A Beginner's Guide to the Renaissance

What was the renaissance.

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The Renaissance was a cultural and scholarly movement which stressed the rediscovery and application of texts and thought from classical antiquity, occurring in Europe c. 1400 – c. 1600. The Renaissance can also refer to the period of European history spanning roughly the same dates. It's increasingly important to stress that the Renaissance had a long history of developments that included the twelfth-century renaissance and more.

There remains debate about what exactly constituted the Renaissance. Essentially, it was a cultural and intellectual movement, intimately tied to society and politics, of the late 14th to early 17th centuries, although it is commonly restricted to just the 15th and 16th centuries. It is considered to have originated in Italy. Traditionally people have claimed it was stimulated, in part, by Petrarch, who had a passion for rediscovering lost manuscripts and a fierce belief in the civilizing power of ancient thought and in part by conditions in Florence.

At its core, the Renaissance was a movement dedicated to the rediscovery and use of classical learning, that is to say, knowledge and attitudes from the Ancient Greek and Roman eras. Renaissance literally means ‘rebirth’, and Renaissance thinkers believed the period between themselves and the fall of Rome, which they labeled the Middle Ages , had seen a decline in cultural achievement compared with the earlier eras. Participants intended, through the study of classical texts, textual criticism, and classical techniques, to both reintroduce the heights of those ancient days and improve the situation of their contemporaries. Some of these classical texts survived only amongst Islamic scholars and were brought back to Europe at this time.

The Renaissance Period

“Renaissance” can also refer to the period, c. 1400 – c. 1600. “ High Renaissance ” generally refers to c. 1480 – c. 1520. The era was dynamic, with European explorers “finding” new continents, the transformation of trading methods and patterns, the decline of feudalism (in so far as it ever existed), scientific developments such as the Copernican system of the cosmos and the rise of gunpowder. Many of these changes were triggered, in part, by the Renaissance, such as classical mathematics stimulating new financial trading mechanisms, or new techniques from the east boosting ocean navigation. The printing press was also developed, allowing Renaissance texts to be disseminated widely (in actual fact this print was an enabling factor rather than a result).

Why Was This Renaissance Different?

Classical culture had never totally vanished from Europe, and it experienced sporadic rebirths. There was the Carolingian Renaissance in the eighth to ninth centuries and a major one in the “Twelfth Century Renaissance”, which saw Greek science and philosophy returned to European consciousness and the development of a new way of thinking which mixed science and logic called Scholasticism. What was different in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was that this particular rebirth joined together both the elements of scholarly inquiry and cultural endeavor with social and political motivations to create a much broader movement, albeit one with a long history.

The Society and Politics Behind the Renaissance

Across the fourteenth century , and perhaps before, the old social and political structures of the medieval period broke down, allowing new concepts to rise. A new elite emerged, with new models of thought and ideas to justify themselves; what they found in classical antiquity was something to use both as a prop and a tool for their aggrandizement. Exiting elites matched them to keep pace, as did the Catholic Church. Italy, from which the Renaissance evolved, was a series of city-states, each competing with the others for civic pride, trade, and wealth. They were largely autonomous, with a high proportion of merchants and artisans thanks to the Mediterranean trade routes.

At the very top of Italian society, the rulers of the key courts in Italy were all “new men”, recently confirmed in their positions of power and with newly gained wealth, and they were keen to demonstrate both. There was also wealth and the desire to show it below them. The Black Death had killed millions in Europe and left the survivors with proportionally greater wealth, whether through fewer people inheriting more or simply from the increased wages they could demand. Italian society and the results of the Black Death allowed for much greater social mobility, a constant flow of people keen to demonstrate their wealth. Displaying wealth and using culture to reinforce your social and political was an important aspect of life in that period, and when artistic and scholarly movements turned back to the classical world at the start of the fifteenth century there were plenty of patrons ready to support them in these endeavors to make political points.

The importance of piety, as demonstrated through commissioning works of tribute, was also strong, and Christianity proved a heavy influence for thinkers trying to square Christian thought with that of “pagan” classical writers.

The Spread of the Renaissance

From its origins in Italy, the Renaissance spread across Europe, the ideas changing and evolving to match local conditions, sometimes linking into existing cultural booms, although still keeping the same core. Trade, marriage, diplomats, scholars, the use of giving artists to forge links, even military invasions, all aided the circulation. Historians now tend to break the Renaissance down into smaller, geographic, groups such as the Italian Renaissance, The English Renaissance, the Northern Renaissance (a composite of several countries) etc. There are also works which talk about the Renaissance as a phenomenon with global reach, influencing – and being influenced by – the east, Americas, and Africa.

The End of the Renaissance

Some historians argue that the Renaissance ended in the 1520s, some the 1620s. The Renaissance didn’t just stop, but its core ideas gradually converted into other forms, and new paradigms arose, particularly during the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. It would be hard to argue we are still in the Renaissance (as you can do with the Enlightenment), as culture and learning move in a different direction, but you have to draw the lines from here back to then (and, of course, back to before then). You could argue that new and different types of Renaissance followed (should you want to write an essay).

The Interpretation of the Renaissance

The term ‘renaissance’ actually dates from the nineteenth century and has been heavily debated ever since, with some historians questioning whether it’s even a useful word anymore. Early historians described a clear intellectual break with the medieval era, but in recent decades scholarship has turned to recognize growing continuity from the centuries before, suggesting that the changes Europe experienced were more an evolution than a revolution. The era was also far from a golden age for everyone; at the start, it was very much a minority movement of humanists, elites, and artists, although it disseminated wider with printing. Women , in particular, saw a marked reduction in their educational opportunities during the Renaissance. It's no longer possible to talk of a sudden, all changing golden age (or no longer possible and be considered accurate), but rather a phase that wasn't entirely a move 'forward', or that dangerous historical problem, progress.

Renaissance Art

There were Renaissance movements in architecture, literature, poetry, drama, music, metals, textiles and furniture, but the Renaissance is perhaps best known for its art. Creative endeavor became viewed as a form of knowledge and achievement, not simply a way of decoration. Art was now to be based on observation of the real world, applying mathematics and optics to achieve more advanced effects like perspective. Paintings, sculpture and other art forms flourished as new talents took up the creation of masterpieces, and enjoying art became seen as the mark of a cultured individual.

Renaissance Humanism

Perhaps the earliest expression of the Renaissance was in humanism, an intellectual approach which developed among those being taught a new form of curriculum: the studia humanitatis, which challenged the previously dominant Scholastic thinking. Humanists were concerned with the features of human nature and attempts by man to master nature rather than develop religious piety.

