5. Analyze the influence of humanism on the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance. Use at least THREE specific works to support your analysis. (2004 AP Euro FRQ #5)
Secular Humanism can be the most popular description for the idea and conception during the Italian Renaissance. The focus of study for the scholar and artist in that era shifts from the church and religion to the interest of human nature. The influences of the humanism on visual art can be seen in the emphasis on the individual life.
The focus of individualism is so common in the painting than it was in middle ages. During middle ages, saints in the paintings have halos around their head. Moreover, they are larger than most of other ordinary people as the religion used to be the only belief during that era. As the humanism becomes more and more popular during the Renaissance, the ordinary figures’ significances start to emerge on the art pieces through their larger scale. The halos also get fainter and fainter and eventually disappeared. To use Jacopo di Cione’s “Madonna and Child in Glory”, which is a piece during 1360/65, as a example, the Madonna in and the child in the center of the painting is larger in scale than the four saints who stand below the angels around the Madonna. The artist tries to impose a higher degree of importance as he was composing it.
The art during the Italian renaissance also enables much more appreciation than is does in the Middle Ages. Saints and god always live in heaven that is golden and glorious in the painting in the Middle Ages, and they seldom or never appears in the earthy landscape that human beings live in. Entering into the 14th century, however, as the humanist artists attempt to infuse their new ideas through paints, the atmosphere around the god and saints alters from the golden background to the natural landscapes. Giovanni Agostino da Lodi’s Adoration of the Shepherds perfectly exemplifies the case. In this masterpiece, the holy family of Mary, Joseph and Jesus