Italy's Renaissance 02: Humanism cover

Italy's Renaissance 02: Humanism

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Humanism, also known as Renaissance humanism, was an activity of reform engaged in by scholars, writers and civic leaders in 14th and early 15th century Italy, which later spread to the rest of Europe becoming known as the Renaissance.
Humanists sought to create a citizenry (frequently including women) able to speak and write with eloquence and thus able to engage the civic life of their communities. This was to be accomplished through the study of the "studia humanitatis" or the "humanities": grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry and moral philosophy.





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Italy's Renaissance 02: Humanism

Humanism

Learning Objectives

Assess how Humanism gave rise to the art of the Renasissance

Key Points

1.) Humanists reacted against the utilitarian approach to education seeking to create a citizenry (frequently including women) able to speak and write with eloquence and thus able to engage the civic life of their communities.

2.) The movement was largely founded on the ideals of Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca, which were often centered around humanity's potential for achievement.

3.) While humanism initially began as a predominantly literary movement, its influence quickly pervaded the general culture of the time, reintroducing classical Greek and Roman art forms, leading directly to the Renaissance.

Vitruvian Man

Vitruvian Man

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

Key Points (Cont.)

4.) Donatello became renowned as the greatest sculptor of the Early Renaissance, known especially for his humanist and unusually erotic statue of David.

5.) While medieval society viewed artists as servants and craftspeople, Renaissance artists were trained intellectuals, and their art reflected this newfound perspective.

6.) In humanist painting, the treatment of the elements of perspective and depiction of light became of particular concern

Terms

Term High Renaissance The period in art history denoting the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance. The High Renaissance period is traditionally taken to have begun in the 1490s, with Leonardo's fresco of The Last Supper in Milan and the death of Lorenzo de' Medici in Florence, and to have ended in 1527, with the sacking of Rome by the troops of Charles V.

Humanism

Humanism, also known as Renaissance humanism, was an activity of reform engaged in by scholars, writers and civic leaders in 14th and early 15th century Italy, which later spread to the rest of Europe becoming known as the Renaissance. Renaissance humanism can be regarded as the early or proto Renaissance.

The movement developed in response to the scholastic conventions in education at the time, which emphasized practical, pre-professional and scientific studies engaged in solely for job preparation, and typically by men alone.

Eloquence

Humanists reacted against this utilitarian approach seeking to create a citizenry (frequently including women) able to speak and write with eloquence and thus able to engage the civic life of their communities.

This was to be accomplished through the study of the "studia humanitatis" or the "humanities": grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry and moral philosophy. Humanism introduced a program to revive the cultural – and particularly the literary – legacy and moral philosophy of classical antiquity. The movement was largely founded on the ideals of Italian scholar and poet Francesco Petrarca, which were often centered around humanity's potential for achievement.

Francesco Petrarch

Artist: Justus van Gent (1430-1480)

Francesco Petrarch

Francesco Petrarch, often called the "Father of Humanism"

Greek and Roman Influence

While humanism initially began as a predominantly literary movement, its influence quickly pervaded the general culture of the time, reintroducing classical Greek and Roman art forms, all leading to the Renaissance.

Humanists considered the ancient world to be the pinnacle of human achievement and thought its accomplishments should serve as the model for contemporary Europe.

Early Renaissance art in Italy was generally focused on sculpture with the leading artists being Donatello, Brunelleschi and Ghiberti. Donatello became renowned as the greatest sculptor of the Early Renaissance, known especially for his humanist and unusually erotic statue of David, which became one of the icons of the Florentine republic .

Donatello's David

Original file by Patrick A. Rodgers, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Donatello's David

Donatello's "David" is regarded as an iconic humanist work of art

A Different Point of View

Humansim affected the artistic community and how artists were perceived. While medieval society viewed artists as servants and craftspeople,

Renaissance artists were trained intellectuals, and their art reflected this newfound perspective.

Patronage of the arts became an important activity and commissions were no longer relegated to religious themes, as art was now primarily secular in nature. Important patrons such as Cosimo de Medici emerged and contributed largely to the creation of new works.

Perspective and Light

In painting, the treatment of the elements of perspective and light became of particular concern.

The studies of Paolo Uccello, such as "Battle of San Romano" demonstrates his particular solutions to the problems of portraying light and linear perspective.

The use of oil paint had its beginnings in the early part of the 16th century and its use continued to be explored extensively throughout the coming High Renaissance of the 16th century.

Photo courtesy VivaItalia1974, (CC BY-SA 3.0)

"Battle of San Romano" by Paolo Uccello

Italian humanist paintings were largely concerned with the depiction of perspective and light.

Question 1

Which of the following was NOT a goal of Humanism?

A) to revive the cultural legacy and moral philosophy of classical antiquity

B) to support practical, pre-professional and scientific studies for job preparation

C) to realize humanity’s potential for achievement

D) to create a citizenry able to speak and write with eloquence

Question 2

Humanists of the early Renaissance were most closely associated with which endeavor?

A) Studying the Old Testament

B) Interpreting the Gospels

C) Translating the New Testament from Hebrew to Latin

D) Studying Greek and Roman texts

Answers

Question 1: B) To support practical, pre-professional and scientific studies for job preparation

Question 2: D) Studying Greek and Roman texts

Boundless, (CC BY-SA 4.0), Pictures added