Journal

Return of the Renaissance: A Titillating Timeline


  For those that noticed a lack of update yesterday. I blame Thursday’s Bird Flu image…it obviously had a part to play in the event. At any rate I’ve decided that today’s update will have a nice series of timeline images to support the data. So to begin here is the first clean and simple timeline for our series of events.

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  Quite simply we have 1400 which is effectively the beginning of the Renaissance, 1500 which is an important check point and then 1550 which is effectively the end of the renaissance. To remember these just remember 100 from 1400 and half of that to the end. So 1400, 1500, and 1550. Not that you should really need tricks to remember these three dates. First we’ll move onto one of the easier dates to remember, it is a competition that is said to chime in the beginning of the Renaissance. That considered I’m sure you know basically when it happened.

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  So in 1401, 1 year after the beginning of the Renaissance two rather famous artists competed for the doors at the Florence Baptistery. Now you might notice in the image I ‘may’ have not spelled it right but its close enough and I corrected myself here. If memory serves the competition was between a fellow by the name of Brunelleschi and another by the name of Ghiberti. You can tell these particular people are important because their names are in the word dictionary.

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    The one on the left is Brunelleschi and the one on the right is Ghiberti. Not to spoil the end of the competition but Ghiberti took the title and ran…to finish the doors. What came of that was the following.

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    Frankly I felt by the end of it the doors didn’t look anywhere near as interesting as the pieces entered into the competition but that is personal feelings I suppose. Speaking of Brunelleschi however in a quarter of a century he will have discovered something that puts these doors to shame.

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    In 1425, 25 years (basically) after the competition for the doors Brunelleschi discovered Linear Perspective, something that is so super fantastic I think it redeems him for any lost competition. Essentially it is the trick that makes an image look 3 dimensional, if you ever look at something and it appears to be 3 dimensional you are looking at something via Linear Perspective. Indeed even in the real world you are taking two dimensional pictures with your eyes and converting them via this trick…but that’s a talk for another day. Before we move on to more times lets look at some paintings that use Linear Perspective and some that might not (the latter is only if I find some that will be on the exam that do not).

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    This is Masaccio’s Tribute Money painting which shows linear perspective. You’ll notice how the building on the right slowly falls back at an angle to create a feeling of depth and space. Also the man in the background is smaller than the men in the foreground.

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    You will find Linear Perspective no more methodically used than in images with Jesus, be he dying or living they want to make sure your eyes are shoved full force into his form. This particular one was made by Masaccio as well. He loves him a good Jesus painting.

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    Fra Filippo Lippi who is not important enough to have his name in word made the above image of Madonna and Baby Jesus. The Linear perspective is a little more subtle and found in the frame around the picture. This friar apparently wasn’t very good at Celibacy and had a kid who went on to become the teacher of someone very famous. We’ll move on to that later when I have my notes, I don’t remember offhand…lets place a bet of a dollar with myself of Donatello. It’s a 1 in 4 chance.

    Not that you are curious but it has been 6 hours since I started writing this…I get sidetracked easily. Regardless lets move on. Now that we have some good examples of Linear Perspective lets move on to another important period on the timeline. Much like how Linear Perspective was discovered a quarter of a century after the beginning of the Renaissance indeed another 25 years later a very important birth was…well birthed!

Renaissance4    That’s right, in 1452, essentially 25 years later (close enough for jazz) you have the birth of the most famous artist in the entire world. So much so that most people don’t even say his real name and yet they still know it is him. Leonardo Di Vinci, literally “Leonardo of Venice".”, is commonly just called Di Vinci which would mean that absolutely anyone who lives in Venice is being credited with his works. Fascinating stuff. When thinking about Leonardo we need to establish his works…or at least the ones I’ll be tested on.

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    Much like me, Leonardo is (or was rather) extremely picky about details, whereas other artists might just draw and not concern themselves with every detail Leonardo would often not finish a work (such as the above Adoration of the Magi) and yet what is funny that even his incomplete works are still worth more money than anyone I know can afford to invest.

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    The Vitruvian Man is one of my favorite works in all of human history. Interestingly (a word you’ll see me use a lot today) Leonardo wrote in mirror because he was left handed. It’s amazing to me I can barely write in the proper direction much less in perfect reverse.

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    This would be Madonna on the Rocks, which is easy to remember because it is Madonna…on the rocks. Likely an alcoholic drink on top of a famous painting.

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   This particular one found its way into a plaster cast in my own living room back in the day.  If you don’t know that this is the Last Supper don’t feel bad, but do know by some accounts you are likely destined to burn in hell. But good news is that apartments are very cheap there and I’m sure all in all it can’t be that bad. But back on subject.

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    This is the most famous painting in the world…if you don’t know that it is called the Mona Lisa I’m pretty sure you might be in danger cognitively.

