10: Renaissance in the Visual Arts and Rome

Accounting for art

Example: Rome, Capella Chigi, Santa Maria del Popolo

Guide and plan (Sp)


Giotto di Bondone, 1256-1337, Ognissanti Madonna

       work of art

  •        How was it made? By whom? original location? original use?
  •        Who paid for it? What was their relationship with the artist? With the location of the work?
  •         Style. What are the norms? Did the artist meet those norms? Change them?

      producers: the artists

  •         Who are artists in sociological terms? How does this change?
  •         What kinds of education do they have?

Our example: Rome

  • naturalism (painting)
  • ancient models (architecture)
  • linear perspective

Production of art

Kinds produced ca. 1400

  •    religious
  •    public art and architecture (ex: Palazzo Senatorio)
  •    private: palazzi, villas (15th c+)

Religious art. Who pays for it: mostly private funding

papacy? (only main basilicas)


chapels in churches

private religious art for home meditation

changes in worship affect art

  • ex: mendicant orders

patronage relationships: “The Customer”

  • Paying for a specific object
  • Deliberate support of an individual’s career

shop as location of production

Changes in artistic style I: Drama and realism in painting

Italy ca 1250: several imported traditions, then innovation

Ex: Giotto

  • Byzantine
  • French: “International Gothic” style
  • Friars  emotional response on part of viewer
  • Ancient models: almost none before 1500 (Domus Aurea)

inspire admiration

St Luke

Maddalena master: S. Luca, late 13th c (Uffizi)

Leon Battista Alberti   1404-72

  •    Padua education
  •    law degree (Bologna)
  • 1431 Rome; cleric; interest in ancient ruins and buildings
  • back to Florence (cathedral)

Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446)

First surviving paintings in perspective: Masaccio (1401-28), Masolino (1383 – c. 1447) Florence

Rome: SMM Altarpiece

  1. front
  2. individual images


council of Florence, Eugenius IV


Changes in artistic style II: Perspective in painting

— Alberti, Brunelleschi

quadrivium: add perspective/optics?

Piero della Francesca, Luca Pacioli

artists need education

Influence of humanists on subject matter

Botticelli, Calumny of Apelles



Discovery of Vitruvius On Architecture: 1st c BCE (prob. after 27)

  • Petrarch; Poggio Bracciolini
  • published: Rome, 1486
  • ancient rules, ancient examples
  • Architect as learned person  (like Quintilian, Cicero)


Filarete door, St Peter’s