A short paper of 1200-1500 words. Students are to choose ONE of the following two topics on which to write a short paper. Option 1: Compare the characteristics of the Early Renaissance in Florence wi

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A short paper of 1200-1500 words.  Students are to choose ONE of the following two topics on which to write a short paper.

  • Option 1: Compare the characteristics of the Early Renaissance in Florence with that of sixteenth century Italy.  In writing their essay, students are to include three (3) pairs of material objects as evidence.  Students are also to employ proper vocabulary.
  • Option 2: Describe the changes in fine arts that occurred in the Renaissance by discussing the changing attitudes towards artistic education, the role of patrons, and the impact of Humanism.  You must include six material objects as evidence.

Your paper should have at least five (5) academic reference courses.  This should not include your textbook, Wikipedia, Brittania, Encarta, or any other on line dictionaries or other very short non-academic Internet entries.  You have access to on line academic journals through the University of Manitoba library system.  This is the best place for you to begin your search on your chosen topic. JSTOR is one online example through the UofM library system that has a lot of resources that may be helpful as you research. Your paper should be submitted through UMLearn in the corresponding Assignment Folder.

Formatting Guidelines:

  1. You must use a standard letter size page in portrait view (21.59cm x 27.94cm / 8” x 11”).
  2. You must use either 1.5 or double spacing.
  3. You must use Times New Roman font, size 12.
  4. You must use 3cm margins on all edges.
  5. You may indicate a paragraph change by either a line space or by indenting, BUT you must be consistent.
  6. Your paper is to be free of spelling and grammatical errors. You may use either English or American spelling, again you must be consistent.
  7. Cite dates as follows:  1832-1836; 15 July 1836; the fifteenth-century; c. 1500; fifteenth-century houses.
  8. Place quotations within double inverted commas; quotations within quotations in single inverted commas.  Quotations more than 6 lines long should start on the next line and use a single-spaced block quote format.
  9. Italicize the titles of books, journals, works of art, buildings, and theses. Do not underline them.
  10. You are to use the Chicago Style for referencing the sources of your information
  11. Your paper is to be submitted in either .doc, .docx, or PDF format only.

A short paper of 1200-1500 words. Students are to choose ONE of the following two topics on which to write a short paper. Option 1: Compare the characteristics of the Early Renaissance in Florence wi
Reading (Study Notes) Several occurrences sparked the beginning of the Renaissance.  They were the decline of the feudal system; the movement of workers from the country to the city; the plague and the subsequent growth in the birth rate a hundred years later; and the advent of interest in classical culture —including languages, literature, and the humanistic movement. During the early Renaissance period, artists began to use various scientific devices and mathematical formulas to create an illusion of space in painting and in architecture. In sculpture, artists turned once more to the use of bronze and the study of the nude form. Two different commissions, the doors of the Baptistery of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, illustrate the change in art direction. Artists were no longer satisfied to be manual labourers or skilled workers under the old guild system. They wanted to raise their social status, and they accomplished this goal through the establishment of art guilds. The church remained an important patron of art during this period. Students of art history should become familiar with Christian subject matter to understand the many works of art created during the Renaissance. Even though in the fourth century CE, Pope Gregory recommended that Christian art serves as a Bible for the illiterate, in art, symbols can be highly complex. It is the job of the art historian to decode the images and study how they evolved, to fully understand the meaning of the artwork. Renaissance painters employed mathematical principles and ratios to create a three-dimensional space out of a two-dimensional surface. They perfected this use of perspective, modelling, and shading combining imagery from the classical culture with Christian ideology.  During the High Renaissance, Giorgio Vasari wrote the first art history. It was also during this period that fine art permeated the consciousness of artists and patrons alike. Fine art became fully equated with the liberal arts. This shift had a devastating impact on the other materials and methods that were commonly used before the Renaissance such as stained glass, ceramics, and textiles: materials and techniques that, to this day, are almost exclusively relegated to the category of craft. Furthermore, art academies where young men were trained in life drawing flourished. This artistic endeavour deemed it inappropriate for young women to study the male nude and served to separate more completely the art of women from that of men. The entire period can be bracketed by two events: the Reformation and the Counter-Reformation. The beginnings of the Protestant religion and the response by the Catholic Church in the form of the Council of Trent and the Inquisition had a significant impact on cultural production. Renaissance means renewal or rebirth. This unit and the next focus on the intellectual, economic, and artistic changes that took place in Western Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries. These changes came about through various factors that included: A decline in the feudal system of the Middle Ages. The growth of an economically stable and increasingly wealthy middle class. The plague and the subsequent economic decline. Population growth in the middle of the fifteenth century. The invention of the printing press. The growth of Humanism. 

