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Renaissance art

Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 11:36 am
by Heith
I was certain we already had this topic, but no! Alas, this is to all things Renaissance!

Lately I've been digging more into the Renaissance art era, in various countries, although most my eye is mostly focused to Italy, England and Netherlands. Perhaps some of my ponderings can be beneficial to others interested of the subject, and I would hope to benefit from your thoughts and ideas. It is, after all, such a massively long period of time, which produced such an amount of high culture that is difficult to understand.

As an artist, I applaud the Renaissance period's beneficial effect towards the recognition of my own profession. Before that artists were not respected, and they were considered only craftspeople. Painters were paid for frescoes by the metre, quite literally. I'm sure I've said that before. It's important though.

There are a numerous things which seem beneficial and worth looking into in the Renaissance art period. It quite literally feels like every page in a book on Renaissance art is a pearl waiting to be discovered. In every gesture, position, symbol of these paintings there is a meaning; a secret language runs through them. Although partially lost forever, it can mostly still be re-ropened, studied and understood. (And no, I have not read DaVinci code, nor do I intend to)

I am now really interested of the idea of grotesque art. This comes from the italian word grotto (a cave), grottesco. If we consider this word alone, it can offer queues: a cave is something which is dark, a place outside the normal, where hidden things are. And indeed, that is the way it was first discovered: old paintings that were discovered in old Roman basements. Grotesque art was first referring to these things, with mythical beasts or things that were in the process of metamorphosis. For example, gargoyles are an example of a grotesque. Renaissance art had many examples of an intrigue towards that which is unknown, bizarre or strange -so very much having to do with the same kind of questions that we work with. Grotesque art can refer to something which at the same time makes one feel both disgust and empathy. As an example, DaVinci studied grotesque faces. As a kind of a sitenote, of DaVinci it has to be mentioned that he found being around people quite intolerable, and did at times withdraw away from everyone and stopped painting. Yet it is clear when looking at his drawings in particular, that he was full of the purest possible form of love. Each line of his drawings is filled with it. Hieronymous Bosch, also in some ways a grotesque painter (but of course to most people, to feel empathy for the devils in hell requires more skill than to feel empathetic towards a human being, so this is a little bit subjective view of grotesque)

Later on, the style and use of grotesque adapted. A more contemporary example of a thing like this might be the movie Elephant Man or Freaks.

It's this marriage of repulsion and empathy which intrigues me, and I find it to be quite satanic; and I see this also relating to the ideas of Christ, who would bless and pity those whom others shunned.

Re: Renaissance art

Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 7:04 pm
by obnoxion
Of the four "TMHT-artists", da Vinci is my favourite. I consider him something of a pre-symbolist. I think he changed the emblematic art of portrait into symbolic, by introducing subtle psychological states to his subjects. Also, his background landscapes and the enigmatic hand gestures are superbly symbolic.

Actually, the half-smile of Mone Lisa is used to treat depression in cognitive psychology... Oh, and last week I read that Batman logo (which I love) was inspired by a drawing by da Vinci.

Re: Renaissance art

Posted: Tue Jan 23, 2018 8:15 pm
by Heith
I just re-read my previous post and the grammar was just appalling and things were not presented well at all. My most sincere apologies, I hope no one was terribly put off by my poor English!

Since you mentioned to enjoy da Vinci so much, it may be of interest to know that my artwork which I sent a photo to you on email a few weeks ago, actually contains re-arranged pieces of da Vinci's work. In case this further opens or reveals the work to you. But enough of my personal little attempts at art.

When reading of the life of da Vinci -which I did ages ago, so I can only recall glimpses, I can't help but to compare some of the things in him being very close to archetypes that are presented in for example Hesse's novel Narcissus and Goldmund which I guess could be said, represents a kind of ideal in the form of two people, and the difficulty of finding unity and balance for both. But perhaps da Vinci has influenced art and the world in such a way, that these wilder parts of his psyche simply are almost synonyms to an artist (capriciousness, quick to boredom -just like Goldmund is)

Actually, now that I think about it, in some ways Hesse's characters seem to both portray Narcissus and Goldmund's identities (the latter being withdrawn, with quiet courtesy). Mind you, I'm merely fiddling with ideas here and don't suggest that the two would be modelled after da Vinci.
obnoxion wrote:Actually, the half-smile of Mone Lisa is used to treat depression in cognitive psychology... Oh, and last week I read that Batman logo (which I love) was inspired by a drawing by da Vinci.
Interesting. As you know, renaissance era was very much touched by the idea of melancholy; a state of purified, beautiful sadness or sorrow, a kind of pious state. This shows for example clearly in English renaissance lute music (Dowland). The sadness and piety is quite obvious in many paintings and sculptures too, of course because so much of it had to do with Christian symbolism, of Christ's sufferings. This I think is a kind of, shall we say, imagery of purified suffering, which leads not downwards into darkness and chaos, but upwards into light and to God. Not sure if that made much sense, these are sort of half formed ideas.