel a connection to Renaissance art, a sense of something familiar and expected. These feelings mask the enormous differences between the world of the Renaissance and our own, but nonetheless are rooted in a real shift in the culture of the West.

Comprehension

  1. Why is Giotto seen as one of the first Renaissance artists? How did his work differ from that of his predecessors?
  1. How does the work of Brunelleschi embody the principals of Renaissance architecture?
  1. How did Leonardo da Vinci’s work embody the Renaissance spirit?

Analysis

  1. What are the important differences between the approach to religion and spirituality in medieval and Renaissance art? What does this tell us about the religious values of the Renaissance?
  1. How did the values of patrons shape Renaissance art? What role did art play in city life in northern Italy?
  1. How did Renaissance art change as the Renaissance migrated north? What new values and approaches were incorporated by northern artists?

Outside Sources

  1. Read an article about and explore images of Brunelleschi’s masterpiece, the Florence Cathedral (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cathedral_of_Florence). How did Brunelleschi depart from Gothic models? What does the cathedral tell us about the relationship between Renaissance architecture and city life?
  1. Take a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican Museum’s web site (http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/x-Pano/CSN/Visit_CSN_Main.html). How did classical ideals shape Michelangelo’s depiction of the events of Genesis?
  1. Examine a series of paintings by Pieter Bruegel, the elder (http://sunsite.icm.edu.pl/cjackson//bruegel1/index.html). What importance should we attach to Bruegel’s focus on peasant life? What relationship is suggested between high and low culture in his work?


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