  You will notice in these notes and your text that each of these factors occurred simultaneously in one specific city, Florence, Italy, the home of the European Renaissance. The Middle Ages was a time when the nobles, who lived in the country, provided the king with protection. In exchange, they received vast tracts of land worked by peasants who, in turn, were able to own their own small parcels. Life was tough. In the cities, there was a small but growing middle class. These individuals had several opportunities that were not available to their rural counterparts. Most notable were individual freedoms that allowed them to pursue training to raise their skill levels. It was this ability to serve as an apprentice, to have a more comfortable life that propelled many to move into the city from the country to embark on what they hoped would be a better life. 

  One of the most devastating events to occur during the fourteenth century, and continuing until the middle of the fifteenth century, was the bubonic plague or the Black Death. The sickness spread to the cities killing half of Europe’s population. The epidemic had a profound impact on the economy. The death of so many people led to a shortage of consumers. As a result, the merchants and tradespeople had few people to buy their products and began to lose income. The result was an economic depression. This decline spread to all classes of society including banking and shipping. As the plague decreased during the middle of the fifteenth century, the population began to grow once again. This created a new demand for goods and services that brought Europe out of economic decline. 

  Gutenberg invented the printing press in 1445. This made the hand copying of books obsolete. Books could be produced quickly, with little effort, and at a relatively low cost. More people, then, could read and enjoy literature. Before this, books were so expensive during the Middle Ages that only the very wealthy and the clergy could afford to own them. Also, most books were written in Latin. The invention of the press, the rise of the middle class, and the establishment of universities meant that educated individuals were no longer content to read books in Latin and called for books in their native language. The demand for travel books, romances, and poetry increased dramatically during this period. The result of all of this was an increasingly literate population with an awareness of classical literature. These learned individuals, called humanists, read Greek and Latin, as opposed to the Bible, and sought manuscripts from all regions of the ancient world. Their insatiable desire to learn led to a rediscovery of ancient treatises on science, government, philosophy, and art. As a result, the humanists placed an emphasis not on God and the heavenly realm, but on humankind, the intellectual realm, and the earthly life. In terms of art, writings by the ancient Greeks showed how they had used mathematics to provide the structural formulations for their art. It was here that the modern knowledge of mathematical ratios that form the relationship to architecture was rediscovered.  

  A ratio is a relationship between two quantities. For example, a building that is 50 meters wide and 25 metres tall; the ratio between its width and its height is 2:1 (100:50 = 2:1). One of the most exciting proportions used by Renaissance artists, the golden mean, had also been used by the ancient Greeks in art and architecture. The golden mean, often found in nature in the shape of a leaf or the spiral of a shell, is believed to add harmonious composition to buildings and other structures. It was not only the Greeks who inspired new advancements in architecture but also the Roman architect Vitruvius, who advocated the use of proportion and symmetry in architecture. He stated that the human body represented the beauty of balance in nature; this gave rise to the idea of humankind being the measure of all things. Also, of course, were the many classical ruins scattered all over Italy. Renaissance artists took advantage of this by travelling, drawing, and studying all of the structures available to them. 

