Michelangelo and Renaissance Religion

Better Essays
Michelangelo and Renaissance Religion

Michelangelo Buonarroti lived in a time when the medieval aspects of Christianity were overwhelmed by the upheaval of the Reformation. His art portrays this change in religious philosophy by discerning the major trends and objectives of the Renaissance. "His works show us...the changing world around him" (Richmond 4). In addition, Michelangelo seriously impacted generations of artists to come.

"The Renaissance was a rebirth that led to new ways of thinking in the sciences, philosophy, and architecture, as well as painting and sculpture" (Spence 6). This period of European history, beginning in the fourteenth-century, saw a renewed interest in the arts. It has been characterized by many as the birth of modern humanity and consciousness after a long period of decay, the Middle Ages. Until the revolutionary thinkers of the Renaissance, much of Europe was dormant and stagnant, immersed in the "Dark Ages" where the Christian God was viewed as a punishing and distant force. During the Middle Ages, Christian historians broke history into three divisions: the creation, the incarnation of Jesus Christ and the anticipated last judgement. Medieval scholars believed that they were living in the final age before the last judgement. The Renaissance brought a cultural break with medieval tradition known as humanism. This was the tendency of the time to attach great importance to classical studies and to consider classical antiquity as the common standard and model by which to guide all cultural activity. This ideology led Renaissance humanists to develop new divisions of history: antiquity, the Middle Ages and the golden age of rebirth. In contrast to their Dark Age counterparts, th...

... middle of paper ...

...ger 58). This was a radical concept, unexplored up until this point.

By creating perfect physical beauty in his work, Michelangelo represented the essence of the supernatural and of the divine. In so doing, he employed the elements of classicism at the heart of the Renaissance, therefore portraying the change in religious philosophy at the time. Today, many of his works continue to impact the way we see God and the Catholic faith.

Works Cited

Green, Jen. Famous Artists: Michelangelo. Hauppauge: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1993.

Heusinger, Lutz. Michelangelo. New York: Riverside Book Company, Inc., 1989.

Richmond, Robin. Introducing Michelangelo. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1991.

Spence, David. Michelangelo and the Renaissance. Hauppauge: Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1997.
Get Access