Italian Renaissance doc


Italian Renaissance Notes


1. What changes does Europe experience for the Renaissance to happen?

2. Where does the Renaissance begin?

3. How is Renaissance art different from the art that came before it?

4. Who are the sculptors of the Florentine Renaissance? What did they sculpt?

5. What does Renaissance architecture look like?

6. What is Florence’s biggest architectural achievement?

7. Who are the painters of the Florentine Renaissance? What did they paint?

8. What about Renaissance music in Italy?

9. Why is Rome so filled with art?

10. Who is the sculptor of the Roman Renaissance? What did he sculpt?

11. Who are the painters of the Roman Renaissance? What did they paint?

12. What architectural masterpieces are in Rome? What characteristics do they share?

13. What are the major ideas to come out of the Italian Renaissance?

1. What changes does Europe experience for the Renaissance to happen?

Economics -- Expanding merchant class

Globally -- Expanding world!

Scientifically -- Expanding world of science

Data gathering (thanks, Aquinas!)

Heliocentric by end of Renaissance

Educationally -- Expanding mind!

Gutenberg! 1456

Artistically -- Expanding opportunities!

Humanistically -- Expanding definition of man!

Universities teach that man has free will!

Refocus on HUMANISM!

2. Where does the Renaissance begin?

Italy! Why?





Specifically, begins in Florence!

Florence – wool & silk center, Papal bankers


Cosimo-- Pater Patriae, 1434 to 64

Neoplatonic Academy

Piero --

Lorenzo --

Collector of books

Patron of the arts

1464 to 69

1469 to 1492

1494 Medicis exiled

1498 Savonorola burned

3. How is renaissance art different from art that comes before it?

No longer humanizes faith, but reflects humanity!

Careful description and accurate forms

Nude reemerges

Classical references

Atmospheric Perspective

Linear Perspective

4. Who are the sculptors of Florence?

A. Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378 – 1455

) Sacrifice of Isaac

Gates of Paradise

Story of Adam & Eve

Competition -- North doors

Quatrefoils of Sacrifice of Isaac

2 entries are best – Ghiberti & Brunelleschi

Why is Ghiberti’s chosen?

B. (Donato di Niccolo di Betto Bardi) Donatello (1386 – 1466)

Ghiberti’s apprentice, worked on doors

Began as goldsmith, moves to sculpting

No single style defines him

Lo Zuccone

– for Duomo


-- for Cosimo

Repentant Magdalene

– for Duomo

5. What does Florentine architecture look like?

Influenced by geometry and symmetry of Ancient Rome & Greece

Influenced by the harmonious proportions of music

Compare to Gothic?

Harmonious and balanced v. intricate and overwhelming

6. What is Florence’s biggest architectural achievement?

Lo Zuccone


Repentant Magdalene

The Duomo, Santa Maria del Fiore

Filippo Brunelleschi

Church finished in 1400

No dome, no light, no ventilation

Dome needed is 180 ft. in diameter – no precedent


His proposal -- 2 shells, no centering

Created all machines for this work: reverse hoist, load positioner, lantern crane

Lantern with buttresses

Da Vinci’s connection

Brunelleschi’s other masterpiece: Pazzi Chapel

What do we see?

7. Who are the painters of Florence?

A. (Tomasso Cassai) Masaccio (1401-1427)

“Big Tom” heavily influenced by Giotto!

Expulsion from the Garden

Tribute Money

Painted for the decoration of the Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine

Expulsion-- clear light source, shadow, volume, weight

Tribute-- simultaneous modes of time

Influenced all others: Lippi, Fra Angelico, Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Botticelli

B. Filippo Lippi (1406-1469)

Lippi is Masaccio’s student

Finishes Brancacci Chapel

Lippi’s “dispensation”


painted for Cosimo


Prefers pastels, softer figures than Masaccio

C. Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510)

Botticelli is Lippi’s student

Adoration of the Magi

La Primavera

Birth of Venus

Medici patronage

Adoration – for Gaspare di Zanobi del Lama for his chapel in Santa Maria Novello all Medicis are shown, classical and religious

Primavera and Birth -- both for Medici family linear, classical and religious,

Known for beautiful figures, little muscular power

D. Fra Angelico (1387- 1455)



Prayed before all paintings

Less-convincing figures sit in perfect 3D space

Natural detail is incredible!

