Humanism in Renaissance Art

During the Middle ages Humanism wasn’t a thought and life for people was centered around the church and religion. However, during the reneisce, there was a huge change and life switched from a religion based society in the Middle Ages to a people based society during the Renaissance period. During the late 1400s, humanism renaissance brought about major changes in political, philosophy, art and religion. In the art section of the humanism renaissance, you were able to see the drastic shift right away in what people painted. Painters shifted away from the gold backgrounds that represented heaven, Halos that identified some of the people in the paintings as angels and hierarchy scale paintings, which is the method of making certain figures larger to represent their importance.

Art was changed from revolving around god and became more realistic, more accuruately scaled and more relatable to the buyers, viewers and people who commissioned it. It showed the present time and allowed people to feel more relatable to the gods and angels. People started to insert themselves in to paintings and started to make

Hans Memling did a great job depicting this in his The Annuncitation painting. When you first lay eyes on the painting, you notoce how realistic and human The virgin Mary and Gabriel is presented. Memling’s Annunciation displays Mary seated beside a religious text. Mary is clothed in a modest red gown that is being covered with a royal blue blanket. While the angel Gabriel is wearing a white gown with a religious piece worn over it. He is holding a long stick with a cross at the very top. Gabriel is also wearing a cross headpiece which is different compared to the middle ages halo.

Viewing this painting you can see the difference in paintings that were completed during the era of church and religion based. Mary and Joseph are proportioned more realistic rather than enormous compared to paintings of the middle age. Her clothing is in modern attire and more vibrant in color. The annunciation is taking place in Mary’s bedroom. Before humanism came about, religious paintings would be on gold backgrounds to depict heaven, However is this painting, Through the window, you can see a garden with people tending to it and others taking a stroll, showing a more human and realistic painting. Mary’s facial expression seems she has become impatient with what Gabriel has to say. She does not make eye contact with Gabriel but her hands show that she is aware he is present. Memlings also painted Marys hand and Gabriels fingers proportioned in a naturalistic way showing the creases in both Mary and Gabriel hands focusing more on the human body.

Although painters moved away from the halos they still added everyday items to represent heaven and religion. White lilies flowers sit beside her desk which represents the purity of Mary. Both crosses on Gabriel headpiece and stick is small and somewhat hidden but visible showin the importance of the figure but still keeping him realistic. Artist used The two figures are in proportion to the painting and settings.

The Humanists of the Renaissance and their exploration of the belief that human beings can live full and happy lives before they go to heaven is still with us. Many aspects of the lives we lead, including the way school is taught and the subjects that we study, began in the Renaissance and continue to influence the way we live today