  Florence was one of the most exciting places to live in the fifteenth century. It had a booming economy, and the 60,000 plus residents of the independent, self-governing city-state included numerous writers, painters, architects, and wealthy merchants. Twelve guilds regulated the commercial success of the city. These guilds provided training in various aspects, including painting and sculpture as well as the wool and textile industry. Members of the guild were very wealthy and held prestigious positions within Florence’s government. Underlining this was the commitment by all members of the society to build a strong economic and political base for Florence to thrive. Another element to the growth of Renaissance ideals was Humanism. Humanism was inspired by the study of Greek and Latin Classics and became highly fashionable during the fifteenth century. Accompanying this quest for ancient knowledge was the idea of the individual, distinguished by their talents and full of great curiosity. This curiosity fuelled the age of exploration and new scientific developments. Liberal arts knowledge led artists to demand that specific practices, such as painting, sculpture, and architecture be labelled as intellectual pursuits due to their close affinity with scientific methods and intellect as opposed to pure physical labour. This attitude led to the founding of the art academy, which stressed the study of the human form, philosophy, and science as requirements for being an artist. The establishment of art academies eventually led to debates over what is a fine art and what is fine craft. The academy also excluded women from the study of the human form necessary for religious and mythological paintings. Indeed, it was not until the nineteenth century that women were allowed to study art formally. Two new commissions that changed the direction of art Two central commissions for Florence at the beginning of the fifteenth century spurred the artistic style we call the Renaissance. The first was a competition for the Baptistery doors of Santa Maria del Fiore or the Florence Cathedral and the second was the commission for the completion of the dome of the twelfth-century cathedral, Santa Maria del Fiore. Artistic competitions usually had several steps before the successful applicant was chosen. First, the group or the individual seeking the creation of a specific material object announced the contest. They designated how the artist should respond to the competition stating the size, the project completion date, and the compensation that would be paid to the artist. There were often other criteria as well. The competition for the east doors of the Baptistery of Santa Maria del Fiore asked those applying to design a door panel on the theme of Abraham and Isaac. Several artists entered the competition: Donatello, Brunelleschi, and Ghiberti, among others. Examine the groups illustrated in your text. A careful study of the panel by Brunelleschi and that of Ghiberti will indicate the change from the medieval view of the human form and spatial considerations to that of the early Renaissance. There are several aspects of Ghiberti’s winning model that illustrate this. First, compare how Brunelleschi and Ghiberti each represent the angel coming down to take the knife out of Abraham’s hand. Second, notice the figure of Isaac, the arrangement of the landscape, and the ram. Notice that in the model by Ghiberti foreshortening was used to create depth. There was also an attempt at using perspective to turn a two-dimensional surface into an illusion of a three-dimensional space. Finally, the figure of Isaac is very telling. In the work of Ghiberti, the figure could have been created in classical Greece. Compare the two statues carefully. The second commission was for the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, otherwise known as the Florence Cathedral. The cathedral was constructed in the twelfth century, but the designers and engineers failed in their attempt to build a dome over the transept of the structure. Having lost the competition for the doors of the Baptistery, Brunelleschi set about designing a structure that would support its own weight. During a series of meetings, he was able to convince the church fathers that it was possible, to create the dome. There were, of course, other obstacles