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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Art You Should Know: Michelangelo’s Pieta

Michelangelo's_Pieta
Michelangelo’s Pieta, 1498-1499

“… and a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

Simeon’s prophesy to Mary when she presented the infant Jesus at the Temple in Jerusalem, Luke 2:35b (NIV)

Michelangelo Buonarroti carved his ‘Pieta’ from Carrara marble in 1498-1499, originally as a funeral monument for the French Cardinal Jean de Bilheres. It measures 1.74m by 1.95m and is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed. Continue reading “Art You Should Know: Michelangelo’s Pieta”