Humanist thinkers implicitly and explicitly challenged the old Christian mindset, allowing and advancing the new intellectual model behind the Renaissance. However, tensions between humanism and the Catholic Church developed over the period, and humanist learning partly caused the Reformation . Humanism was also deeply pragmatic, giving those involved the educational basis for work in the burgeoning European bureaucracies. It is important to note that the term ‘humanist’ was a later label, just like “renaissance”.

Politics and Liberty

The Renaissance used to be regarded as pushing forward a new desire for liberty and republicanism - rediscovered in works about the Roman Republic —even though many of the Italian city-states were taken over by individual rulers. This view has come under close scrutiny by historians and partly rejected, but it did cause some Renaissance thinkers to agitate for greater religious and political freedoms over later years. More widely accepted is the return to thinking about the state as a body with needs and requirements, taking politics away from the application of Christian morals and into a more pragmatic, some might say devious, world, as typified by the work of Machiavelli. There was no marvelous purity in Renaissance politics, just the same twisting about as ever.

Books and Learning

Part of the changes brought by the Renaissance, or perhaps one of the causes, was the change in attitude to pre-Christian books. Petrarch, who had a self-proclaimed “lust” to seek out forgotten books among the monasteries and libraries of Europe, contributed to a new outlook: one of (secular) passion and hunger for the knowledge. This attitude spread, increasing the search for lost works and increasing the number of volumes in circulation, in turn influencing more people with classical ideas. One other major result was a renewed trade in manuscripts and the foundation of public libraries to better enable widespread study. Print then enabled an explosion in the reading and spread of texts, by producing them faster and more accurately, and led to the literate populations who formed the basis of the modern world.

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the renaissance essay

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Italian Renaissance

By: History.com Editors

Updated: July 17, 2020 | Original: October 18, 2010

Detail of 'The Birth of Venus,' c. 1485, by Sandro Botticelli, an Italian painter of the early Renaissance in Florence.

Toward the end of the 14th century A.D., a handful of Italian thinkers declared that they were living in a new age. The barbarous, unenlightened “ Middle Ages ” were over, they said; the new age would be a “rinascità” (“rebirth”) of learning and literature, art and culture. This was the birth of the period now known as the Renaissance. 

For centuries, scholars have agreed that the Italian Renaissance (another word for “rebirth”) happened just that way: that between the 14th century and the 17th century, a new, modern way of thinking about the world and man’s place in it replaced an old, backward one. In fact, the Renaissance (in Italy and in other parts of Europe) was considerably more complicated than that: For one thing, in many ways the period we call the Renaissance was not so different from the era that preceded it. However, many of the scientific, artistic and cultural achievements of the so-called Renaissance do share common themes, most notably the humanistic belief that man was the center of his own universe.

The Italian Renaissance in Context

Fifteenth-century Italy was unlike any other place in Europe. It was divided into independent city-states, each with a different form of government. Florence, where the Italian Renaissance began, was an independent republic. It was also a banking and commercial capital and, after London and Constantinople , the third-largest city in Europe. Wealthy Florentines flaunted their money and power by becoming patrons, or supporters, of artists and intellectuals. In this way, the city became the cultural center of Europe and of the Renaissance.

Did you know? When Galileo died in 1642, he was still under house arrest. The Catholic Church did not pardon him until 1992.

The New Humanism: Cornerstone of the Renaissance

Thanks to the patronage of these wealthy elites, Renaissance-era writers and thinkers were able to spend their days doing just that. Instead of devoting themselves to ordinary jobs or to the asceticism of the monastery, they could enjoy worldly pleasures. They traveled around Italy, studying ancient ruins and rediscovering Greek and Roman texts.

To Renaissance scholars and philosophers, these classical sources from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome held great wisdom. Their secularism, their appreciation of physical beauty and especially their emphasis on man’s achievements and expression formed the governing intellectual principle of the Italian Renaissance. This philosophy is known as “humanism.”

Renaissance Science and Technology

Humanism encouraged people to be curious and to question received wisdom (particularly that of the medieval Church). It also encouraged people to use experimentation and observation to solve earthly problems. As a result, many Renaissance intellectuals focused on trying to define and understand the laws of nature and the physical world. 

Renaissance artist Leonardo Da Vinci created detailed scientific “studies” of objects ranging from flying machines to submarines. He also created pioneering studies of human anatomy. 

Likewise, the scientist and mathematician Galileo Galilei investigated one natural law after another. By dropping different-sized cannonballs from the top of a building, for instance, he proved that all objects fall at the same rate of acceleration. He also built a powerful telescope and used it to show that the Earth and other planets revolved around the sun and not, as religious authorities argued, the other way around. (For this, Galileo was arrested for heresy and threatened with torture and death, but he refused to recant: “I do not believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason and intellect has intended us to forgo their use,” he said.)

However, perhaps the most important technological development of the Renaissance happened not in Italy but in Germany, where Johannes Gutenberg invented the mechanical movable-type printing press in the middle of the 15th century. For the first time, it was possible to make books–and, by extension, knowledge–widely available.

Renaissance Art and Architecture

Michelangelo’s “David.” Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Sandro Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus.” During the Italian Renaissance, art was everywhere. (Just look up at Michelangelo’s “The Creation” painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel!) Patrons such as Florence’s Medici family sponsored projects large and small, and successful artists became celebrities in their own right.

Renaissance artists and architects applied many humanist principles to their work. For example, the architect Filippo Brunelleschi applied the elements of classical Roman architecture–shapes, columns and especially proportion–to his own buildings. The magnificent eight-sided dome he built at the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral in Florence was an engineering triumph–it was 144 feet across, weighed 37,000 tons and had no buttresses to hold it up–as well as an aesthetic one.

Brunelleschi also devised a way to draw and paint using linear perspective. That is, he figured out how to paint from the perspective of the person looking at the painting, so that space would appear to recede into the frame. After the architect Leon Battista Alberti explained the principles behind linear perspective in his treatise “Della Pittura” (“On Painting”), it became one of the most noteworthy elements of almost all Renaissance painting. Later, many painters began to use a technique called chiaroscuro to create an illusion of three-dimensional space on a flat canvas.

Fra Angelico, the painter of frescoes in the church and friary of San Marco in Florence, was called “a rare and perfect talent” by the Italian painter and architect Vasari in his “Lives of The Artists.” Renaissance painters like Giotto, Raphael and Titian and Renaissance sculptors like Donatello, Michelangelo and Lorenzo Ghiberti created art that would inspire generations of future artists.