to overcome in placing a dome on a pre-existing building, not least of all was the scaffolding to support the workers and carry materials to the top. For this Brunelleschi created an internal stairway system in the double-walled structure. A pilgrimage to Rome to study the ancient buildings and ruins, especially the Coliseum and Pantheon, was essential to an architect’s training. Classical orders and architectural elements, such as columns, pilasters, pediments, entablatures, arches, and domes form the vocabulary of Renaissance buildings; like ancient structures, Renaissance buildings are characterised by a harmony of form, mathematical proportion, and a unit of measurement based on the human scale. Filippo Brunelleschi is widely considered to be the first Renaissance architect. Among his most significant accomplishments is the engineering of the dome of Santa Maria del Fiore, San Spirito, and the Foundling Hospital. Brunelleschi was the first architect since antiquity to use the classical orders Doric, Ionic, and Corinthian consistently and appropriately. The Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore was not an original design by Brunelleschi, but he was commissioned to complete a building that was started two centuries earlier. It is not until we examine San Spirito or the Foundling Hospital that we see the full impact of ancient theories on Renaissance architecture. It was in these two buildings, and many more designed by Brunelleschi, that the application of measurements to create harmony, symmetry, and balance was achieved. Although his buildings may appear simple, they are anything but simple. An excellent example of the use of a repeating unit measurement to create a sense of harmony is the Ospedale Degli Innocenti, otherwise known as the Foundling Hospital, commissioned by the Medici family. This building is based on a modular cube, which determines the height of and distance between the columns, and the depth of each bay. The whole was intended to give a sense of calm. In San Spirito, the arrangement of the interior elements was designed to immediately draw the viewer’s eye directly to the altar where there would be a crucifix. Your eyes are not intended to wander about as they would in a Gothic Cathedral; instead, the artist positions you to see what he wants you to see. This was one of the main aspects of the Renaissance, and it is directly through the use of spatial organisation and linear perspective that this was achieved. Notice the triangle constructed. Pretend you are standing at the entrance to San Spirito. On either side of you, there is a dot. Draw imaginary lines in your mind from this position near to you to the altar. This is like driving down the highway where the lines intersect at the vanishing point on the horizon. Notice also how the coffers of the ceiling and the columns grow smaller in an orderly way as they recede into the distance. Innovations in painting Renaissance painters wanted to create the illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface. To do this they used various techniques to create depth: the use of overlapping shapes, the use of light and shadow, and perspective including aerial (or atmospheric) and linear perspective.   Aerial (or atmospheric) perspective creates a sense of depth by making objects in the distance appear paler than the ones in the foreground. Linear perspective is a mathematical ordering of space to create a deep geometric space that directs the viewer’s eye to a focal point. This point on the horizon is called the vanishing point. By layering one shape over another, the artist also creates a sense of depth as does use light and shadow to create volume. Artists such as Masaccio began to experiment with these techniques early in the fifteenth century. One of the best examples is The Tribute Money. In this unique work you can see several Renaissance devices. First, notice how the colours are brighter in the front than they are in the back. This creates a dynamic sense of depth and is called atmospheric perspective. Look at how individual elements overlap one another. This also helps to create a three-dimensional image. Examine how the river on the left and the architectural features on the right have lines that converge at one point. This is the focal point, the most critical part of the painting. 

