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Compare And Contrast Renaissance And Baroque Art

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The culture and principles of historical movements are often reflected in the art of the time. Two prominent periods in history that exemplify this are the Renaissance and Baroque movements. The renaissance exhibited the flourishing awareness of the natural world and individuality of the time, while the Baroque focused on emotion, a strong use of colors, and the extreme contrast between light and dark shadows. The works created during these times, more particularly the paintings, were very different to each other yet, they do share certain key qualities: both use religious figures as their subjects. Although the Renaissance and Baroque art movements differ in the time period, technique and the way they manipulated light in their paintings,…show more content…
Although the movement started in Italy in the 1300s, it later extended to the rest of Europe in in 1500s. The period of Renaissance is deemed as the time in European history when there was essentially a “new life to man”. Resurrected with new understanding of the human existence, individuals based on fundaments of the classical Greek era and followed the philosophies of Aristotelianism and humanism. Aristotelianism is the theory based on the teachings of philosopher and scientist Aristotle. Renaissance humanism, according to Fred Edwords, is “the spirit of learning that developed at the end of the middle ages with the revival of classical letters and a renewed confidence in the ability of human beings to determine for themselves truth and falsehood”. From the 3rd to the 13th centuries religion and the Church possessed, if not all but, most of society’s power and was the core of life and culture in the middle ages. However, at the start of the 14th century when people were introduced to philosophies and literature from the classical Greek such as the Odyssey, the Church’s power started to decline. This decrease was the key motivation for individuals to establish humanism: people’s interest in God, the saints, heaven, hell, and the Lord subsided but instead, more and more were fascinated in themselves, natural world that surrounded them, personal independence, individual expression as well…show more content…
Renaissance art was based on showing life as realistic as possible yet artists studied the sculptures of classical Greek and Roman culture. Classical artists often portrayed perfection in their art; from nude figures in athletic poses, contrapposto, placing more weight on one hip over the other ideal proportions, perfectly muscular statues. Renaissance artists used these classical aspects in their works, even religious ones. The Greek statue (fig. 3), The Farnese Heracles by Lysippos, represents Heracles in a completely classical manner: his powerful stature showed every muscle in his body. He also stood leaning on his club but balances most of his weight on his left leg. In comparison, Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam, (fig. 4), also shows a muscular version of Adam as well as God. They were not standing yet they were in a twisting position, similar to The Farnese Heracles. Light was also used by artists at the time: it was a key tool in defining their subjects. It kept paintings clear and concise: the characters precisely defined, not blending in with the shadows. An even more dramatic approach to the classical style came from the baroque