Secular Art In The Early Renaissance

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During the 14th century, the worldview of people was extremely superstitious, little was known about the human body, medicine, the universe, or simple laws of science that seem very rudimentary to us today. People during this time had complete faith in the Catholic Church and those who said any different were deemed heretics. However, these things started changing as time marched on into the 15th century. As time went on, the worldview of intellectual people started changing from ecclesiastical and sectarian mindsets who listened to a classical authority, to one based on inquiry and observation of the natural world. This time period marked the start of secular art, writing, and science of all sorts. This period of advancements in the arts and…show more content…
People of this time believed that human beings themselves held great potential, and this showed through in the art of the time. These secular themes were unknown to the previous time period, where art was only used to promote christian scripture. The art from the 14th century was ordinarily flat, out of perspective, and ecclesiastical, however as the renaissance period began, new techniques for art began emerging. Painters started using two point perspective, which gave their art the illusion of depth when paired with the strategy of chiaroscuro, the use of contrasting colors in artwork. Three examples of painters who used these techniques are Giotto, Masaccio, and Sandro Botticelli. During this time period, artwork also began glorifying the human body, unlike the contrasting past period, the middle ages. Sculptures began to become more realistic in effect of this change, Renaissance sculptures emulated ancient Greek and Roman statues. An example of these new artistic traits would be Donatello's David. His David was the first bronze sculpture of the time, and he was the first renaissance artist to use nude figure in his sculptures. He was also one of the first to model his subject in the contrapposto stance, a relaxed state rather than a stiff, less realistic…show more content…
The themes of humanism began to show through not only art, but through writing as well. Intellectuals began studying languages like Greek, so that ancient texts could be revived and analyzed. Pagan literature was widely accepted, and not seen as heretical. Writers of the time began to idolize ancient authors such as Livy, Cicero, and Virgil. Before the Renaissance, ancient works of literature were disregarded because they were pagan and of no relevance to the church. An example of a Renaissance writer who displayed traits of humanism and secular themes was Petrarch. Petrarch is considered by historians to be the first modern writer, and to be the “Father of humanism”. He claimed that the Middle Ages were “Dark ages”, and wrote all his work in Italian vernacular, unlike most texts that were written in Latin

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