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The Renaissance art denotes various forms of art including sculpture, painting and decorative arts from a period that spanned the 14th to 17th century. The Renaissance movement began in the Late Middle Ages in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe. Its emergence is a result of the interaction of various factors, which tremendously influenced not only art, but also literature, philosophy, music and science (Klaus 41). Notably, humanism is one of the factors that made the most significant impact on the Renaissance art. Humanism denotes the body of ethical perspectives and philosophies, which emphasize human beings’ value on the collective and individual level. The body emphasizes the significance of rational thought rather than adherence to the principles of faith. This focus also highly holds dignity, freedom and the human potential of realizing self-actualization (Klaus 29). The humanistic learning that characterized the Renaissance period greatly influenced the Renaissance art. The majority of the artworks from this period is the reflection of the humanistic learning, which was the product of the humanism movement. This influence is greatly reflected in the Renaissance art.
Unlike the medieval artists, whose art mainly featured heavenly creatures, the Renaissance artists shifted their focus to the human body and things of concern to the normal earthly human life. In essence, the Renaissance art was worldlier than the medieval art. Influenced by humanism, Renaissance artists began giving realistic expressions to the human forms in their various expressions of art such as sculpture and painting. For example, famous painters such as Masaccio continued painting religious themes, but elements of the paintings, like the clothing worn by the saints, were similar to common people’s clothing. The development of this concept is what is now popularly known as Realism(Dogra 1).Early Renaissance art depicted human beings going on with their daily lives and engaging in activities such as dancing and eating, rather than participating in extraordinary things. Medieval artists were never concerned about realism. As such, they often made important figures larger than the rest of the artistic components or often omitted landscape elements. In the Renaissance, methodological constraints from the old were abandoned and new discoveries made in the birth of elements, such as composition, perspective and color application in art.
According to the Thefreeresource.com, natural world depiction was never a focus in medieval art, but with the conception and development of humanism artists began depicting the natural world in a realistic way. Portraying people realistically was never important in medieval times, because there was no perceived special beauty in human form. However, in the Early Renaissance humanists argued that the human life had purpose and value, and the human body was God’s beautiful creation. After these claims artists began studying the human anatomy thoroughly in order to portray the human body in art as realistically as possible. Examples of this expression can be seen in Michelangelo’s art the Moses Statue, which included muscles and veins in the legs and arms. This advance showed a greater focus on portraying humans in their most natural form. Facial expressions were also included in famous pieces such as “Mona Lisa” and the “Last Supper” (Dogra 1).
According to Buzzle.com, thematic and content changes also marked a significant change in art, which can be attributed to humanistic learning. Unlike medieval art which mainly focused on religious themes, Renaissance art showed more secularism and human-based themes, which focused on human welfare. Renaissance art showed more representations of people studying mathematics and philosophy, rather than worshiping, which was a common theme in medieval times. In contrast to the art of Middle Ages, Renaissance art made humanity a celebration. The abstraction of natural forms, which was common in medieval art form, was overtaken by naturalism.
In conclusion, the humanistic learning that characterized the Renaissance period in which humanism was born greatly influenced various aspects of art. The major changes in Renaissance art, which make it different from medieval art, include the introduction of realism and the change of themes. Additionally, human abstraction died away as precise anatomic depiction was introduced and an incorporation of day-to-day common life elements in art rather than the supernatural was emphasized. Art ceased to be a spiritual expression in the supernatural and became an expression path for humanity and all that concerns man.