The Renaissance was a movement that began in Italy with the purpose of reviving classical sources and breathing new life into them. Art specifically, would forever change, setting the stage for distinct and innovative art styles and ideas. Fra Angelico’s Coronation of the Virgin (Figure 1) and other forms of religious artwork from Renaissance Europe, although sometimes varying in interpretation, were created in order to bring social divisions together under the protection of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. Commissioned for the Church of San Domenico in Fiesole, the Coronation of the Virgin was both visually beautiful, and functional as a church altarpiece. The Dominicans hoped that through such art they would be able to display their authority. This idea came about because Renaissance artwork was used to demonstrate power over the people, religious artwork at the time was riddled with the teachings and hierarchy of the church, and the changing interpretation of art had affected the way the people saw art. The Renaissance was a time for art, but even though art was a way for individuals to express themselves, it was also a way to control the behavior of others.
Art, in general, is simultaneously a product of our society, and a way to control it. Members of society, no matter the period, have used various forms of art in order to take charge of the minds of individuals in their community. Art, having the ability to remain in the hearts and minds of the people, has always affected the psychology and emotions of the people. When art gives off a truly understandable message, viewers are captured by the intensity of the piece. Those in power can use this to their own advantage by having the art created in the manner in which they please...
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