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A Comparison: The Renaissance Vs Impressionism

Essay by   •  February 9, 2016  •  Research Paper  •  788 Words (4 Pages)  •  1,234 Views

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A comparison: The Renaissance vs Impressionism


A comparison: The Renaissance vs. Impressionism

The focus of this paper is to compare the art of two separate time periods that have helped shape the world of art as we know it. The two time periods I have chosen to address are infamous for the changes that occurred and the way art is viewed in the world today. This paper will examine the Renaissance and Impressionism eras.

The Renaissance art period began around the year 1350 and ended near the year 1600. Some of the most influential artists lived during this time. Among those artists were Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti and Raphael Sanzio. Most artists during this period experimented with things such as perspective, shadows and light, emotion, realism and naturalism. Many artists of this time were interested in human anatomy. Inspiration for what was depicted in their works came from the forms and ideas of ancient Greece and Rome as well as from the ideas of the church. This was a time of rebirth and artists had the desire to create forms of art to better express a new, more confident mood of the times.

Impressionism occurred during the 19th century. The period featured artists such as Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, and Vincent Van Gogh. A public outcry occurred during 1863 when a number of artists had been refused entry to the official Salon. In response, Salon de Refuses was formed and showcased works by the artists that had been refused entrance. It caused a scandal as the works featured unconventional themes and styles. Art work during this period included small, thin brush strokes, open composition, ordinary subject matter and lighter, muted colors. These features can be noted in works like Starry Night (Van Gogh, 1889) and Vase with Fifteen Sunflowers (Van Gogh, 1888).

Though some impressionists may have used ideas similar to those of the Renaissance, most of the ideas used were closer to realism. The focus of many works created were still lifes with less detailed images. Whereas many of the works from the Renaissance period were more detailed with noticeable features. The two time periods also differed in their choice of color pallet with impressionists using lighter, and muted colors with softer edges and the Renaissance using darker earth tones with hard edges. Other differences included different types of brush strokes and ideas. The Renaissance period had a heavy focus on religious themes, while the Impressionism era based many of their works of everyday things like people, decor and food.

The later Impressionism era departed from the more classical style of the Renaissance art leaving behind the more religious themes. The artists of the impressionism era were seeking a new way to showcase their world by using new techniques, colors and themes. The impressionistic art depicted the artist”s visions in a more modern way.

        The Mona Lisa ( Da Vinci, 1503-06 ) and Starry Night ( Van Gogh, 1889) are similar in that they are some of the most iconic pieces of work from their respective art periods. They perfectly reflect the elements characteristic of each period. These two paintings differ in that The Mona Lisa ( Da Vinci, 1503-06) features earth like tones and detailed more realistic images with mountainous landscape scenery in the background. In contrast, Starry Night ( Van Gogh, 1889) utilizes blues, greens, and yellows and depicts a less realistic image of a town. One other notable change is the difference in the style of brush strokes and lines between the two paintings.

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