For monastery of San Marco, Florence

E. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

Vitruvian Man

Madonna of the Rocks

Madonna and St. Anne

Last Supper

Mona Lisa


Born in Vinci

Verocchio’s apprentice

Biggest patron is Duke of Milan

Very few completions and copious notes!

Vitruvian -- based on treatise of Vitruvius

Drawings -- chiaroscuro

Madonna -- triangular composition



Last Supper -- Milan

Perfect linear perspective

Vanishing point / halo

Considered first painting of the High Ren.

Raphael uses it for School of Athens

Not fresco

Mona Lisa -- “La Giocanda”

Florentine merchant’s wife

Motherhood/ maternal

Portraiture in 3/4s


Leda and the Swan

8. What about Renaissance music in Italy?

Popular music, simple (Italianizing = simplifying)

Performance oriented, little of what is written is written down during the period

What’s written down moves away from counterpoint towards simple harmony

Lorenzo the Magnificent’s lyrics = native tongue

9. Why is Rome so filled with art?

Because. . .

Pope Leo X is a de Medici

Pope Julius II is a big Michelangelo patron

10. Who is the sculptor of the Roman renaissance?

Michelangelo Buonarati! (1475-1564) (89!)






Lorenzo de Medici in the gardens of Palazzo Medici

Two biographies in his lifetime!

Studies anatomy

Saw himself as a sculptor

Carrara marble

Liberated figure

Pieta -

- 23 years old

Pyramid composition

Serenity/ acceptance

Only work he signed

** inspires other sculptures


-- 26 -29 years old


Florentian symbol


-- 38 years old

Only figure completed for Julius’s tomb

Most ambitious sculpture project of his life, 40 figures

Keeper of the laws = Moses


Slaves or Captives

-- 38

Unfinished for tomb

11. Who are the painters of the Roman Renaissance?



Sistine Chapel Ceiling

Last Judgment

Sistine Chapel

-- 1508-1512 (33 to 37 years old)

Private chapel of the Pope

Walls by Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino

Commissioned by Julius II

44 ft. by 133 ft

68 ft up, vaulted ceiling

300 figures!

Up to 43 sq. ft. a day

Optimism, human power

Full span -- man’s sin, judgment, salvation

Exceedingly complex thought!

Divided into 3 sections:

1. lunettes/ spandrels -- ancestors of Christ as written in Matthew symbolize mankind before salvation/ redemption

pendentives -- chosen people are saved from destruction through miracles foreshadow salvation

2. External band of thrones -- 7 male prophets, 5 female sibyls all foretold of Jesus/ Messiah

3. Central rectangle -- nine smaller rectangles from Genesis

“Ignudi” -- strength, grace, power of man

Philosophical divide as well – the three platonic stages, matter, becoming, being

Last Judgment

-- 1533- 1541 (58 years old)

22 years after Sistine

Pessimistic about man’s condition

St. Bartholomew = Michelangelo

B. Raffaelo Sanzio (Raphael)

Perugino’s student

Known for serene scenes, less drama

School of Athens

Began painting the papal apartments in 1508

School of Athens

Intellectual spirit of the era

Considered his masterpiece

Divided into reason and spirit

Plato/Aristotle = Apollo/Athena

Influence of both Da Vinci and Michelangelo

12. What architectural masterpieces are in Rome?


Can’t talk about it all!



by Donato Bramante

Commemorative structure for St. Peter’s martyrdom in church courtyard

What do we see?


St. Peter’s

by many including Bramante, Michelangelo, and Raphael

St. Peter’s tomb

Constantine’s church

Chief architect is Bramante until 1514, then Raphael

Michelangelo is chief from 1547 to 1564 (age 71 when he takes over)

Michelangelo designs dome inspired by _______________________________

“Largest” dome 450ft x 130 ft

Uses pendentives

Greek cross shape

Colonnade and façade are Baroque by Bernini

13. What are the major ideas to come out of the Italian Renaissance?

A. Classical Humanism

Man is the measure of all things -- focus on civic duty, service to others, here and now, ethics, man’s abilities and beauty, intellect!

B. Scientific Naturalism

Careful observation of nature, universe, etc, in the effort to understand and reproduce it.

C. Individualism

Seeking personal prestige

D. Mixing of Classical/ Pagan and Christian ideas

Coexistence and religious and scientific, the Classical and the Biblical