Example Of How Renaissance Artists Used Perspective, Proportion, AND Color In Their Paintings To Organize Human Interactions In A Significant Way Essay
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“‘Paintingshould be, Monsieur, a faithful copy of beautiful nature.’” –Jean-Georges Noverre in Letters on Dancing and Ballet quoted in “The Choreographic Imagination in Renaissance Art” by Olivia Powell (p. xvii).
The above quotation made by a dancer, critic, and ballet master of the Paris Opera (albeit for a short period of time) indicates how the paintings and other forms of visual art during the Renaissance Period did their best to imitate life. In fact, the Renaissance Period played a significant role in developing techniques in art (specifically painting) that were true to the object or subject that it represented. In fact, it can be argued that although paintings during the Renaissance period were not completely innovative because they still borrowed some concepts from the Classical Period, Renaissance artists still were able to use cutting edge techniques in their paintings so they can be realistic. They did this primarily by relying on elements of perspective, proportion, and color. In so doing, artists during this period were able to organize human interactions in a meaningful way.
In the painting done by Raphael in 1506 entitled, Madonna del Cardellino, the painter relied on the use of perspective to “give the painting depth” (Brett & Kate McKay par. 16). In addition, Raphael’s use of proportions within the painting allowed the infantile depictions of Jesus and John the Baptist, along with Mary, to look solid. When the artist is able to use perspective and proportions in such a realistic manner then the viewer is more easily able to emotionally connect with subjects within the painting.
Mossacio in 1425 used color in his painting, Tribute Money, to indicate distance and closeness within a painting from a specific angle. For instance, the mountains and trees in the distance, along with Peter, who is next to the water, are paler in comparison to the rest of the disciples and Jesus, who are placed in the foreground. Furthermore, the artist used color to indicate the direction in which the light hit the subjects by creating shadows that “all fall way in the same direction” (Brett & Kate McKay par. 17). This did not only provide the figures with “three-dimensionality” to the painting but the use of colors (along with the light and shadow technique) allows the viewer to emotionally and mentally interact with the painting to the point that he believes that he can walk right through it, and is able to be within touching distance of Jesus who is in the center of the picture. This is because the colors create the “appearance of a three-dimensional space” (“Color in Renaissance Painting” par. 4).
In the painting, The Last Supper, by Leonardo Davinci in 1498, the emotions of the twelve disciples are clearly depicted when they react to the revelation that one of them would betray Jesus. Davinci allows each disciple to varying facial expressions and body languages to indicate how felt about Jesus’s revelation. It should be noted that Jesus is placed at the “vanishing point for all the perspective lines” (Brett & Kate McKay par. 18). Therefore, this places Jesus once again at the center of the painting, and it allows the viewer to physically focus on and emotionally connect with him.
In conclusion, artists during the Renaissance Period used elements of color, proportion, and perspective to create realistic depictions of the worlds they desired to create in their paintings. In so doing, they were able to make their paintings more realistic. Consequently, it became easier for them to capture human emotions in the faces and other physical features of the subjects of their paintings, and evoke emotional responses from the viewers of the paintings. When the artists were able to successfully accomplish this, they were then able to organize human interactions in a significant manner.
“Color in Renaissance Painting (Education at the Getty).” Color in Renaissance Painting (Education at the Getty). The J. Paul Getty Museum. Web. 4 Jan. 2016. <http://www.getty.edu/education/kids_families/do_at_home/artscoops/color_renaissance.html>.
McKay, Brett, and Kate McKay. “Renaissance Art Basics: Everything You Need to Know to Sound Smart at a Cocktail Party | The Art of Manliness.” The Art of Manliness. 16 July 2010. Web. 4 Jan. 2016. <http://www.artofmanliness.com/2010/07/16/man-knowledge-the-basics-of-art-the-renaissance/>.
Powell, Olivia. “The Choreographic Imagination in Renaissance Art.” Columbia University Academic Commons (2012). Columbia University Academic Commons. Web. 4 Jan. 2016. <http://dx.doi.org/10.7916/D81834MZ>.