  The primary inspirations for Renaissance sculpture came from the ancients. It was in the texts and the examples within Italy that the Renaissance sculptors were inspired. They turned to bronze (an alloy of copper and tin) and used the lost-wax method to cast their panels and three-dimensional figures. Bronze is a very durable material and was used by the Greeks for sculpture. Having acquired new knowledge of techniques and objects created by the ancients, Renaissance sculptors returned to bronze as a material for the casting of the statue. Many European cities had bronze foundries that had previously cast artillery and useful objects. In Florence, the first Renaissance works of sculpture to be cast were the bronze doors by Ghiberti on the Baptistery and several works of Donatello. Donatello was radical in his departure from the statue of the medieval period. He returned directly to the actions of the ancients in creating the first nude male figure in his David of 1440. He also created the first bronze equestrian monument since the Roman Empire in his Gattamelata, a copy of the Marcus Aurelius on Capitoline Hill in Rome. Many of the paintings of the Renaissance have as their subject the Life and the Passions of Christ.  As a reminder, the most important events of the Life of Christ include the following seven events: The Annunciation: The Angel Gabriel tells Mary she will give birth. Celebrated on March 25. The Visitation: Elizabeth, pregnant with John the Baptist, visits her cousin, Mary. The Nativity: Events surrounding the birth of Jesus in the stable in Bethlehem The Adoration: Shepherds and Wise Men arrive to worship the baby Jesus. The Presentation: the Prophet Simeon recognises Jesus. The Massacre of the Innocents: King Herod has all the baby boys in Bethlehem killed to try to eliminate the Messiah. The Flight into Egypt: Joseph, Mary, and the Baby Jesus escape into Egypt. The other category is the Passions of Christ. Christians believe that Christ suffered and died on the cross to save them from their own sins. Their belief that he rose from the dead after three days of being entombed demonstrates Christ’s spiritual power and the promise of life everlasting.   Eleven critical events in the Passion of Christ are: The Entry into Jerusalem: Christ enters the city on a donkey. This day is celebrated as Palm Sunday. The Last Supper: Christ establishes the Eucharist, the idea that the bread represents his body and the wine his blood in the last meal with his disciples. The Betrayal of Christ: Judas kisses Christ to identify him for the soldiers. Christ Before Pilate: The Roman governor presides over Christ’s trial. The Flagellation: Christ is whipped and mocked. The Road to Calvary: Christ carries the Cross on which he is to be put to death. The Crucifixion: Christ dies on Mt. Golgotha between two thieves. The Pieta: Mary holds the dead body of Christ and mourns his death. The Entombment: Christ is placed in his tomb. The Resurrection: Christ rises from the dead. The Ascension: Christ ascends into Heaven One of the most popular and well-known images to come out of the High Renaissance period is Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper. The subject of this work is the customary Jewish Feast of Passover held by Jesus with his disciples in Jerusalem in the week preceding his crucifixion. On this occasion he established an essential Christian ritual, the sacrament called the Lord’s Supper by some churches, and Holy Communion or the Holy Eucharist by others. The congregation takes bread and wine, like that of the Last Supper, as a memorial of Christ’s death. Catholics believe that the bread—in the form of a wafer, called a host, and wine reserved for the priests’ changes into the body and blood of Christ. This is called transubstantiation. Other religious groups, such as the Protestants, believe this to be only symbolic, that the bread and wine do not change their form. The Last Supper is illustrated in your text. The method that da Vinci has applied fully is a one-point perspective. He forces us, the viewer, to look at what he wants us to. The lines are leading to the horizon stop right at Christ’s face. In terms of the materials da Vinci used, he was very experimental, mixing the old materials, tempera, with the new oil paints, trying to produce vivid colouration on the walls of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan. It was an utter failure, and almost as soon as Leonardo was finished the images were peeling off the wall of the church. Now consider the group of the figures, arranged at the horizontal table where Christ established the Eucharist. Da Vinci has arranged them in four groups of three mirroring the stable pyramid shape of the figure of Christ. Christ is still, yet there is movement; each struggles to determine who, as Christ has just pronounced, will betray him. Alongside the walls appear four dark rectangles. Notice the three windows behind Christ opening out onto the landscape. Three plus four equals seven, the number of the days of the week. Three times four is the number of disciples, but it is also the number of months in a year. Notice the lunette over the central window in the background; it forms a halo over Christ’s head. These are all aspects of the use of geometry to create space and the arrangement of figures to provide direction and symbolic elements.  

