Incessant and Middle Ages Western Governors University Abstract This paper will explore two periods of art: The Renaissance and The Middle Ages. For this paper I will describe the characteristics and styles of both periods, and the social conditions that influenced each period. I will also compare and contrast the characteristics and styles of both periods. I will then compare and contrast specific artworks from each period of time. Due to the fact The Middle Ages came first in history, they will also come first in this paper.
To start, I will talk about the characteristics and styles of The Middle Ages and the social conditions that influenced them. The Middle Ages were a period of history that occurred from 400 to 1400 A. D. Middle Age art had many characteristics in common, some of these are; religious subject matter, stiff figures that showed little movement, and the faces were serious and had little to no emotion in them. Also important figures of a piece were normally bigger to show importance, they were two dimensional, and the backgrounds were usually one color.
As with many early art periods, religion was the main subject matter in art (De Razor, 2013). As this tenement shows, religion was the main influencing social condition of the time. This is extremely present when we look at most of the artists of the time were monks. These artists would rarely sign their name to the artworks because the art was made to honor god or kings. The artist who made the art was of little importance (Limited, 2001). This is one aspect of the Middle Ages that was extremely different than the Renaissance. The next period, the Renaissance, is probably the most famous period of art in history.
The Renaissance occurred Just after the Middle Ages, from 1400 to 1600 A. D. Some of the characteristics of Renaissance art are; religious and non-religious themes, movement in the figures and emotion in the faces, and reflected a great interest in nature (De Razor, 2013). The backgrounds also showed perspective and were three-dimensional and life-like. The main social condition that influenced art of the time was money, or the ability for the wealthy to keep their wealth. For the first time, the wealthy were able to flaunt their art because they weren’t afraid to have it stolen from them.
Artists could now make a profitable living from their art. This allowed artists to branch out from the traditional religious painting. This is what led to the new characteristics that came out in the Renaissance period. Next, I will compare and contrast the two periods. The Renaissance was extremely different from the Middle Ages in the characteristics the periods showed. The Renaissance was all about the artist and what he wanted, whereas the Middle Ages were more about the people it was being made for and the subject matter being depicted.
The characteristics of the Middle Ages were as followed; religious subject matter, important figures are shown as larger than the people around them, figures re stiff with emotionless faces, the paintings were flat and two-dimensional, and the backgrounds were usually one solid color. These are almost completely different than characteristics of Renaissance are and here are some examples; scenes were religious and non-religious, figures were lifelike and three-dimensional, bodies looked active and were shown moving, faces showed emotion, paintings were balanced and symmetrical, and the backgrounds showed perspective.
It almost looks like artists of the Renaissance were revolting against art of the Middle Ages. Works from these periods that give a good example of the contrasting styles are The Madonna and Child in Majesty Surrounded by Angels, done in the middle ages, and The Primeval, done during the Renaissance. The Madonna and Child in Majesty Surrounded by Angels was completed by artist name Cambium between 1280 to 1302 A. D. (Depending & HTH©abut, 2007). In the painting, Marry and baby Jesus are surrounded by a group of angels.
The middle figure of Marry is much larger than the angels. The faces of the figures are stoic and the figures show no sense of movement. The background is also done completely in the color gold. These are characteristics all enduring of the Middle Ages. The Primeval was made in 1482 by a famous Renaissance artist by the name of Botanical (Capacities, 1998). The painting is of pagan gods in a walled garden. Compared to Madonna and Child in Majesty Surrounded by Angels, the figures are all the same size and show a sense of movement and emotion.
Also the characters are three-dimensional and life-like. The background is also very different, as it shows a nature scene of what appears to be a walled garden. From the analysis of these two works of art, it is easy to see the differing styles of the periods. In conclusion, the Renaissance and Middle Ages are two early art periods. The Renaissance style was almost a reaction against the style of the Middle Ages and because of this are very different.
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