Renaissance Art and Architecture
Friday, November 2 nd2012
Chapter 9 – The Heritage of Masaccio
The Second Renaissance Style
• Hone the idea of how to create illusionistic space.
• Gestures (from Giotto)
• Sense of drama.
• Sense of naturalism (even if it seems forced)
• Familiar colours.
• Lines, we see where the works are being created.
• Idea of humanism in art.
o Looking at things to do with the here and now, earthly.
o Translating ancient texts, how can I do good on earth now?
o Different from medieval thoughts, the self was a terrible thing that lived
for the afterlife.
o Changes a bit, living in the here and now righteously in order to achieve
o Think of the story of the Arena Chapel commission.
- Peace between Florence and Milan that art begins to flourish.
- Gothic style becomes less important.
- Signifier of imperial wealth.
- Florence is a Republic.
- Cosimo comes back into the city and art changes.
- Manipulated lotteries.
- How did the Medici assert themselves into these images.
- Show their power through art.
- Other banks decline as they rise.
• Fra Angelica. Descent from the Cross, Probably completed 1434. Panel.
Commissioned by Palla Strozzi for his buria chapel in the Sacristy of Sta. Trinita, Florence. (remember the accent on Trinita)
o Monk, inspired by Donatello and Ghiberti.
o New common style.
o Artists and patrons are aware of artistic genius.
o People want the best.
o Service of the Dominican order.
o Became Arch Bishop of Florence.
o Close ties with the Church, divinely inspired.
o “Angelic painter”
o Cosimo di Medici take over and takes the work
o Gothic tracery anchors the image.
o Deposition scenes.
• Demonstrates the moment Christ is taken down from the Christ.
o Christ being
lowered by his Apostles.
o Dead bodies are heavy, but not this body.
o Attention to detail in the delicate moment.
o Through his hands, etc.
o Virgin clasps her hands together in mourning.
o Mary Magdalene kisses Christ’s feet.
o Small, private moments.
o Subtle, delicate.
o Exploits the Gothic.
o Asserts the architectural program into the background; cityscape of Old
o Storm in the background.
o Trouble is coming.
o Hills of the Tuscan landscape.
o Florentine work.
o Familiar landscape.
o We are meant to be standing on the hill with the Crucifixion.
o Mourners frame the scene.
o Levels of framing.
o Classically inspired body.
o Emotions come from the people in the scene, not the wounds of
o Christ is till untouchable.
• Fra Angelica. The Annunciation and Scenes from the Life of the Virgin. C.
o Framed with a portico.
o Classicism through the Corinthian columns.
o Panel divided into three main parts.
o Angel, virgin, some sort of garden.
o Use of space utilized.
o Sense of perspective.
o Detail underscores the realism of the space.
o Star studded ceiling.
o We can see into Mary’s bedroom
o Curtain pulled aside.
o Deep attention to textiles used.
o How can these patterns fit into space?
o Angel on one knee as he delivers the message.
o The dialogue of the scene is should on the panel, floating through the air.
o The drama is on the panel for the viewer.
o Emphasized through gestures.
o Garden symbolizes the virginity of Mary.
o Predella contains scenes from the life of the Virgin.
o Possible scenes from the Garden of Eden in the background of the
• Fra Angelico. Madonna with Saints (S. Marco Altarpiece) in conjectural
reconstruction from the front and two ends, c. 1438-40.
o Presented like it’s on stage.
o Heavily constructed.
o Framed with gold curtains an a luxurious caret.
o Set within a Renaissance niche.
o Corinthian is the highest order of column.
o Joyous scene.
o Attention to luxury.
o Objects are made because they are important, precious.
o Anatolian carpet.
o Sense of perspective.
o Everything leads to the Virgin.
o Way of reading the image.
o Important formula of how the guide the eye.
o Employs groups of figures.
o Medici coat of arms on the carpet.
o Shows who is paying for the image.
o Small scene of Crucifixion at the bottom.
o Imitate what would often be placed on the altar.
o Levels of reality.
o Painting, frame of crucifixion, viewer.
o Playing with space.
o Where is the viewer supposed to be.
o St. Cosmus, Patron Saint.
o Attention to detail, nature.
o Trees, fruit trees, etc.
o Tree of life idea, sense of reality.
o Christ holding an or (?)
o Text on the Virgin’s robes.
o Systematic perspective that leads the eye back.
o Invites you to look at all the figures.
• Fra Filippo Lippi. Madonna and Child (Tarquina Modonna) 1437. Panel.
o He was a Nun while in the Church.
o Inspired by Masaccio.
o Botticelli’s teacher.
o Definite sculptural quality.
o Playing with perspective.
o Putting the scene on stage.
o Absence of halo.
o Christ child looks very different.
o Props himself up and pulls himself closer to his mother.
o Shows a more tender and intimate moment between mother and child.
o Sense that they are actually in the space.
• Fra Filippo Lippi. Annunciation. C. 1440. Panel. S. Lorenzo Florence. Probably
commissioned by a member of the Martelli Family for their family Chapel.
o Sense of depth.
o Sense of perspective.
o Sets the scene on a stage.
o Mary’s gestures create a sense of emotion.
o Similar to Angelico’s
o Two angels serve as the witnesses.
o They look outwards.
o Albertian technique of creating drama.
o Reminiscent of religious plays.
o Ephemeral artwork.
o Little vase in the front.
o Hovers between the viewer and the reality of the painted scene.
o Playing with levels of reality.