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Art and Humanities
From the time capsule containing art from the Renaissance, it would seem the capsule must contain two representations of some of the very best of the art of the Renaissance. Renaissance art is still some of the most well-known and appreciated art in the world, and Renaissance art is characterized by a great attention to detail, especially in the human form. Think of Michelangelo's "David" and Mantegna's "Adoration of the Magi" and you see great detail in the faces and bodies of the subjects, as well as in the background and implements in the painting. This is quite common in Renaissance art -- the artists were interested in depicting their subjects as accurately as possible, and as ornately as possible, because much of Renaissance art was commissioned by wealthy patrons for use in churches and/or religious ceremonies. Most of the themes were religious, but portraits were also popular, because more of the wealthy could afford to have their portraits painted by prestigious painters. Most of their audience was the educated and the wealthy.
Two of the most legendary artists of the Renaissance were Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, and the time capsule would have to include works by these masters not only because they are so renowned, but because their work is so representative of the Renaissance and its' progression toward growth, education, and change. As these historians note, "Leonardo has always been famous because of the fantastic range of his genius; he was not only one of the greatest artists in an age of great artists, but he was probably the best anatomist in the world ... " (Murray & Murray, 1963, p. 227). Da Vinci's chosen work would be his extremely famous painting "The Last Supper," because it not only illustrates his artistic talent and ability to make the figures in his paintings seem so real and lifelike, but because it also truly represents the events and cultural patters of the time it was painted, because of its religious theme, its attention to color, detail, and form. It represents the culture of the time, because the painting illustrates the great interest in religion. Many of the world's greatest artworks were created to adorn some of the beautiful and ornate cathedrals of Italy, and some of the greatest artists worked on these religious works, such as Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel, Rembrandt's frescos, and of course da Vinci's "Last Supper."
Renaissance art was much more interested in reality than prior art, and there was great attention to light and color, too. There was balance, harmony, and restraint in the art of the Renaissance, and that is probably most evident in the work of Michelangelo. "The David" is one of the most beautiful sculptures in the world, and classic in every sense of the word, but his paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel are also both classic and in harmonious balance. As such, "The David" would have to be the other Renaissance artwork included in the time capsule. It too is a religiously-based work, but it was created to stand on its own, and it still stands in a square in Florence, Italy. The Murrays continue, "This raw-boned youth, arrogant in his strength and superbly conscious of the inevitability of his victory over his unseen opponent, has always been a sort of ideal Florentine. He is certainly the ideal creation of Florentine art of the purest strain in the fifteenth century ... " (Murray & Murray, 1963, p. 273). This statue really reflects world events and cultural patterns of the time for many reasons. First, it was the first time a nude statue had been placed on public display. Society was becoming wealthier more educated, more interested in artistic and other pursuits, and more complex, and the art reflects many of those societal changes. Thus, the statue shows that culture was becoming more discerning, more artistic, and more open to change and artistic development. It also shows the great importance Italy (which was the center of the Renaissance and the center of change in the world during this time), was becoming a more open society, but also, the Catholic religion was spreading from its center in Rome around the world, and so, religious artwork was popular in Italy, but with exploration and discovery during this time, it would also spread around the…[continue]
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