Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Renaissance Aesthetics, Yay or Nay?

The Renaissance is a historically important era in art because it was a rebirth of so many new ideas and ways of thinking and perspective. The dominance of Renaissance art is due to the fact that most of it's been preserved, that most of the works have been done in historically significant cathedrals, palaces, and administrative buildings. The longevity in popularity can be attributed to the fact that most artist learned, mastered, and expanded upon these new ideas and forms of perspective. Throughout the 14th, 15th and early 16th centuries, there was a mass studying and mastering of the observational world. Works of art became more refined, more picturesque. Artists developed mathematical ways to render their surroundings more accurately like atmospheric perspective, geometric compositions, and subject clarity. And modern artists utilize atmospheric perspective, scale, linear design and so forth in their art that we see today. Essentially, the world of art would be dramatically different without the naturalism that the Renaissance is associated with reviving. Also, the religious content, and speculation around artwork's subject matter, contribute to its important status as well. Like the Mona Lisa, for example, with the on going quest to figure out who that woman really is and what does the smirk she wears really mean? Religion isn't going anywhere, and as long as people are still faithful to their particular religions, then appreciation for religious artwork is going to continue.

As for my own personal take on Renaissance art, I would say that I appreciate what that era of art contributed for future generations of artist but the religious elements of the art works are a little too damning in my secular heart. I also greatly admire the talent and verve that these artists had. If I had one iota of what they possessed, I would be one happy photographer! I sympathize with the rise of naturalism and humanism during these centuries, and admire Da Vinci's contribution to art as well as science. I would have loved to meet the man and soak up his ambition with a sponge. I also greatly admire the Mannerism aesthetic within the Renaissance era. I particularly enjoy Parmigianino's Madonna with a Long Neck, because you really get a sense of where surrealists and eventually modern art adopted their own unique perspectives and aesthetics. I also wouldn't mind visiting the Lourve or the Sistine Chapel to see these great works of art with my own eyes (it might make me change my tune) but for now, I'm more drawn to contemporary works of art, especially graphic and photographic art of today. What can I say? I'm very much a product of my generation.

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