As the we study movement and the transition of society in the late middle ages to the Italian renaissance we have made a focus on Humanism. We have analyzed the writings of Petrarch and how he laid the foundation for Humanism and inspired artists in their characteristics and methods of expression. I want to further analyze the role of humanism in the blossom of the Italian Renaissance and its artistic styles.
As the 14th century developed, this era began to be known as the Late Medieval/ Early Renaissance era or the transition between the two. This period was the first signs of artists moving away from medieval symbolism a hieratic style and focused more on a realistic perspective of saints and deities. Artists were just beginning to feel confident on their abilities to create an artistic piece that had a relationship with the viewer. In the 1300’s it seemed that artists displayed holy figures as more personable, and man-like. This allowed for the population to view a more relatable version of deities and create a connection with the characters of gods that was never allowed in exclusively symbolic styles. These more realistic portrayals can be starkly contrasted with heavy hieratic styles that depict deities as more unapproachable and mystical. This era was made famous by artists like Giotto di Bondone, Ambrogio Lorenzetti, and Simone Martini.
Petrarch was born with the birth-name Francesco Petrarca on July 20, 1304, in Arezzo, Tuscany located in Italy. He was a dedicated classical scholar who is considered the “Father of Humanism,” a philosophy that helped spark the Renaissance and ideas that shaped the arts of that time. In his works and poetry, he established perspectives that would be central to the humanist movement, and he approached issues that would be his favorite subjects for debate. He also brought a view of classical culture as an authentic alternative to his own medieval society, was of equal historical importance. He helped to re-find the tradition in Europe by specifying self-knowledge as a primary goal of philosophy.
At the turn of the end of the 14th century we begin to see a more radical movement in the reformation of society. At this time of reformation, values and beliefs in society were focused on intellectual development, and new ways of doing old processes. New technologies were discovered in this age and implemented into the arts. Among these advancements included the mastery of balancing naturalism with Christian symbolism. With these advancements came the use of depth or “linear perspective”. Linear perspective uses principles of math to naturistically portray space and depth in art. Renaissance artists were overly concerned with painting realistic scenes, and linear perspective gave them a reliable method to accomplish this concept of realism, which helped make their paintings all the more engaging and reformed in the era. This period was defined by Renaissance artists that were advocates for these new advancements and techniques like Fra Angelico, Uccello, and Masaccio.
Humanism fueled a reformation in the way of thinking and the artistic expression off the time period. With the blossom of the renaissance, humanism laid a foundation that allowed artists to show off their new-found abilities in art such as the use of linear perspective. Petrarch could have been viewed as a founding father of the humanistic movement. His poetry and writings helped encourage a movement to studying sciences and the power of humanity and individualism. Artists at this time of the renaissance took on these ideals and expressed this in the radical change of artistic expression.