Art History: Renaissance, Baroque And Rococo
First, let us begin with the Renaissance period. “The Renaissance was a fervent period of European cultural, artistic, political and economic “rebirth” following the Middle Ages. Generally described as taking place from the 14th century to the 17th century, the Renaissance promoted the rediscovery of classical philosophy, literature, and art.” Editors, H. (2018, April 04).
During the Renaissance, there were many fabulous inventions that, for the time, were absolutely groundbreaking. Unsurprisingly, the new inventions and discoveries of this era had a tendency to bleed into some of the time periods’ famous artworks. One such example is the Assumption of the Virgin but, we will touch base on that after explaining the origins of some of it’s scientific influences.
“Italian artists of Galileo’s day responded favorably, even enthusiastically, to the new discoveries that science itself was making. It was Galileo’s friend, Lodovico Cigoli, who incorporated the latest discoveries of his telescope, hot off the press in Galileo’s Siderius Nuncius (1610) in his own version of the Assumption of the Virgin, painted just two years later in 1612. In Cigoli’s painting, notice the treatment of the moon at the Virgin’s feet—rendered as though it were seen through the telescope, exactly as Galileo had recorded it in his own pen and ink drawing only a few years earlier.” Schwabach, B. (n.d.). Art History II.
As you can see, scientific discoveries of the time, such as Galileo’s telescope made its way into art of the time. The example listed above, in this case, is Assumption of the Virgin. This is shown by the way the moon is illustrated. It is done in such as a way as that it looks as though the moon is being looked at through a telescope, as stated above. This is one example of science influencing art in the Renaissance period.
“In the arts, Baroque is a period as well as the style that used exaggerated motion and clear, easily interpreted detail to produce drama, tension, exuberance, and grandeur in sculpture, painting, literature, dance, and music. The style started around 1600 in Rome, Italy and spread to most of Europe. In music, the Baroque applies to the final period of dominance of imitative counterpoint, where different voices and instruments echo each other but at different pitches, sometimes inverting the echo, and even reversing thematic material.” Baroque period. (n.d.).
Personally, when someone mentions Baroque, the first thing that comes to mind is the musical prodigies of the time, such as Bach. As a result, rather than focusing on paintings for this portion, we will take a look at the music, which is a perfectly acceptable form of art in of itself. Below is an excerpt that provides insight into the changes in music as the result of increased scientific knowledge.
“Baroque music forms a major portion of the classical music canon, being widely studied, performed, and listened to. It is associated with composers such as Claudio Monteverdi, Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel, and Johann Sebastian Bach. The Baroque period saw the development of diatonic tonality. During the period composers and performers used more elaborate musical ornamentation; made changes in musical notation and developed new instrumental playing techniques. Baroque music expanded the size, range, and complexity of instrumental performance, and also established opera as a musical genre. Many musical terms and concepts from this era are still in use today.” Baroque period. (n.d.).
As stated above, this period gave birth to two new forms of music and traditional art, such as opera. This completely redefined the arts as it was known then. Not only that, but it is still a popular art form for musicals today. Additionally, the expansion of sound in of itself was also a great asset. Which we would be remiss to not attribute to influences in music today.
One of the famous musically artistic works of the time was by Johann Sebastian Bach. “Bach brought baroque music to its climax, writing over 1,000 compositions in nearly every type of musical form. Including the famous piece, Double Violin Concerto” Green, A. (2018, September 21). Discover the 10 Best Composers of the Baroque Period.
“Rococo style, style in interior design, the decorative arts, painting, architecture, and sculpture that originated in Paris in the early 18th century but was soon adopted throughout France and later in other countries, principally Germany and Austria. It is characterized by lightness, elegance, and exuberant use of curving, natural forms in ornamentation. The word Rococo is derived from the French word rocaille, which denoted the shell-covered rock work that was used to decorate artificial grottoes.” Britannica, T. E. (2018, January 05). Rococo style.
An example of art during the Rocco period would be The Swing. “The most prolific of the Rococo artists, Fragonard’s work was characterized by bright colors, joyful subjects and scenery, and thinly veiled erotic imagery. His most recognizable and exquisite work is the 1767 painting ‘The Swing’.” All That’s Interesting. (2018, July 05). The Rococo Art Movement That Dominated The Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century.
From my perspective, art was not as influenced by science in this period as it was by political machinations. “This period began in 1699 after the French King, Louis XIV, demanded more youthful art to be produced under his reign.” All That’s Interesting. (2018, July 05). The Rococo Art Movement That Dominated The Seventeenth & Eighteenth Century.
As you can see above, it was not exactly scientific that drove the shift in art in this case, but rather the machinations of the wealthy and rich. In this case, the king. Why? He was the king and he could do that. Unfortunately, after much searching, I was unable to ascertain what scientific developments, if any directly or indirectly affected this period and its art. However, one thing is for certain. French King Louis XIV certainly made an impact in starting the movement.
In conclusion, as you can see from the various examples provided from each period, science has had, and continues to have a profound impact on art. However, politics, government and religion have also historically impacted art and even created movements within each era.