Developing Europe into a powerhouse, the Renaissance marked complete cultural transition of Europe out of the Middle Ages and identified a societal change of values and ideas reflected in the art and literature of the time period; the “rebirth” in Southern Europe, however, differed from Northern Europe. As both the North and South had access to newly printed materials courtesy the printing press, they did share commonality of thought- both supplied predominant Christian artistic themes, had an artistic ‘center’, and provided systems of guilds and patrons.
The Southern, or Italian, Renaissance began during the 14th century and “inevitably, trade and commerce brought Italian ideas northward, where they influenced the artistic traditions” beginning the 16th century Northern Renaissance (Benton and Danni 53). The South focused on a return to the concept of humanism and revival of idealist, classic Greek and Roman values, but the North focused on the common man and daily realities of life. Centered around Florence then later Rome, aided by the patronage of the Medici family in the Early Renaissance and Popes in the HighOrder now
Renaissance, and inspired by Greek and Roman mythology, the Southern Renaissance movement emphasized humans (their capacities, values and worth). Italian artists made the viewer delve into the inner working of the human mind and their subject matter primarily consisted of gods and goddesses displayed with symmetry, balance, and linear perspective. Known for his goddess depiction, elegant use of flowing lines, pictorial space, and antique “revival of the nude” prohibited in the Middle Ages, was “master of line” Sandra Poetical with his The Birth of Venus ampere (Benton and Dining 16).
In his painting commissioned by the Medic’s, Poetical equates Venus with Chrism’s mother Mary and her birth with that of the human soul- signifying the importance of religion but not making it the only priority. Italian trade in republics gave rise to a wealthy merchant class fond of funding art that not only mixed classicism and Christianity, but elaborated and detailed wealthy and powerful people, especially Popes who were king-like figures in society.
This Italian social change and rise in humanism led a shift in power to Rome and Italian artists to consider scientific principles behind individual composition such as proportion, anatomy, and perspective. For instance, ‘Renaissance Man’ Leonardo Greg 2 Dad’ Vine’s oil painting’s The Last Supper consisted of accurate anatomical proportions, even balance, and linear perspective. Dad Vine’s work also reflected interest in beauty in nature, mirroring interest in the natural, common man in artwork of Northern Renaissance.
Dad’ Vine’s Mona Lisa consisted of chiaroscuro and sabot techniques to showcase the sitter’s subtle, individual personality and high forehead to indicate noble standing. Repeal’s fresco School of Athens, commissioned by Pope Julius II, exemplifies “the Renaissance humanist’s quest for classical learning and truth” with a Roman bath setting (Benton and Dining 21). New emphasis on anatomy also led to glorious marble statuary and reflection of beauty in viewer to look up at the masterpiece from a lower level, David is nude in a classic contrasts pose universally representing every individual’s confrontation with conflict.
Italian artists giving the subjects a sense of mass and volume by using knowledge of the human fugue allowed for more realistic art with shadows and action. Italian writers and philosophers were also driven to study Classical antiquity and explore man’s capacity for rationality. Pico Della Monorail’s “Oration on Dignity of Man” exhibits the Italian Renaissance fascination with mankind by relaying creation of human beings as divine, that humans are special if God made them because he wouldn’t create them to fail.
He stresses that mankind is not sinful, rather all humans are special and possess the free will and the capability to be united with God. Balderdash Castigation further demonstrates the Italian humanist radiation and “celebrates and idealizes life in court” characterizing the courtier “ideal” Renaissance man in the Book of Courtier as learned in classic culture, courageous, witty, and chivalrous (Benton and Danni 29).
The Southern Renaissance influenced a cultural movement in Europe outside of Italy in the early 1 sass’s. Centered around Ghent then later Brutes and Eastern Europe, aided by the patronage of the Burgundies Dukes in the Early Renaissance and Hapsburg in the High Renaissance, and inspired by realistic portrayal of the average man’s life, the Northern Renaissance movement emphasized naturalism and living a pious, simple life.
More genuine and more attached to Christian teachings of the church than art of Southern Renaissance movement, Northern European art turned its attention to portraits and domestic scenes fixated on the minute surface details and reflected belief in religious truth from nature. Court painter to the Duke of Burgundy, “inventor of oil painting” Van Check detailed the sacrifice of the mystic lamb, symbolized Jesus crucifixion, emphasized bright colors and individualized people of various time roods and body types in the polyphony Ghent Altarpiece.
Further use of Greg 3 extreme detail, domestic interior, and religious symbolism is in Van Cock’s Rainproof Wedding- a form of documentary nature and capturing the moment similar to that a photograph would. Using glazes to create light and depth of color in his painting, Van Check included “God’s presence on Earth” in “ordinary everyday objects” such as a mirror frame, chandelier, and bedpost (Benton and Danni 57).
Different geophysical conditions than Italy contributed to an unhelpful environment for frescoes to dry, hence favor toward oil on wood panels. An allegorical idea of painting more than a perfect rendition as an Italian artist would, Hieronymus Busch showcased all prima technique in Hay Win where humans are all out for themselves in fighting for hay (a symbol for material possessions); Busch filled his triptych oil painting with commoners in mundane clothing revealing his concern with “the moralistic import of his subjects” (Benton and Danni 57).
Additionally, Northern European works of art exposed a shift to emphasis on real lifestyles of people and landscape, as demonstrated in the works of Peter Burger the Elder. Rather than pinning interest on the people in the foreground, the natural landscape background in the genre painting Harvesters is the subject rather than the peasant laborers. Capturing a moment in the daily life of hospitable peasants, instead of classic mythology or aristocracy, Burger informally evokes the abundance of local landscape in a Peasant food of the Low Countries.
Northern literature dealt strongly with naturalism and knowledge of the self and present rather than the past. Michael De Montage’s essay Of Cannibals criticizes his own western, European society as less civilized than Anabaptist South Americans, for they are closer to nature, living in the ideal state of humanity and portrait of Christian notion of the pure, simplistic society.
Perfecting the natural, human “complex states of mind and feeling in exuberant language rich with metaphor”, was the greatest writer not only of the Northern Renaissance, but arguably of all time- William Shakespeare. One of his thirty-seven plays was Hamlet where the revenge filled and answer seeking main character Hamlet’s pensive soliloquies almost hold a mirror up to nature; Shakespeare shows the reader what Ewing human is and how it is natural for conflicting thoughts to arise from man’s conscience.
Maturing later than Italian art and literature, the Northern Renaissance highlighted naturalism. European “rebirth” of art and literature reflected a societal change of values and ideas different in the South and North. Although both had artistic “hubs”, patronage systems, and predominately Christian themes, Italian Renaissance revived humanism and classic Greek and Roman ideals while the Northern European Renaissance emphasized the natural reality and everyday life of the average man.