    So as with all things the Renaissance has some wonderfully spaced events. Just as Leonardo was born 25 years after the discovery of Linear Perspective which was 25 years after the beginning of the Renaissance AND the Brunelleschi Vs. Ghiberti Florence Baptistery Battle, we know how the next event 25 years after Leonardo’s birth.

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    The Birth of Michelangelo, not only the best of the Turtles from TMNT he was also one of the four most famous artists in the world. So lets see some of the popular Michelangelo works that I’ll need to know and you as well if you are taking a Renaissance Course.

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    This sculpture is called the Vatican Pieta…I think…regardless it is a fantastic piece that looks very much like an actual pair of people sitting. If you are looking to become world famous in the arts making some form of Jesus dead will bring fans to you in throngs. He really needs more people happy to see him alive…poor fella.

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    Michelangelo’s David is also a very popular statue that has the hands of a golem. He was scaled so that when looking at him as you should (from roughly shoulder height to his feet), that his hands and head will look absolutely normal. Apparently they actually do…coolness.

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    Michelangelo’s Moses…to me he looks more like Poseidon but regardless it is some amazing work. That beard is certainly enviable.

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    So apparently the Medici were these rich mofo’s who made all their money off wool, with that money they were the ones that essentially fueled the Renaissance or something of that nature. Regardless this piece by Michelangelo is called Lorenzo de’ Medici which would tell me that it was made for one of the Medici or for an entire bank. It has a sister piece that looks the same but is mirrored to a good degree.

image    As we move along through Michelangelo’s works we start to get closer and closer to his pinnacle work, the one that above all else really toppled the rest. This is called the Last Judgement, and it looks a good deal like the next great work.

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   This is the Sistine Chapel, this is where everything comes together. Now that we’ve hit this and previously discussed the Mona Lisa I think it is time to update the timeline.

Renaissance6  So as you would expect we have another 25 years since the last big event. 25 Years after the Birth of Michelangelo we have what is known as the High Renaissance. Then roughly 3-6 years after that we have the Mona Lisa and roughly 6 years after that we have the Sistine Chapel! Oh how consistent the Renaissance is. Yes I know the image only says 1503, but it is somewhere between 1503-1506.

  How about the other 2 I believe earlier I said “One of the Four Most famous.” If I didn’t I should have when referring to either Leonardo or Michelangelo. But indeed there are two more turtles to unravel before we move on to the lesser known artists of the Renaissance. Not to overwhelm people I will also introduce someone known as Boticelli. If we travel back to the birth of Michelangelo (again 1475), we just need to add 5 years to come up on Boticelli’s three most famous works.

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   This is called the Primavera, there isn’t much to say other than the fact that this is a Greek/Roman inspired art piece instead of Christian. You’ll notice similarities in his next two works as well.

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    This is Pallas and The Centaur, I’m pretty sure that Pallas is a reference to Athena. Finally this leads us to likely the most well known of Boticelli’s Greek/Roman pieces.

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    The Birth of Venus is one that I’ve seen multiple times before this course. The art style of Boticelli certainly doesn’t change very much between the works. However they are all better than I could do.

    So now that we have Boticelli out of the way lets move onto the birth of the Third (not in quality but merely in mentioning here) of the Great Four. Raphael born 3 years after Boticelli’s works, which is pretty close to being almost being a perfect double jump from the Birth of Michelangelo. Here is where it gets fun. Guess how long we have to go from the Birth of Raphael to get to the next great piece? 25 Years you say? You’d be exactly right.

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  25 Years on the dot began the work of the Sistine Chapel. It is a very special number that helps quite a bit. This sets us up pretty well. We only have a few major timeline points and then a throng of other pictures to know. Likewise essentially 25 years after the Birth of Raphael we have a major works of his that should be known. In 1509-1512 we have the construction of the Stanza della Segnatura, which is a name that I’ll be hardpressed to remember during the exam.

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  It’s an amazing little piece and I like how it has the extra levels of dimension with the woman who almost appears to be leaning off the image. It’s a great illusion.

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  So that puts us here.  Certainly lots to deal with but thankfully we are almost done with the important dates (I’ll be doing an extra update tomorrow especially for left over statues and paintings). The next two events do not happen in the 25 year construct that many of the others can be worked into, that might be because they are depressing events. 10 years after Raphael completes the Stanza, Leonardo Di Vinci died. Perhaps out of sadness, or more likely natural causes, Raphael himself died. So let us complete the timeline and let me go to bed.

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    So while we still have another 30 years till the ‘end’ of the Renaissance. This will close the timeline. We are still one major artist short, but for whatever reason Donatello is not on the exam for dates. If he is I’ll be sorely unprepared. Who knows maybe tomorrow I’ll look it up and add him too. Have a great night and I hope you enjoyed this intense shock study of the Renaissance.

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