The End of the Italian Renaissance

By the end of the 15th century, Italy was being torn apart by one war after another. The kings of England, France and Spain, along with the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor, battled for control of the wealthy peninsula. At the same time, the Catholic Church, which was itself wracked with scandal and corruption, had begun a violent crackdown on dissenters. In 1545, the Council of Trent officially established the Roman Inquisition . In this climate, humanism was akin to heresy. The Italian Renaissance was over.

the renaissance essay

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Europe 1300 - 1800

Course: europe 1300 - 1800   >   unit 4, toward the high renaissance, an introduction.

  • The Sack of Rome in 1527
  • Renaissance woman: Isabella d’Este
  • The Medici collect the Americas
  • Toward the high Renaissance: Verrocchio and Leonardo
  • A failed experiment: Medici porcelain
  • Preparatory drawing during the Italian renaissance, an introduction
  • Galileo Galilei
  • Galileo and Renaissance Art
  • Conservation: portrait miniatures

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Renaissance Period Essay

The Renaissance is one of the most fascinating periods in European history. It was a time of great rebirth and cultural flowering, as well as political and social change.

The Renaissance began in Italy in the 14th century and spread to the rest of Europe over the following two centuries. This period marked a dramatic change from the preceding Middle Ages. People began to value individualism and reason more than tradition and religion. Art and literature flourished, as did scientific discoveries.

During the Renaissance, Europeans made significant advances in mathematics, astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology and anatomy. The Printing Press was invented, which allowed for widespread dissemination of knowledge. New ideas about government and society emerged, including concepts such as democracy and human rights.

The French term renaissance means “rebirth.” The Renaissance was a period in European history that took place between 1300 and 1600, according to modern historians. Significant changes occurred during the Italian Renaissance, which is when I began studying art.

The Renaissance was a time of significant innovation and change. This era was characterized by substantial contrasts with the Middle Ages. During the Middle Ages, the church dominated politics and had a primarily agricultural economy. Exploration and learning came close to being halted entirely.

Renaissance means rebirth, everything starts to reborn during Renaissance. means people were full of energy and ambitions. They wanted to achieve something great in their life. This era was different from the Middle Ages in many ways such as art, literature, science, religion, and ways of thinking.

In the Renaissance, artists used light and shadow to give more realistic depictions of their subjects. Renaissance painters also began using a technique called perspective to create the illusion of depth on a two-dimensional surface. Renaissance writers created works that celebrated individual achievement and humanity’s potential for greatness.

During the Renaissance, Europeans became more interested in studying classical texts from Greece and Rome. Renaissance scholars rediscovered the writings of Aristotle, who had a major influence on scientific thought during this time. The Renaissance was also a time of religious reform. Protestant leaders such as Martin Luther challenged the authority of the Catholic Church. They believed that people could have a personal relationship with God without the help of priests.

This period of time was also a time of exploration and discovery. European explorers such as Christopher Columbus and Vasco da Gama sailed to new parts of the world in search of wealth and new trade routes. The Renaissance was an exciting time to be alive! There were many changes happening and people were eager to learn and explore new things.

During the Renaissance period, society was revolutionized into a society that became more and more dominated by central political institutions with an urban commercial mentality. Furthermore, people’s interest overcame their anxiety, and many individuals began to explore the new world. Many rich Italian cities, such as Florence, Ferrara, Milan, and Venice, started the Renaissance.

Some of the most famous Renaissance artists were Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Renaissance art was often very detailed and realistic. Renaissance architects also designed beautiful buildings, such as the Florence Cathedral and St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Renaissance scholars studied ancient Greek and Roman texts and came up with new ways of thinking about the world. They believed that people could improve their lives through education and hard work. This period is known as the rebirth or Renaissance because many new things were invented or discovered during this time.

The Renaissance was a time of rebirth for Europe’s culture, art, politics, and economy following the Middle Ages. The term “Renaissance” is used to describe a period that spanned roughly the 14th century to the 17th century.

It also saw the development of new technologies in fields such as banking, navigation and printing. Renaissance thinkers championed humanism – an emphasis on the value of the individual – and scientific inquiry, laying the groundwork for the Age of Enlightenment in the 18th century.

The Renaissance was a time of great creativity and change. Artistic movements like the Renaissance Mannerist and Baroque evolved, as did architectural styles like Gothic and Renaissance. In literature, Dante Alighieri, Geoffrey Chaucer and William Shakespeare were among the most famous authors of the period.

Science advanced with discoveries such as Kepler’s Laws of Planetary Motion and Harvey’s discovery of blood circulation. Banking became more sophisticated with the invention of double-entry bookkeeping, and exploration expanded with the discovery of new continents.

Despite its many achievements, the Renaissance was not without its problems. Inequality and social unrest increased, as did religious tensions. The period also saw a number of devastating natural disasters, including the Black Death pandemic and the Great Fire of London. Nevertheless, the Renaissance remains one of the most significant periods in European history. It heralded a new era of creativity, intellectualism and progress that would have a lasting impact on the world.

Artisans discovered that mathematics and art could be combined to make their measurements more accurate and ensure that an item was adequately supported both logically and proportionally.

Painters, in order to make their works “a window into the world,” frequently attempted but rarely succeeded. Artists also studied how light hits objects and how our eyes perceive light. Oil paint was introduced as a new type of paint. This permitted the artist to create texture, combine hues, and give themselves more time for adjustments before it dried.

Renaissance artists also started to create paintings with perspective. This gave the illusion of depth and made their paintings more realistic.

The Renaissance was a time when people were questioning everything that had been done in the past and looking for new ways to do things. They started to explore the world around them and learn about other cultures. This was also a time of great advances in science and technology. People began to use reason and observation instead of relying on what they were told by the church. The Renaissance was a time of great change and progress.

The Renaissance Period was a time of rebirth and new beginnings in European history. It was a time when people started to question the old ways of thinking and explore new ideas. This led to many advancements in art, science, and other fields. The Renaissance Period is often considered to be one of the most important times in human history.

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Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History Essays

The papacy during the renaissance.

Ring with the Name of Pope Paul II (r. 1464–71)

Ring with the Name of Pope Paul II (r. 1464–71)

Design for the Tomb of Pope Julius II della Rovere

Design for the Tomb of Pope Julius II della Rovere

Michelangelo Buonarroti

Storia di due amanti (Tale of Two Lovers)

Storia di due amanti (Tale of Two Lovers)

Enea Silvio Piccolomini

Michael Norris Department of Education, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

August 2007

A period of renewed power for the papacy began in the year 1420, when Pope Martin V (r. 1417–31) moved the papal seat back to Rome, following its long “Babylonian Captivity,” when it was based at Avignon, France (1309–77), and after the Great Schism (1378–1417), when several “popes” simultaneously claimed the office. This resurgence continued until 1527, when Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (r. 1519–56) sacked Rome, driving away many artists and disrupting papal power.