  Now let us look at a work of sculpture, Michelangelo’s Pieta. Remember that the Pieta is the image of Mary holding the body of her dead son, Jesus, on her lap, as she mourns. Now, look carefully at the figure Michelangelo created. Michelangelo has used the most beautiful white Carrera marble for this figure commissioned for the Vatican. The sculptor used the flow of the drapery and the position of the dead Christ in Mary’s arms to create a union between the two figures. Notice the bottom drapery of Mary’s mantle and the curve drawing your eye to the head of Christ and then to the face of Mary. Michelangelo has also done something else: The two figures appear to be the same age. In fact, Mary appears younger, underlying the belief that she reigns in heaven and retains her youth just as her son. There is also one other element to this work that deserves attention. On the ribbon crossing Mary’s breast, Michelangelo carved his name. In this stroke, he acknowledges not only his position in history but also his future place in the history of art. Michelangelo acknowledges not the collective work that masons formerly did but the new role of sculptors as part of the liberal arts. He aggrandises himself. 

  Besides the church, the primary patrons of art continued to be the Medici family, wealthy bankers and influential leaders in the Signoria of Florence. They commissioned many works on the theme of David, the young hero of the Old Testament who defeated the Philistine giant, Goliath. David was a symbol of liberty victorious over tyranny. He was also an emblem of good governance. These were the very ideas that the Medici family held about themselves as leaders of the governing body in Florence and an image they wished to project to the populace. Consider the marble figure of David by Michelangelo. David was related to pictures associated with Hercules and Fortitude and with the city of Florence since the thirteenth century. Michelangelo’s David was, thus, a continuation of a long line of David images that represented the republic. In 1501 the Cathedral commissioned a very young Michelangelo to finish an earlier work started by Agostino di Duccio. The sculpture had been abandoned in 1463 and was nothing more than a massive block of Carrara marble. The work was almost finished in 1504 when a meeting took place between the Cathedral fathers and the citizens and artists. The meeting was called to decide where to place the statue when it was finished. It was agreed that it was not appropriate to install it on the Cathedral as initially planned, and it was decided to place it near to the Palazzo Signoria as a secular symbol of Florence. The positioning of the figure initially faced south. Ironically, this position of the young hero holding his stone ready to confront the enemy had him positioned to do just that: confront the Medici. In 1494, Piero de Medici was exiled, and a republic was affirmed. The Medici only regained their power in 1512 with Cosimo being Duke of Tuscany from 1537. Today, a copy of David is outside with the original in the Accademia Gallery in Florence where it is admired by tourists and seen as a symbol of classical manliness. Venice was built on piles sunk into the marshes of the Adriatic Sea. The city has hundreds of canals that function as a means of transportation; they serve as roads or highways. During the time of the Renaissance, Venice had a population of approximately 150,000. Like Florence, Venice was a Republic. It had a prosperous economy that was firmly rooted in trade in the Adriatic, in other parts of Italy, and in the east. Remember, Marco Polo had established trade links with China in the thirteenth century. Venetians were so prosperous that they could support artists and architects, and as a result, a magnificent city full of luxurious townhouses with the most beautiful sculptures, carpets, glassware, pottery, and pictures was founded. One of the most significant developments in Venice was the use of oil paints made famous by artists such as Titian. Titian was not only renowned for his use of oil paint but also for his portraits of the leading figures of the day and his religious imagery. In some instances, he combined all. The Pesaro Madonna is one example. Here, under classical arches and in front of ancient columns, we find the Madonna and child at the top of the stairs. Seated in front of her are the patron of the painting and the owner of the chapel where it was placed, Jacopo Pesaro. His coat of arms appears in the picture, and the arrangement shows his loyalty and commemorates his appointment as head of the papal fleet. The painting thus acknowledges the Madonna as Queen of Heaven, mother of Christ, and the Pesaro family as protector of the faith and sincere devotees of the church. In another image, the Venus of Urbino, Titian breaks with the tradition of the female nude. Compare this work with a similar picture by Giorgione, Titian’s mentor, The Sleeping Venus. Here we see the nude figure and beauty of the female form set in the landscape, her eyes closed as if she is sleeping as indicated by the title. She does not engage the viewer. She is not aware that we are looking at her. On the other hand, Titian’s goddess of love, identified by the title and the myrtle plants on the window, is not ashamed. She engages us directly. This is the first female nude figure to do so. Mannerism is an artistic style that followed the High Renaissance. It was characterised by a focus on the human figure. Typically, the figures were elongated, wearing luxurious materials, exaggerated in their poses and proportions, painted in acidic colours. Indeed, the Mannerist painters and sculptors overthrew almost everything that the High Renaissance achieved in terms of balance and stability. 

