Renaissance means rebirth which started around 1350 and ended around 1600. After the Black Plague had wiped out half of the population in Europe, people were seeking a creative outlet to express their loss through art. People experienced the rebirth of many different art forms; painting, sculptures, music, and poetry. All art in western Europe from the renaissance was inspired in some sort of way by religion. Roman Catholic churches were filled with religious art, whether it was statues, paintings, or architecture. Not only visual art was made, but also music. With the upcoming rise of Humanism, the belief that the Church rule over religious matter instead of civilization matter, people were finding their own beliefs. Martin Luther, who was Protestant, started the Protestant Reform.
The Protestant Reform started in 16th century. It was started by Martin Luther and was continued by other Protestant reformers. Martin Luther questioned the Catholic Church’s ability to teach the Bible, then the Church started the Counter-Reformation. People agreed with him was because nobles wanted to limit the churches power. Which lead to a split in Christianity between the Roman Catholics and the Protestants The new art in both Churches was a response to the Protestant Reform. Protestant churches avoided art that had elaborate images of Jesus or the Virgin Mary, big set-piece scenes from the Bible, images of the Saints, in particular, and depictions of the Popes. Protestant art focused on modest depictions of biblical scenes and noble depictions of modern, everyday life which it the opposite of the Roman Catholic Church.
Some people who were Catholic or Protestant also believed in Humanism, the belief that the Church rule over religious matter instead of civilization matter. Humanism meant that anyone could change their own character and influence their own future by the way they lived their life. People were focused on human values and concerns, giving humans the prime importance rather than supernatural or divine powers. With humanism came more people studying medicine, science, botany, and various other subjects. When the influence on humanism grew, patrons wanted art that was inspired by classic Greek and Roman mythology. Before the discovery of humanism, art was a way to glorify God. An example of humanism in art is The statue of David by Michelangelo. The statue shows the human form alone, without other people or objects. Humanist art focused on the accuracy of the human figure and how to make every detail perfect. In the Last Supper by Leonardo Da Vinci, there is a lot of symmetry, which is important in humanism because everything is balanced. Another characteristic in humanism art is emotions. Again in the Last Supper, everybody in the painting is not smiling, all real emotions.
The Renaissance was a time that had great changes to Europe. Humanism was the most revolutionary concept the Renaissance had. Unlike the Medieval era where all of the art made had to do with religion, the Renaissance slowly moved away from all art having to do with religion. Humanism was the key element that helped to shape the intellectual and artistic development of the period.
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