Though Rome had agricultural strength, it was not a commercial or banking center. The prosperity of the papacy depended, therefore, on its home markets, which was comprised of thousands of church bureaucrats and visiting pilgrims . More than 100,000 pilgrims flooded the city in some Jubilee years. (These special years, when one could receive a full pardon for sins during a visit to Rome, occurred once every twenty-five years, starting with the reign of Pope Paul II [r. 1464–71].) To secure Rome and its Papal States—the territories that the papacy controlled in central and northern Italy and southern France—popes became heavily involved in temporal matters, even leading armies, as was the case with the very worldly Pope Julius II (r. 1503–13).

During these years, popes strove to make Rome the capital of Christendom while projecting it, through art, architecture , and literature , as the center of a Golden Age of unity, order, and peace. Papal officials came from many nations to promote a united Church. Humanists in Rome, many of them foreign clerics involved with theology and some of them popes ( 25.30.17 ), studied all aspects of antiquity , edited its texts ( 62.93.1 ), and, under the influence of classical models, produced poems , plays, and new rhetorical genres such as the panegyric. Since many antiquities were unearthed in or near Rome, popes were well situated to become serious collectors of ancient art ; Julius II, for instance, took charge of both the Apollo Belvedere and Laocoön sculptures after they came to light. After Nicholas V (r. 1447–55) moved the papacy from the Lateran Palace to the Vatican Palace, he and his successors constructed or rebuilt fortifications, streets, bridges, and piazzas to ensure safe access to the Vatican area for pilgrims and processions. Looking to imperial Rome as a model, they conceived building and art projects to be political statements, and the best architects and artists congregated in Rome to achieve them, such as Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472). “Not for ambition,” Nicholas V said on his deathbed, “nor pomp, nor vainglory, nor fame, nor the eternal perpetuation of my name, but for the greater authority of the Roman church and the greater dignity of the Apostolic See… we conceived such buildings in mind and spirit.”

Notwithstanding, popes frequently made the glorification of themselves and their families a high priority. Rather than extend the work of their predecessors, they often sponsored personal projects, including lavish palaces and tombs for themselves and their relatives. Pope Pius II (r. 1458–64) even had his birthplace, the Tuscan hamlet of Corsignano, rebuilt under the direction of the famous Florentine architect Bernardo Rossellino (1407/10–ca. 1464). (Pius renamed the town Pienza around 1462.) In such an environment, corruption became rampant. For instance, Pope Sixtus IV (r. 1471–84), a Franciscan who came from a poor family, led a blameless personal life and was a great supporter of scholarship and the arts, but he was also guilty of the worst sort of nepotism, which spurred political unrest in Italy, financial confusion in the papacy, and a neglect of the spiritual interests of the Church.

Along with this, other aspects of papal worldliness fueled a long-standing discontent with the Church that culminated in the Reformation . The military exploits of Julius II have already been mentioned. But it was the granting of indulgences—the temporal remission of punishment in Purgatory—by Julius II and Leo X (r. 1513–21) to those who would give money to help rebuild Saint Peter’s in Rome that spurred Martin Luther to post his 95 Theses on the door of the Schlosskirche in Wittenberg in 1517. The ensuing controversy, in which Luther denied the authority of Rome and asserted that salvation came through faith in Christ alone, brought about a permanent rupture in Western Christendom.

Norris, Michael. “The Papacy during the Renaissance.” In Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History . New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2000–. http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/hd/pape/hd_pape.htm (August 2007)

Further Reading

Frommel, Christoph L. "Papal Policy: The Planning of Rome during the Renaissance." Journal of Interdisciplinary History 17, no. 1 (Summer 1986), pp. 39–65.

Partridge, Loren W. The Art of Renaissance Rome, 1400–1600 . New York: Abrams, 1996.

Stinger, Charles L. The Renaissance in Rome . Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1998.

Additional Essays by Michael Norris

  • Norris, Michael. “ Arms and Armor in Medieval Europe .” (October 2001)
  • Norris, Michael. “ Feudalism and Knights in Medieval Europe .” (October 2001)
  • Norris, Michael. “ Life of Jesus of Nazareth .” (originally published June 2008, last revised September 2008)

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Art During the Renaissance Essay


The word renaissance refers to a change of state or a revival. It is in context the change in cultural activities recorded among the European countries in the early times beginning from fourteenth century to the seventeenth century. The cultural change brought transformation in many aspects of lives.

Among the aspects transformed were economics, politics, social dynamics, religion, art and philosophy. This paper seeks to discuss a defining aspect of renaissance in a personal perspective. The paper will examine the state of art as a defining element of the renaissance period. It will examine the changing aspects of art that took place during the period.

Art- The Defining Element of Renaissance

Art is the category of elements that are “subject to aesthetic criteria”. It refers to the things that pertain to skills and techniques, involving emotional appeal in a significant way. Renaissance in general took place in the fifteenth and the sixteenth century. [1] It was a moment of change that saw the transformations of the historical middle period human beings to the current modern man.

Though the artistic revolution is considered in this article as the major element of the renaissance, it was a result of the revolutions in the other elements such as the scientific, philosophical and the linguistic advancements. The advancement of knowledge and themes was a motivation to the development of better techniques and styles in the field of art.

The identity of the art as a form of creation and respect accorded to the artists for their skills became a boost to the development of art during the period. The artistic renaissance can be distinguished into three categories: the first category is known as the early renaissance followed by high renaissance and lastly the late renaissance. [2]

The new era of art in Italy was marked in Florence. The developments saw the inclusion of mathematical aspects that enabled a three dimensional representation in painting. This development was achieved as early as the fifteenth century. The then early painting methods were at best crude. There were two commonly used methods: tempera and fresco. One technique, the tempera, involved painting on a dry plane.

Colors from items like vegetables and eggs were used to copy expressions from drawings. Another technique, the fresco, was done on wet surface. This latter technique was mostly used in paintings for church use. On drying of the plaster used, the drawing colors became part of the painting.

The evolution saw the establishment of a painting school that trained on a two dimensional picture production. The religious paintings at that moment brought about sense of respect and nobility and triggered peoples’ emotions and interest on the painted pictures; most of this was in respect to religion.

