A Very Short History of Art: The Renaissance

Fr Angelico Annunciation 1432
Fr. Angelico, The Annunciation, 1432.

The ‘Renaissance’ (‘rebirth’), which began in Italy in the early 1400s, spread progressively through the rest of Europe, and (from an artistic standpoint at least) ended in the early 1600s, left with us some of the greatest names and most recognisable masterpieces in European art.

After the centuries of intellectual decimation left in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire, the Renaissance was a time of increasing enquiry and experimentation in multiple fields. A renewed interest in the workings of the natural world led to the beginnings of modern science. The questioning of old religious assumptions and hierarchies led, in the North, to the Protestant Reformation. The invention of the printing press led to an unprecedented spread of literature, literacy, and literary endeavour. And in art a quest for greater realism led to changes in both technique and subject matter. Continue reading “A Very Short History of Art: The Renaissance”

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Paintings You Should Know: Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’

I hate to say it, but if you don’t recognise this painting then there’s a distinct possibility that you were raised by wolves, because there’s basically no escaping da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. It’s a painting that I’ve seen for myself, in the Louvre back in 2004, and perhaps because I know practically nothing about art (hence The Culture Project), I have to admit that I was underwhelmed.

Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa, by Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-1506.

Continue reading “Paintings You Should Know: Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’”