At the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th century people were no longer content to be told what to think and believe by the church or/or those in power over them– the desire to understand and learn “why?” encouraged the emergence of humanism. It also created an interesting fluctuation in power, politics, religion and economics. This movement led to many of the great achievements we have seen as a civilization and part of that were the new forms of and techniques in art. Art was no longer dictated only by the church. Artists had a greater awareness of the world around them and became aware of different theories about the world and people around them. Science was a result of humanism – finding answers to many questions and raising many more questions. But in essence, science gave artists a method to use to make more realistic works of art. Depth, scale, perspective are all based on mathematical principle. In addition, individualism seems to find an emergence with humanism. People weren’t lumped into “surfs”, “lords”, and “clergy”. An emergence of individual worth and contribution was becoming evident and begins to show in paintings and other works of art.
In today’s art we seemed to have veered away from realism for the most part. A precise representation of something is easily mastered through photography, so many of the visual arts like painting and sculpture have moved to more of an artist’s perception or the meaning or experience they wish to convey. We moved from realism to impressionism to cubism, to what we have today. There, of course of some exceptions – artist Stan Stokes does wonderful, realistic paintings of military scenes, although not always precisely accurate in pursuit of his objective. Then there is Joan Mitchell and Jackson Pollock.