  Examine The Deposition by Jacopo da Pontormo shown in your text. The first thing that you might notice is, indeed, the colouring. Christ is a putrid green as if his body has been decomposing for days. The silky gowns of the women are hot pink, while the legs of some of the male figures are also lime green set against a tangerine orange. The whole scene is crowded and full of chaos. Now turn back and examine Raphael’s picture, The Madonna of the Goldfinch painted in 1506. Notice here the stable pyramid of the Renaissance, the naturalistic colours, and the figures set in nature. There is a feeling of calm. Not so in the image created by Pontormo. Many academics believe that these images project the instability of the Catholic Church at the time they were created. 

  The impact of the Reformation and Counter-Reformation on art.  On 31 October 1517, Martin Luther, a German Augustinian monk, nailed ninety-five theses to the church door in Wittenberg, Germany. What started out as a protest against church corruption turned into a revival of the entire Christian faith, leading to the establishment of various sects of Protestantism and a rift between northern and southern Europe. The south kept firm in its Catholic values while the north became firmly embedded in the new Protestant faith. In the North, art emerged as a tool for mocking the abusive corrupt practices of the Catholic Church while simultaneously giving credence to the unique views of the Protestants. John Calvin, for example, encouraged iconoclastic movements that denounced Catholic imagery as idolatrous, calling for its destruction. The churches of the north were whitewashed, and the stained glass windows were removed in favour of plain glass. All works of sculpture were destroyed. Protestants, however, did not condemn all religious art. In fact, Bible stories such as the Prodigal Son become popular, along with genre scenes using symbols to instruct individuals in morality. In response to the new threat of Protestantism, Pope Paul III called church leaders to a meeting known as The Council of Trent. The Council met periodically between 1545 and 1563. The object of the meetings was to institute reforms in the Catholic Church, including the prohibition of the sale of indulgences, such as paying the priest for guaranteed entry into Heaven or the forgiveness of one’s sins. The Counter-Reformation encouraged new visual piety that began during the Late Renaissance and continued, becoming more theatrical, drawing the worshippers into the art during the seventeenth century. The new visual piety stressed simple, direct, naturalistic presentations of Mary, the saints, martyrs, and graphic Passion scenes were purged of any erotic sensuality. The emphasis was on a simple, precise composition, a reaction to the excessive artificiality of Mannerism. In terms of subject matter, there was a new emphasis on imagery that stressed religious calling or conversion, teaching and missionary work, ecstasy, and the church triumphant. 

  The Last Supper, by Paolo Veronese, had its original title changed to Feast in the House of Levi. Veronese was forced to do this or be tried by the Inquisition for heresy. As you look at this image, keep in mind da Vinci’s wall fresco of the same title. Note how Veronese has deviated from the strict Biblical story. There are more than thirteen individuals present. What else is different? As you examine this image, note that there are German soldiers, animals, and a lavish banquet set under the arches of what would have been a pagan Rome. Now examine Tintoretto’s Last Supper keeping in mind the picture by Veronese and the fresco by da Vinci. How does this work differ from the others? First, you can clearly see that the table divides the picture space diagonally, not horizontally. Ghostly figures (some say angelic) appear from the smoke of the lamps. Christ has a bright light around him, as do the other apostles whose haloes can also be seen. The whole appears to be in a pub-like setting with servants bringing in food and wine. No one seems to notice that a sacred event is taking place. In fact, it looks like any other night at an inn. Veronese was not the only artist to come under attack. A previous image that we looked at, Michelangelo’s Pieta, was also cited for being against Church doctrine. Here Mary is depicted as beautiful and the same age as Christ. This was disturbing to the Church and its followers.  The political crises brewing in Europe during the sixteenth century could not have helped but influence the anxiety and tension evident in these Mannerist images. Indeed, artists do not work in isolation. They are influenced, consciously or unconsciously, by the world around them.


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