Exploring the Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo, Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, 1508-12, fresco (Vatican, Rome) Michelangelo began to work on the frescoes for Pope Julius II in 1508, replacing a blue ceiling dotted with stars. Visiting the Chapel To any visitor of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, two features become immediately and undeniably apparent: 1) the ceiling is really high up, and[…]

Top Interesting Dissertation Topics on Renaissance

Renaissance is one of the most interesting periods in history. It’s an ever-lasting inspiration for a college paper, since students can choose from countless pieces of art, architecture, and literature to analyze. To understand how a particular point in history was, you’d had to experience it. Publications testify about people and events, but they may[…]

The Renaissance in Spain

During the Renaissance, the Spanish empire also extended throughout Western Europe. Introduction We often think of globalization as a modern phenomenon, but the confluence of cultures we see today was already growing in the Spanish Empire during the 15th and 16th centuries. For instance, dividing screens from Japan were imported to Mexico, where they were[…]

An Introduction to the Northern Renaissance in the Fifteenth Century

Italian art and ideas migrated North from Italy. What Was the Renaissance and Where Did It Happen? The word Renaissance is generally defined as the rebirth of classical antiquity in Italy in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.  Seems simple enough, but the word “Renaissance” is actually fraught with complexity. Scholars argue about exactly when the Renaissance[…]

Animals and Allusions on an Italian Renaissance Basin

An intricate basin features sea creatures, birds, and mythological beasts, which bore a multitude of meanings to the sixteenth-century elite. Introduction Animals are rarely just animals in sixteenth-century Italian art. They may symbolize virtues or signify social status. They can also act as mnemonic devices, prompting viewers to recall other works of art, both visual[…]

Animals in the Art of Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci saw in animals the ‘image of the world’. About six months ago I stopped eating meat. I was teaching a graduate course at UCLA that investigated how Italian Renaissance writers conveyed their concepts about the human through writing about the nonhuman – plants, animals, objects, angels, demons, gods and God. As weeks[…]

Behind This Cover Lies a World Treasure

A small and ornate book opens up to reveal one of the great masterpieces of Renaissance manuscript illumination. The exquisite Rothschild Prayer Book, one of a handful of peerless illuminated manuscripts produced at the end of the 15th and the early 16th centuries, will be the centrepiece of an exhibition featuring the collection of media[…]

Renaissance Woman: Isabella d’Este

Despite the restrictions women faced, her art collections demonstrate important renaissance themes. Introduction In European history classes, we often hear about renaissance men: Cosimo de’ Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, and Niccolò Machiavelli. Where were the women? The most famous female patron of the Italian renaissance was Isabella d’Este Gonzaga (1474–1539), marchioness of a territory in[…]

Titian’s ‘Pastoral Concert’: A New Genre in Renaissance Italy

This genre became one of the most important artistic contributions of Renaissance Venice. Farewell, peoples and cities. The countryside will offer delightful displays for my eyes. Jacopo Sannazaro, Elegies, Book 1, Poem II, line 24 I know that then my verses will appear/ unpolished and dark, but I hope that even so/ they will be[…]

Italy’s Erotic Revolution in Renaissance Art Joined the Lusty to the Divine

There was a split between the pure ideal and base reality, between sacred and profane love. In the Sistine Chapel, you look up at Michelangelo’s Last Judgment and see muscular angels hurtling through space, nude or with just a scrap of cloth tight across their buttocks (Figure 1, above). Then after leaving the Vatican, you[…]

Francis Bacon and the Scientific Revolution

Sir Francis Bacon developed a method for philosophers to use in weighing the truthfulness of knowledge. How Do We Know That Something Is True? The word science comes from the latin root scientia, meaning knowledge. But where does the knowledge that makes up science come from? How do you ever really know that something is true? For instance,[…]

The Legacy of the Middle Ages in the Renaissance and Beyond

The European Middle Ages were a time of tremendous creativity and innovation, setting the stage for what was to come. Introduction Today, the period in Europe from about the year 500 through approximately 1500 CE is called the Middle Ages, or the medieval era (the word medieval comes from the Latin medium aevum, literally middle age). But of[…]

The Black Death’s Economic Impact and Contribution to the Renaissance

The Black Death struck in 1348, 1362, 1368, 1381, and continued even into the 18th century. 1348 The Black Death arrived on European shores in 1348. By 1350, the year it retreated, it had felled a quarter to half of the region’s population. In 1362, 1368, and 1381, it struck again—as it would periodically well[…]

The Medici Collecting the Americas

Objects, flora, and fauna from these faraway lands were shipped back to Europe where many people perceived them as exotic items of wonder and fascination. Americana and Cabinets of Curiosities After Christopher Columbus landed on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola in 1492 and the subsequent Spanish invasion and colonization of much of the Americas, material objects, flora,[…]

Leonardo’s Depiction of Mary and Jesus Tells Us about His Religious Beliefs

Leonardo da Vinci emphasized the naturalness of the relationship of Jesus and Mary in his art, while also inviting viewers into a religious message. On the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, Italian academic Francesco Caglioti’s recent claim that a sculpture held at a London museum bears close similarities with the work of the Renaissance genius[…]

500th Anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s Death – 8 Things You May Not Know

Dead five centuries, Leonardo retains a rock star’s fame, well known around the world by just one name. Here, some facts about the man and his legacy. This year marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death. Widely considered one of the greatest polymaths in human history, Leonardo was an inventor, artist, musician, architect,[…]

Child’s Portrait Sheds Light on a Violent Episode in Renaissance History

New research demonstrates that a sculpture is associated with a harrowing episode of anti-Semitic violence in late-1400s Italy. March 21 marks the anniversary of the horrific murder of a two-year-old toddler that took place in 1475 in Trent, a city in North Italy—an event that led to one of the most brutal and infamous anti-Semitic[…]

The Timeline of Renaissance Inventions – c.1300-1600 CE

The Renaissance period (c. 1300-1600 CE) in European countries is renowned for path-breaking and rapid developments and inventions. The Renaissance period (c. 1300-1600 CE) in European countries is renowned for path-breaking and rapid developments and inventions that took place in fields like arts, philosophy, and science. It’s deemed that Florencia, Italy, was its epicenter. A[…]

The Surprising Detective Work of a Renaissance Drawings Curator

Puzzling questions are the focus of the exhibition Spectacular Mysteries: Renaissance Drawings Revealed. By Tristan BravinderSocial Media ProducerGetty Research Institute Though it may be hard to imagine, the roles of a curator and a detective have much in common. Both follow clues and evidence in an attempt to uncover the truth behind a mystery. While[…]

Conservation Work Reveals the Hidden Revisions of Pontormo, Italian Renaissance Master

Study and treatment of a Renaissance altarpiece reveals new details about the artist’s working method, as well as his brilliant colors. By Chelika Yapa Advances in imaging technology have revolutionized science and medicine—and today, they are also revolutionizing the study and conservation of art. New imaging techniques have made it possible for art conservators and[…]

The Italian Renaissance: A Classical Rebirth

Introduction Art, literature, and architecture are forms of expression. These forms of expression often communicate what is happening during certain periods in time. Have you ever heard the word Renaissance? The word Renaissance means“rebirth” and comes from both the French and Latin languages. This word Renaissance describes a cultural movement that began in what is[…]