Sculpture, as one of the oldest forms of art, changes with people and time. And sculptures of the Renaissance are no exception. What do we know about the Renaissance or, in translation from Latin, the Renaissance?
This is a whole cultural stratum that replaced the ascetic Middle Ages and brought with it the revival of antiquity, the flourishing of culture, humanism, and the establishment of a person’s identity as the highest value.
Italy of the thirteenth century is considered the cradle of the Renaissance, and this era lasted until the 16th century, when new trends and styles in art began to appear. The sculpture, which previously only adorned reliefs with architectural structures, gradually becomes independent during the Renaissance. And by the end of the 16th century, this is a separate art form.
Art historians divide the Renaissance era conditionally into four stages.
Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore Statue of King Charles I of Rome Fountain of Maggiore in Perugia
The Proto-Renaissance appeared in the late Middle Ages and its brightest representative was the sculptor and architect Arnolfo di Cambio. He is the author of the main cathedral in Florence, a statue of King Charles I of Rome, a fountain in Perugia with numerous sculptures. The works of Arnolfo di Campio are influenced by antiquity, they are calm and sustained, imbued with the Greek spirit. At the hand of a master, they become more visual, expressive in performance, flexible, close to reality. Confirmation of this is his sculpture “Mourning by John Mary.”
Donatello “Equestrian Statue of Hattamelata” nearDonatello “Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata” from afar
The Early Renaissance spans the entire 15th century. Sculpture as an art begins to separate from religious medieval canons. The name Donatello di Niccolo di Betto Bardi is the most famous at that time. He was the first to “unfasten” the relief from the wall – the images of the sculptures are deepened, individualized. The first to create nudity. As well as working on the equestrian statue of the condottier Gattamelata, the first monument in bronze, he found an unusual solution for that time for the location of the sculpture relative to the walls of the building. Due to this, the entire contour of the rider and the horse looks great from any direction, does not merge with the facade of the church and from this it seems more significant and monumental, despite its small size.
David, Michelangelo Buonarotti
The High Renaissance is the heyday and peak of the Renaissance. It lasts from the end of the 15th century until the 1920s. Pope Julius II also played a significant role in this. He is known as a patron of art. Under him, such talents as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and the great Michelangelo created their masterpieces. Michelangelo Buonarotti, having lived for almost 90 years, has done many works. But his world-famous David is the pinnacle of the Renaissance and human genius. His sculptures are powerful and voluminous, but at the same time fascinate with the flexibility and reality of the object. The sculpture of the High Renaissance period has completely left the shadow of architecture, it is independent of religion, and sculptors have customers. The sculpture becomes classical, worthy of its ancient Greco-Roman ancestors.
Nymph Fontainebleau, Benvenuto CelliniPieta, Michelangelo
The second half of the 16th century is conditionally referred to the Late Renaissance. It is already difficult to name the moment when the crisis and decline of the Renaissance appears and a new stage in art begins – mannerism, it is transitional to the next style in sculpture and architecture – baroque. The work of sculptors and artists is so diverse in its manifestations. The authors’ attitude to the principles and forms of ancient art becomes too loose. The Italian sculptor, painter and jeweler Benvenuto Cellini had a great influence in this period. Its famous relief Nymph Fontainebleau is made in bronze for the king of France, Francis I. Art connoisseurs attribute this work to early mannerism. Also, the last sculpture group of Pieta, performed by Michelangelo, as if completes not only his career, but also the Renaissance.
The influence of the Renaissance is of great importance for understanding and studying man, nature in general, for the revival of ancient culture, in particular. The sculpture, thanks to the Renaissance, has become more understandable and accessible to ordinary people, has awakened the need for beauty and aesthetics in them. The Renaissance has given rise to many brilliant creators, whose masterpieces still do not cease to delight and amaze with their magnificence.