History of Renaissance Art The Renaissance, or Rinascimento, was largely fostered by the post-feudal growth of the independent city, like that found in Italy and the southern Netherlands. Grown wealthy through commerce and industry, these cities typically had a democratic organization of guilds, though political democracy was kept at bay usually by some rich and powerful individual or family. Good examples include 15th century Florence - the focus of Italian Renaissance art - and Bruges - one of the centres of Flemish painting.
Contact Byzantium and Italian Renaissance Art Byzantium is, for most, a rather dirty word, connoting something faintly alien and somehow obscene. To classicists, the Rome that did not fall is an embarrassing pantomime horse, cavorting Lamentation by byzantine painters and jacob in the ill-fitting clothing of the once great Roman Empire.
To medievalists, it is an outsider, a distinctly foreign looking entity lingering on the edges of a Europe to which it does not belong.
It is Greek, it is lurid, it is decadent. Above all, it is irrelevant. Historians of Byzantium recognise these viewpoints as erroneous, but I fear they still have much work to do in getting the word out.
The prejudices of our own disciplines note that those who study the medieval world are medievalists, unless they happen to study Byzantium, in which case they become byzantinists have a tendency to lock us away from recognising the enormous influence that this supposedly alien power had upon many of the social and intellectual stories that we consider to be so distinctly Western.
No more so is this true than of the so-called renaissance in Italian art that took place in the period roughly bounded by the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries.
Giotto, a Florentine artist who lived between andwas an archetype of true artistic genius, a former shepherd whose prodigious talent was unlocked when the artist Cimabue discovered him sketching his sheep with a pointed rock. But uniquely gifted though Giotto surely was, his art and the movement it inspired owed more to Byzantine influence than we might at first believe.
At times, these debts can be seen almost directly. In the tiny mountain village of Gorno Nerezi in modern day Macedonia lies the externally unremarkable late Byzantine church of St Panteleimon, patronised by the imperial family and decorated inside with a fresco cycle completed by artists from Constantinople.
These frescoes, completed at some time in the twelfth century, burst with energy and an emotional intensity that might surprise viewers accustomed to think of Byzantine art as frozen and lifeless.
The frescoes are crowded with varied figures and with a sense of movement and action. Each face tells a story in its expression, no more so than the tortured, wailing face of Mary, the Mother of God, who holds the body of her dead son, taken down from the cross.
The artist has made this divine moment painfully human. Without Byzantine art, Giotto might have remained on his hillside, drawing sheep in the dirt. That the Italian masters whose work began the renaissance should have been inspired and indeed trained by Byzantine artists and models is hardly surprising.
Byzantine art had long exercised enormous influence in the Italian peninsula, not least because it was not until that the Byzantines finally lost their last territories in Italy.
Throughout the period of late antiquity and the middle ages, evidence — both direct and indirect — of Byzantine artists at work within Italy can be found and Byzantines were clearly often seen as masters to be copied.
Direct evidence of their work can take the most striking forms. Within the tiny church of Santa Maria foris portas in Castelseprio in northern Italy, long hidden under plaster, is a cycle of late eighth or early ninth century Byzantine frescoes, which, like those at Panteleimon, defy the stereotypes of Byzantine composition and are among some of the most remarkable early medieval frescoes ever to be discovered in the Latin West.
The depicted image shows the Annunciation, in whose frame the movement of the archangel Gabriel, swooping down to announce the Good News to the supine and unsuspecting Mary, is boldly evoked and the folds and contours of the clothing that covers the two figures betray the living bodies beneath the cloth.
The composition eschews the linearity and the stasis that we are told to expect from eastern art. Castelseprio is merely one of dozens if not hundreds of specific examples that may be adduced to show the activities of Byzantine artists at work in Italy.
Another spectacular example of such — and at the opposite end of the spectrum from Caselsprio in terms of its sheer monumental grandeur — is the great church of San Marco in Venice. Its interior still gleams with a cascade of Byzantine-inspired gold mosaic work.
Even the ardently anti-Byzantine Vasari admitted that the first great master of his Lives, Cimabue c. None of this, of course, is an attempt to deny the brilliance of the Italian renaissance, an explosion of creativity that brought into being some of the greatest works of art the world had ever seen.
Yet seen from a western perspective, it is important to recognise that these are not merely rungs on the ladder of Western genius but part of the story of an interconnected world, a world in which, for many centuries until its fall, Byzantium not to mention the Arab world set the pace of cultural change.
Christ Pantocrator from Hagia Sophia, Constantinople late 13th century. The Lamentation of Christ as depicted in the St Panteleimon fresco cycle midth century.
The genius of Byzantine relief sculpture:Western Dark Ages and medieval Christendom Dark Ages. Ancient Roman civilization in western Europe foundered and fell apart in the second half of the 6th century, and the changes that took place between late antiquity and the succeeding period, the Dark Ages, were fundamental and catastrophic.
Lamentation by Byzantine painters and Jacob Cornelist. Van Oostsanen So- called Lamentations are generally scenes of great soberness and sadness. Byzantine painters and Jacob narrates the same story with different . Lamentation by Byzantine Painters and Jacob Cornelist.
Van Oostsanen. History of art Lamentation by Byzantine painters and Jacob Cornelist. Van Oostsanen So- called Lamentations are generally scenes of great soberness and sadness. Byzantine painters and Jacob narrates the same story with different style of painting and in different period. Start studying Middle + Late Byzantine Art.
Learn vocabulary, terms, and more with flashcards, games, and other study tools. Lamentation, Middle Byzantine. Middle Byzantine- Fluid delineation of drapery, characteristic of long tradition of CLASSICAL illusionism. Byzantine painters not concerned with systematic observation of.
Byzantium and Italian Renaissance Art Byzantium is, for most, a rather dirty word, connoting something faintly alien and somehow obscene. To classicists, the Rome that did not fall is an embarrassing pantomime horse, cavorting about in the ill-fitting clothing of the once great Roman Empire.
In terms of its painting, the Gothic period (c) was a sort of transition period between the flat, hieratic style of Byzantine art, and the naturalism of the Florentine Renaissance. Around , however, the cosy world of Pre-Renaissance Painting was revolutionized by the "humanistic.