High Renaissance

The high renaissance began in the time of the renowned Leonardo da Vinci. The paintings of the time were more enhanced with more identifiable originality. The artistic qualities like landscaping and expression of attitude and gesture was then evident in the paintings.

The paintings were expressed in “simplicity; austere rejection of the incidental and the merely pretty; nobility and grandeur in the figures involved in actions of depth and significance.” [3] The art of painting was taken a notch higher by the introduction of oil paints. Further developments followed into the spread of art revolution to outside Italy. [4]

According to Paoletti and Radke, the field of art had developed significantly by the fifteenth century. They depict a painted picture of an organized scene that involved quite a number of aspects.

The description, according to the authors, was a painting of the 15 th century. This illustrates how drastic the developments were during the renaissance period. The evolution by this time had taken a totally different dimension with clarity in the paintings. Other important developments were the introduction of tempera, oil paintings, mosaic and stained glass among others.

The developments also saw a variety of styles and tone to express emotions and situations. Different styles were introduced on different subjects depending on whether they were devotional or narrative. The art renaissance was an effective element during the 14 th century in urban centers where Christian religious monuments and designs of structures was a necessity. [5]

According to Brotton, a study in England indicates that art and individuality were celebrated as “defining features of renaissance.” [6] Elements like politics, science and economics have dismissed on the grounds of being irrelevant to the aspect of renaissance.

Art has been accredited by appraisal words like “the pleasure of the sense and the imagination.” [7] Art in its aspects was more identified as an element of the change than the other aspects.

During the renaissance artists represented the observable features of the world in a more precise and natural way. Though in a negatively perceived way, the artistic monuments that were put in churches were the major reason for the protestant movement that saw the revolt against the Roman Catholic Church. The Catholic Church however still used the artists to make appeals to people.

The protestant movement was perceived as a break through to real worship among Christians and the perceived freedom of worship can be attributed to the art presentations that were put in the catholic churches.

Besides the religious revolution, art is still being used to pass religious information in terms of paintings even at the current time. [8]

Graham also recounted that the patrons of renaissance in Italy competed among themselves in artistic works that, in their opinion, would give them immortality. A very important aspect about art was raised; patrons of renaissance themselves identified art as a tool to immortality.

The association of the patrons, not just of art but of the entire renaissance, to associate with art is enough credibility. The association of art to immortality can also be seen as the status that was accorded to art at that time. The interaction of these patrons with the artists accorded status not only to the artists, but to the entire field of art. [9]

Another credit to the art aspect of renaissance is the information about Filippo Breunelleschi. Fillippo who is identified as the first great architect of renaissance was an artist. The status accorded to him and the fact that renaissance is considered to have origins in Italy is an indication that art was the origin of renaissance.

It can therefore be argued that art was the basis for the movement and a credit to art over the positive effects of the cultural movement that followed. [10] In a probably personalized view, art was identified as a way that was used to represent God and the earthly elements that he created. Art was also used to express science for example the concepts of anatomy. The events of renaissance also led to discoveries and triggered pleasure among people.

Renaissance was an event of advancement in different aspects of life. It is believed to have originated in Italy as early as the 13 th century. It was a continuous process categorized into three periods. The development of art as well has its origin was associated with the city of Florence in Italy.

The development of art was not an exclusive or independent aspect but it incorporated within itself aspects of mathematics. The products of the art like paintings also became significantly valuables in religion. The artists were accorded status for their work and this is an indication of how important art was.

Its inclusion in scientific representation of anatomy and religious representation gives it diverse backgrounds that originate from its origin. Art can also be identified as a source of information.

It has emotional and intellectual attachments that elicit reactive actions like the religious revolution that was as a result of artistic placements in churches. Art was therefore a central element of renaissance and the other elements can be seen to have been products of the development in art.

Brotton, Jerry. The Renaissance: a very short introduction. New York, NY: Cengage, 2006.

Eurasia, Carrie. “ Italian Renaissance Art. ” The World Wide Web Virtual Library, 1999. Web.

Fitzpatrick, Anne. The Renaissance. Mankato, MN: The Creative Company, 2005.

Graham, Andrew. Renaissance . California: University of California Press, 1999.

Hay, Denys. The Italian Renaissance in its historical background . Cambridge: Cambridge, 1977.

Paoletti, John & Radke, Gary. Art in Renaissance Italy . London, UK: Laurence King, 2006.

Pioch, Nicholas. “ La Renaissance: Italy. ” The Public Library and Digital Archive, 2002. Web.

Putatunda, Rita. “Italian Culture: Renaissance Art and Artists.” Buzzle, 2011. Web.

  • Hay, Denys., The Italian Renaissance in its historical background , Cambridge: Cambridge, 1977.
  • Pioch, Nicholas. La Renaissance: Italy, (The Public Library and Digital Archive, 2002).
  • Eurasia, Carrie. ITALIAN RENAISSANCE ART , (The World Wide Web Virtual Library, 1999).
  • Paoletti, John & Radke, Gary., Art in Renaissance Italy , London, UK: Laurence King, 2006.
  • Brotton, Jerry., The Renaissance: a very short introduction, New York, NY: Cengage, 2006.
  • Fitzpatrick, Anne., The Renaissance, Mankato, MN: The Creative Company, 2005.
  • Graham, Andrew, Renaissance, California: University of California Press, 1999.
  • Putatunda, Rita. Italian Culture: Renaissance Art and Artists , (Buzzle, 2011).
  • Chicago (A-D)
  • Chicago (N-B)

IvyPanda. (2023, November 26). Art During the Renaissance. https://ivypanda.com/essays/art-during-the-renaissance/

"Art During the Renaissance." IvyPanda , 26 Nov. 2023, ivypanda.com/essays/art-during-the-renaissance/.

IvyPanda . (2023) 'Art During the Renaissance'. 26 November.

IvyPanda . 2023. "Art During the Renaissance." November 26, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/art-during-the-renaissance/.

1. IvyPanda . "Art During the Renaissance." November 26, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/art-during-the-renaissance/.


IvyPanda . "Art During the Renaissance." November 26, 2023. https://ivypanda.com/essays/art-during-the-renaissance/.

