The Renaissance- European Art

By: Alexa Rainey

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Apollo and Daphne- ca. 1475 A.D.

Classicism- This painting reflects on the Greek mythology that surrounds the story of Apollo and Daphne- Apollo, who feels eternal love for Daphne, and Daphne who feels undying hatred for him. To escape from Apollo, she asks her father to help, who then turns her into a laurel tree. The anatomy of the two subjects are precise as seen in the nearly identical tree branches.

Perspectivism- The background shows the distance between the two subjects and the river god Peneus, who saved his daughter from Apollo

Naturalism- The natural flow of Daphne's hair in the breeze as well as the detailed facial expressions point to the use of naturalism. It is clear that Daphne is smirking at her success of escape while Apollo wears an expression of sadness and defeat.

English culture

As England began to modernize, its education system also grew. It drew its strength from past philosophers and the society that surrounded it. Greek Mythology became a source of inspiration for many artists. This was an important aspect of the English life, and Antonio Pollaiuolo's depiction of Apollo and Daphne represents a pull away from their present culture. The focus was no longer on the beliefs of the church but the artistic movements that happened during the golden ages. Recovering historical text became more significant than the study of natural science. The golden ages were seen as the peek of human achievement, and the perfection drawn from the past is shown in the details of this work. Each design is created to meet the ideal structure of human anatomy and story telling.


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Glorification of the apostolate of St. Ignatius

Illusionism- This Fresco was painted to create the illusion of gazing up into the heavens. It is a continuation of the room, which then leads up into a legion of angels, representing the spread of Catholicism to different continents

Idealism- The idea of creating your own perfect reality is depicted in the illustration of the angels, who are have perfect physique and beautiful clothing. The idea of perfect proselytism is also shown in the joining of angels with different skin tones.

Perspectivism- The angle of the arches creates height in this painting, as well as the various sizes of angels to display distance.

Italian culture

During the time that Andrea Pozzo (produced this work, the Italian culture was in the midst of the counter-reformation and were trying to strengthen Catholic faith while fighting Protestants to continue being the dominant religion. The painting shows the importance of patronage, as the main subject, St. Ignatius is pictured being accepted into heaven directly by Christ. Because of the name- Sant'Ignazio Church, it would be expected that the artist illustrate Ignatius as a "glorified" subject. The painting teams with angels, some of whom wield javelins to combat those who turn their backs on faith. This is a strong show of the traditional culture ca. 1685, demonstrating the prestige of the church and its hold on all aspects of society, including finances, politics, and belief.

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Tax Collector and His Wife

Secularism- The ordeal of counting coins is quite different than an illustration of angels. This displays something a common person would do, as well as showing the imperfection of humans with asymmetry, such as the scattered coins and books.

Humanism- The painting depicts the importance of human affairs, like the relationship between husband and wife, and shy's away from any divine characteristics. They are using their education (math) to solve their problems.

Naturalism- There are many textures in this pictures. The one that seems most outstanding is that of the Tax Collector, who's large hat is full of fringe and fuzz. The picture is very tangible in its use of shadow and anatomy.

Northern European (Netherlands) culture

This work by Marinus van Reymerswaele is an interpretation of the influence that humans have over the world. The spotlight is not on Christ but on the simple tasks that citizens complete everyday. The perfection and flaws of the subjects are meant to capture the era's focus on the individual and not their Godly nature. This is a reflection of a change in perspective, from a life dedicated to religion to one that is filled with prestige. It was not that people left their faith, they simply chose to see God through their own riches. If a person was wealthy, they were blessed by Christ.

compare and contrast paintings too each other

While the Fresco of Angels is very traditional in its inspiration, the other paintings focus on the glorification of humans. Each is made with the purpose pf representing renaissance culture, as well as displaying the wealth and status of the individual or institution. The most important aspect of these paintings are their ability to tell a story. They all depict a world of perfection, created by the artist and shaped by society. Apollo and Daphne tell of a progressive world which draws inspiration from a more "perfect" time. The Glorification of the Apostle of St. Ignatius tells of a time of rebellion against Roman Catholic belief while still exalting the name of St. Ignatius. The Tax Collector and His Wife is a display of the admiration of humans and the arts. Their details emulate movement, whether it was the clash of lightning or a breeze moving through hair. Despite the depiction of angels in the Fresco, all of the these paintings reflect a time of self praise among European culture. The human form is painted in perfect stature to echo the desire of society to excel in philosophy, history, and overall education.