Humanism in Renaissance Art

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Magdalena Simic Dr. Pratt HU – 141 February 14, 2013 Demonstration of Humanism in Renaissance Art The Renaissance, French for "re-birth", was a period that lasted from about the fourteenth century until the seventeenth century. The Renaissance began in Italy, but with the rise in cross-cultural education and travel it spread throughout Europe. This period was marked by an immense increase in the amount of and the transformation of paintings, sculptures, and architecture, among other cultural artifacts. Although the Renaissance could be subdivided between numerous sub-categories, all of these sub-periods share the common traits of a renewed interest in the classics, as well as the emergence of the humanistic approach to the arts as well as everyday life. The movement into classicism was clearly evident from the beginning of the Renaissance. Classicism can be defined in general terms as clearness, elegance, symmetry, and repose produced by attention to traditional forms (Classicism). When this term is applied to the Renaissance period, classicism can be used to describe the return to classical Greek and Roman literature, art, and architecture. Some may see this as a lack of imagination or inspiration on the part of Renaissance artists, musicians, and architects; however this thought could not be farther from the truth. When classicism is combined with the power of humanistic perception, the masterpieces from this period show anything but a lack of creativeness, as evident in Sandro Botticelli’s, The Birth of Venus. Humanism can be defined as an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. If humanism is to be defined in terms of the Renaissance period, then humanism is the movement away from medieval religious concentration to a more idealized perception. The actual term of humanism is a
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