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UVa Wise Medieval-Renaissance Conference XXXVII (6/21; 9/19-21)

Keynote Address

Matthew Biberman

University of Louisville

  Teaching Milton Reading Shakespeare  

  • The University of Virginia’s College at Wise Medieval-Renaissance Conference promotes scholarly discussion in all disciplines of Medieval and Renaissance studies. The conference welcomes proposals for graduate and undergraduate papers and panels on Medieval or Renaissance literature, language, history, philosophy, science, pedagogy, and the arts.  Abstracts for papers should be 300 or fewer words; undergraduate proposals should include the name of a faculty mentor.  Proposals for panels should include: a) title of the panel; b) names and institutional affiliations of the chair and all panelists; c) abstracts for papers to be presented (300 or fewer words).  A branch campus of the University of Virginia, the University of Virginia’s College at Wise is a public four-year liberal arts college located in the scenic Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Virginia.  For more information, please visit our website: https://www.uvawise.edu/academics/departments/language-literature/mediev...

  Deadline for Submissions : June 21, 2024

Please direct submissions on English Language and Literature and requests for general information to:

Kenneth J. Tiller, Department of Language and Literature, [email protected]

Submissions on Art, Music, and European Language and Literature:

Amelia J. Harris, Academic Dean, [email protected]  

Submissions on History or Philosophy:

Donald Leech, Department of History and Philosophy, [email protected]

Submissions for Undergraduate Papers and Panels:

Jobn Mark Adrian, Department of Language and Literature, [email protected]

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The Silence Is the Loudest Part of Renaissance: A Film

Portrait of Angelica Jade Bastién

Like the album and tour with which it shares a name, Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé seeks to be a celebration of Black queer joy. From the start, Beyoncé preaches her desire to create a “safe space.” “Renaissance means a new beginning,” she says; it’s a balm “after all we’ve been through in the world.” But what exactly is she referring to? The onslaught of death and illness brought on by the continuing pandemic? The laws aimed at criminalizing trans children and adults? The rising misogyny, homophobia, and anti-Blackness that leads to grave violence? The various, ongoing genocides? Beyoncé gives us no context for what she’s referring to or how it touches the shores of a life dominated and driven by the kind of wealth that insulates her from harm. Her words reflect broadly liberal pablum meant to give the appearance of care and mean just enough that her fans can project radicalness upon her but not so much that she would ruffle anyone enough for her to lose money or be forced to stand for something.

Beyoncé has been a remote star for years, someone far more content with having her dedicated Hive project upon her than speaking for herself. This makes the behind-the-scenes moments of her latest concert documentary, which are so primed toward engendering intimacy, rather curious. Every time you think you’ve seen behind the curtain, you realize there’s another curtain upon another stage. This isn’t new for her. Consider previous projects like the labored 2013 film Life Is But a Dream and the more successfully realized Homecoming in 2019. From this vantage point, fake intimacy is a currency she utilizes to give the appearance of revelation even if she actually remains as closed as a fist. Beyoncé positions herself not as a goddess bestowing a peek of humanity to her loyal subjects but as a relatable figure we can and should connect with. But if you have cameras on you all the time, even when you’re supposed to be “off,” when do you take down the performative mask? It isn’t even when she has knee surgery, a moment carefully documented on camera. For Beyoncé, a woman known to film her every move and house it in a temperature-controlled archive, everything is performance and each performance is merely a means of brand extension.

Opening with renditions of “Dangerously in Love” and “Flaws and All,” Renaissance: A Film centers the aesthetic might of Beyoncé’s vision. It feels particularly powerful in the ways costuming and editing meet. Beyoncé’s fashion is a fantasia of ecstatic color: a lime-green gown with a delicate hood and fabric bunched as if meant to resemble smoke unfurling; a glittering royal-blue bodysuit with thigh-high boots and garters; a bodysuit, gloves, a cowboy hat, and boots encrusted with jewels, their pattern evoking fire the colors of ice and ocean depths; a headpiece and cinched-waist number that resembles a couture queen bee. When the film flutters through various looks while keeping Beyoncé framed in the same position, it has the effect of thumbing through a keen artist’s scrapbook, shoring up the notion that no performer quite matches her sense of detail.

The transitions between songs — in the tour’s set list and in how gracefully the film is edited — are also a highlight. Her voice astounds whether hewing toward a gentle revelry on “Flaws and All,” sensuous allure in “Savage (Remix)” or growling swagger in “Formation.” Beyoncé focuses on her singing more than her dancing, which, compared to previous tours, feels subdued. She attributes this to her belief that stripping down a work to its essentials can be more powerful than the maximalist impulse. But this tour is anything but simple. There were around 160 trucks used merely to transfer the stage from stadium to stadium, and the crowd sometimes numbered up to 70,000. These are not intimate shows but a demonstration of excessive spectacle. Instead, the lower-energy, minimal movement feels like a byproduct of her knee surgery, the limits of her physicality in her 40s, and her having planned this tour soon after the physically daunting, beloved Coachella performances outlined in Homecoming .

With the time that could have been spent on limning the dynamics of her dancing, Beyoncé instead carves out space to highlight the artistry of her dedicated crew: stage hands and builders decked in shining chrome, backup singers and crucial musicians that share the live stage, seamstresses and designers, makeup artists and hair stylists, and dance captains like Amari Marshall, whose thickness and beautiful physicality casts a light all her own. But the film is still closer to an archival monument for the greatness of its performer, writer, and director. “Being a Black woman … it’s always a fight. Eventually they realize this bitch will not give up,” Beyoncé says with a mirthful quality as the documentary touches on the disagreements and minor conflicts she’s had along the way while bringing Renaissance to life after having “no days off” for over a month. Crucially, the nature of these disagreements — who within her team actually disagrees with her and any concrete tensions Beyoncé faces professionally because of being a Black woman — are never illuminated. We have to take her word for it.

Motherhood is another angle that Renaissance returns to again and again. We see Crystal, a trumpet player in the band, whose growing pregnancy is a source of pride in the documentary as well as a way to legitimize Beyoncé’s statement that this tour is really a family affair. It presents Beyoncé as a loving, all-powerful matriarch who cultivates a safe space for not only her audience but those who work for her. Yet it is how Beyoncé sees herself as a mother to her actual children that most interests me. In her ploys toward relatability, her greatest advantage is how she utilizes her blood kin. Her eldest child, Blue Ivy, is a crucial fixture as the documentary tracks her evolution within the tour. When Blue Ivy originally asks to dance onstage, her mother says “no” before agreeing to let her perform only once. In her first appearance, Blue is a little stiff and daunted, and after coming across criticisms online, she trains with even further determination and focus, as Beyoncé looks on with pride. But the warmth of her gaze is freighted by the ways she positions herself as relatable even though her wealth and power makes her anything but. Later, Beyoncé remarks that she is just like any other working mother who “brings her children to school and takes them shopping for their first day.” The next scene shows her calmly tucking her children in to sleep on a private jet.

