Renaissance art history began as civic history; it was an expression of civic pride. The first such history was Filippo Villani's De origine civitatis Florentiae et eiusdem famosis civibus, written about 1381-82. Florentine artists revived an art that was almost dead, Villani asserts, just as Dante had restored poetry after its decline in the Middle Ages. The revival was begun by Cimabue and completed by Giotto, who equalled the ancient painters in fame and even surpassed them in skill and talent. After Giotto came his followers, Stefano, Taddeo Gaddi, and Maso, uomini illustri all, who, together with notable jurists, poets, musicians, theologians, physicians, orators, and others, made …show more content…
In this view, Bruni's panegyric should be understood not as a statement of a new civic awareness but rather as a fairly standard performance by a professional rhetorician, more similar to than different from other such performances that preceded it.
The baroque style is characterized by an emphasis on unity among the arts. With technical brilliance, the baroque artist achieved a remarkable harmony wherein painting, sculpture, and architecture were brought together in new spatial relationships, both real and illusionary, often with spectacular visual effects. Although the restrained and classical works created by most French and English artists look very different from the exuberant works favored in central and southern Europe and in the New World, both trends in baroque art tend to engage the viewer, both physically and emotionally. In painting and sculpture this was achieved by means of highly developed naturalistic illusionism, usually heightened by dramatic lighting effects, creating an unequaled sense of theatricality, energy, and movement of forms. Architecture, departing from the classical canon revived during the Renaissance, took on the fluid, plastic aspects of sculpture.
Painters and sculptors built and expanded on the naturalistic tradition reestablished during the Renaissance. Although religious painting, history painting, allegories, and portraits were still considered the most noble subjects, landscapes, still lifes, and genre