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.
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.
- Why is
Giotto seen as one of the first Renaissance artists? How did his work
differ from that of his predecessors?
does the work of Brunelleschi embody the principals of Renaissance
did Leonardo da Vinci’s work embody the Renaissance spirit?
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?
did the values of patrons shape Renaissance art? What role did art play in
city life in northern Italy?
did Renaissance art change as the Renaissance migrated north? What new
values and approaches were incorporated by northern artists?
- 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
- 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
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?