the renaissance essay

The posturing of the tour as ultimately a close-knit family affair continues with how the presence of a beloved Knowles family member, the deceased Uncle Johnny, is felt in Renaissance . He was instrumental in not only raising the Knowles children but in crafting the early costumes of Destiny’s Child. His presence in her life and tour as a Black gay man from the South is an extension of the album’s utilization of house music and the tour’s avowed celebration of queer joy with the presence of her backup dancers the Dolls and ballroom commentator Kevin JZ Prodigy. There’s a clip in the documentary of Beyoncé name-checking Uncle Johnny while speaking at the 2016 CFDA Fashion Awards, which is meant to outline that his presence has always mattered to her career. Though Johnny died of AIDS complications , you won’t learn that from Renaissance . The only mention of his final days comes when Beyoncé’s cousin, Angie Beyince, off-handedly refers to his hospice care. At first blush, the refusal to mention AIDS is odd in a documentary, album, and tour so primed on queer Black joy. But this is by design. For there is no star of such magnitude who more cunningly positions themselves as apolitical than Beyoncé. Her performance as an icon is meant to connect with the broadest number of people possible. To do that, her refusal to stand for anything specific beyond the watered-down treatises on Black excellence must be maintained.

With “Formation” from 2016’s Lemonade , Beyoncé alchemized the aesthetics of Black radicalism. In the video, she is splayed out on a cop car in New Orleans that descends into murky waters. In her Super Bowl performance from that year, she and her dancers were decked in an all-black ensemble with raised fists meant to evoke the style of the Black Panthers without the group’s moral clarity and political conviction. When Beyoncé uses their aesthetic along with the words of Malcolm X, it behooves audiences and critics alike to hold her to a greater standard. Her apoliticism should not slide by. It should be noted that Renaissance is playing in Israel, which has led to “Break My Soul” becoming an anthem of sorts for Israelis waving their flag in screenings. Beyoncé has yet to make a statement about Palestine. But this silence is itself a statement. Perhaps she isn’t apolitical so much as an emblem of Black capitalism and wealth that seeks to maintain its stature. Renaissance: A Film demonstrates that Black joy isn’t inherently radical. In fact, without a sense of materiality, Black joy becomes directionless and easy to co-opt by the varied forces of power that are fueled by anti-Blackness. Beyoncé is an icon who has carefully maintained a sense of accessibility to anyone, anywhere, for any reason. Black musical traditions may have the potential for radicalism, but Beyoncé’s neutrality demonstrates they aren’t inherently that way. More than anything, Renaissance is a testament that Beyoncé is a brand that stands for absolutely nothing beyond its own greatness.

Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated what album “Formation” was on.

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The Harlem Renaissance wasn’t just nightclubs. It was about ideas.

The met takes a look at a volatile, exuberant, contested moment in black history.

the renaissance essay

NEW YORK — Two women stare directly at the viewer with such intensity that you hardly notice the thing that had just engaged them, perhaps moments before the artist captured their likeness. The young woman on the right holds an open book while the figure on the left rests her hand upon her chin, as if she has just been studying, intently, the page in front of her.

The 1925 painting, “Two Public School Teachers,” is by Winold Reiss, a White German artist who immigrated to the United States in 1913 and became a leading portrait painter of the Harlem Renaissance. The Met includes some half dozen works by Reiss in “The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism,” a landmark exhibition largely devoted to portraiture.

Reiss’s “Two Public School Teachers” was, like many of his paintings, controversial. It was displayed at a 1925 exhibition of Reiss’s work and became the focus of strong feelings. At a public meeting where the exhibition and Reiss’s art were discussed, one man reportedly said, “Should he meet those two schoolteachers in the street, he would be afraid of them.”

Stare at it as long as you like: It’s hard to imagine one’s way into the man’s feelings. There is nothing fearsome in these two women, and the comment about their striking fear into a passerby was probably made by a Black viewer. What he apparently feared was that they would scare White people, or present a view of Harlem that would confirm White prejudice. And so, the painting perfectly enacts an idea that is central to the exhibition, curated by Denise Murrell: double consciousness.

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W.E.B. Du Bois, who is represented in the show by another Reiss portrait, made the idea central to thought about African American identity in his 1903 “The Souls of Black Folk”: “It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness, — an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings.”

Reiss’s painting uses two women, sitting close together, to suggest the doubleness of consciousness, but it also seems to imagine a way out of this painful trap of self-consciousness and masking. The book the women read, whose contents they will pass on to their students, is effectively blank, with a large square of empty space and only a few vague suggestions of type, or perhaps the empty ledger lines of a piece of music yet to be written. That blankness can stand for whatever fear the young women may have prompted in White people, or it could stand for new, unwritten narratives and ideas that they will add to the world’s storehouse.

The word “new” is also central to the exhibition, which not only captures a vivid sense of cultural flowering in Harlem between the First and Second world wars but also traces the ideological fault lines that dominated so much of the discourse about the period. The word appears in the title of Alain Locke’s anthology “The New Negro: An Interpretation,” and it recurs in myriad conversations about a new identity, or new consciousness rising among Black people who had migrated to cities in the North, including to Harlem in New York.

That aggregation of talent, energy and audience created what felt like a moment of rupture and renewal, a chance to reinvent Black life and Black consciousness, to escape the self-imprisoning consciousness that Du Bois anatomized and the even more debilitating quiescence and accommodation advocated by Booker T. Washington, who belonged to an earlier generation of Black leadership.

How new should the art be that represented this moment of renewal? Should it look to the new artistic modernism ascendant in Europe and increasingly in New York? Or did the times call for new ideas but packaged in time-tested and widely popular aesthetic styles and media? The debate wasn’t a private conversation played out among artists, but a public and often painful one that caused division between older Black elites and the “new Negro” artists, critics and advocates.

As with so many stylistic arguments, it’s hard to understand the force and power of the debate from our current perspective. A traditional 1944 portrait of Marian Anderson by Laura Wheeler Waring, whose style tended to be formal and conservative, is monumental and magnificent, as if her mere force of presence was summoning the landscape, seen in a corner of a painting within the painting. But among the highlights of this exhibition is a gallery of large-scale paintings by Aaron Douglas, pastel-colored, flattened and stylized images that refashion a heroic narrative of African American history and striving. Both the traditional Anderson portrait and the modernist visions of Douglas are striking, and moving.

At the time, however, one might have made reductionist arguments about both ways of making art. Ideas and history seem to fall out of traditional portraiture, which captures psychology and physical presence, and real people don’t seem to exist in art that stylizes and abstracts familiar realities. Perhaps there is an allusion to both criticisms in Palmer Hayden’s 1932-1933 “Fetiche et Fleurs.” It is a still life, as conventional a form as any in the artistic canon, but it includes a Fang reliquary mask alongside the standard bouquet of flowers. The masklike face of the wooden carving is wide-eyed and looks a little shocked to be in the same image with an eruption of flowers. Another detail adds to the mix of humor and intensity: an ashtray with a half-smoked cigarette, with a hint of red glow from having been recently put to the lips of the person whose absence it registers. This is still life, but freighted with both ideas about the idealized origins of African American art and simultaneous presence and absence of the painter’s body and mind.

The artists and critics animated by the new spirit may have differed stylistically, and Du Bois and Locke differed profoundly about the purpose of art. The former embraced its propagandistic value, its power to craft public identity and opinion. The latter argued for art that transcended mere advertising or advocacy for Black people in favor of creativity that grew organically and authentically out of the new spirit, engaged with the world, and ready to depict it with unflinching honesty.

Looking at contemporary art today, it isn’t easy to discern a winner in this argument. But the remarkable thing about the artists on view at the Met is their bravery. In another painting by Hayden that still shocks, “Nous Quatre à Paris,” the artist embraces and accentuates caricature and stereotypes of African physiognomy. But using stereotypes and caricatures doesn’t mean embracing them, and Hayden could be saying any number of things: This is not how I see me, but how you see me; your stereotypes are manifestly ridiculous; by using them, I dismantle their power . It was also a painting made in France, where many Black Americans found a refuge from American racism if not from French racial condescension and colonial attitudes.

Courage and honesty are slightly more complex when it comes to assessing the exhibition. Nowhere in the wall texts is any mention made of “Harlem on My Mind: The Cultural Capital of Black America, 1900-1968,” an infamous 1969 Met exhibition that neglected to include any work by Black artists. (It is discussed in the exhibition catalogue.) That exhibition was one of the first and most important of the cultural battles within the museum sector that continue to this day. While the new exhibition remedies the errors, omissions and egregious erasure of the earlier one, not mentioning this ugly precedent is another kind of erasure, and inexcusable.

But the larger choices and curation are exemplary. The Harlem Renaissance was a moment of volatile creativity that unleashed both joy and pain; the soundtrack was jazz which, if one listens even with the most fitful attention, is music that captures both exuberance and alienation. There was a decided undercurrent of elitism among many of the movement’s leaders, a sense that the equality they sought would be most fully realized when White and Black intellectual and creative leaders were in regular communion. The exhibition doesn’t flinch from those realities.

In 1926, Langston Hughes articulated the call to clarity and honesty: “We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame. If white people are pleased we are glad. If they are not, it doesn’t matter. We know we are beautiful. And ugly too.”

Frequently, throughout the show, you see that call answered, not with self-lacerating criticism or internalized double-consciousness, but with moments of striking transcendence, as if the act of seeing oneself is foundational to creation of identity. Often, this is in self-portraits, including a haunting 1941 watercolor, all in shades of blue, made by Samuel Joseph Brown Jr. Sometimes, it is in portraits of others, especially Beauford Delaney’s 1941 “Dark Rapture (James Baldwin),” in which the gay American author is represented so saturated with color that chromatic energy becomes a metaphor for the unencumbered mind.

Finally, “Harlem Renaissance” also underscores the racial openness common to many of the major figures of the movement, which inspired and engaged people from across the racial spectrum both in the United States and abroad. There were essential figures, like Reiss, who was White; and there was sustained dialogue among White and Black artists, including across the Atlantic Ocean. Removing works by Matisse, Soutine and Munch would have made more room for work by Black artists, but it would have erased an important historic moment in this narrative.

Murrell, the exhibition curator, opened whole new avenues of study when she mounted a 2018 exhibition called “Posing Modernity: The Black Model From Manet and Matisse to Today,” which elevated the often anonymous Black figures found in 19th-century painting to a subject of study and interest. This exhibition also opens new doors for study, especially with its final work, Romare Bearden’s 1971 “The Block,” a room-size painted collage on Masonite depicting a street like those found in Harlem.

The Harlem Renaissance was an urban phenomenon, and its leaders were distinctly self-conscious about the city as a site of creative exchange. Now I would love to know how Locke and Du Bois were read outside that context, and what kind of art was made by artists working far from Harlem. And cities change and evolve, and by the time Bearden made his work, the word “urban” was becoming a pejorative among too many Americans. The history of the Harlem Renaissance didn’t end with the Second World War, and while this show hints at how it was processed during the Civil Rights era, that could be its own show, eagerly anticipated.

The Harlem Renaissance and Transatlantic Modernism is on view at the Metropolitan Museum of Art through July 28. metmuseum.org .

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Renaissance Construction is one of the common development companies in Russia, planning to build a mixed-use project within Moscow City, a new development area along...

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the renaissance essay

Appeals court ruling upending an Edgewater condo termination could put buyouts statewide in limbo

Russia’s largest construction project fraught with setbacks

But the Kremlin is pushing developers to keep going

Moscow City

A recession has now stretched into its sixth quarter in Russia, and office vacancies across the Moscow are sitting at 20 percent. But on a riverfront site 2.5 miles west of the Kremlin, the three tallest skyscrapers in Europe have all hit the market over the last three years. More buildings are on their way, and despite the dire economic circumstance, the Kremlin is telling developers to keep building.

The Kremlin’s hope is for developers to complete Moscow City, a modern office district similar to Canary Wharf and La Défense, in time for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, according to Bloomberg.

The 1,227-foot Federation Tower, Europe’s tallest building, will open by 2017, and two more skyscrapers in Europe’s top 10 are expected to rise by kickoff.

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“The government hates that construction has dragged on for so long,” Yulia Nikulicheva, head of strategic consulting at real estate brokerage JLL in Moscow, told Bloomberg. “Moscow City was always about prestige.”

The entire project has suffered from delays and state-owned companies and government agencies occupy almost half the available office space in Moscow City currently. Nevertheless, the building goes on – if in a more scaled down version.

“We took a six-month breather at the end of 2014 to reassess,” Renaissance Development CEO Irfan Kaya said. His company is developing Neva Towers, which will be the final pieces of Moscow City. “But we never considered pulling the plug. In development, it’s use it or lose it, and that was never an option.” [Bloomberg] – Christopher Cameron

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The History of Moscow City

  • Categories: Russia Travel and Tourism Industry

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Published: Feb 12, 2019

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the renaissance essay


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