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High Renaissance and Impressionism

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Arts
Wordcount: 1222 words Published: 18th May 2020

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Leonardo da Vinci and Claude Monet were remarkably famous painters of there times. Both from different movements, high renaissance and impressionism, they paved the way for the artists that would come after. The impact of these art movements continues to influence modern art. There seemed to be limits to high renaissance regardless of the progress towards the art of human anatomy. Impressionism art, however, was limitless, audiences became more openminded to paintings that’s stories were interpreted by the audiences.

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The term “renaissance” was rooted in early modern Italian language, it was the re-establishment of numerous forms of art, painting, architecture, poetry, music, etc. under the influence of previous classical models of art. According to Jill Burke, author of “Rethinking the High Renaissance: The Culture of the Visual Arts in Early Sixteenth-Century Rome”, “high renaissance” was invented by scholars of the nineteenth century (1), it represented a collection of ideas that were developing centuries in advance. Important goals and characteristics include heroic centralized composition, technical mastery of drawing and proportion, and mature humanist content. Renaissance generally requires for the audience to understand biblical, and European history/themes. According to the article “The High Renaissance” produced by History Reference Center, Florence was the center of artist production in Italy during the early renaissance period in the 16th century, but it later shifted to Rome (1). The term Impressionism was adopted by a group of painters whose art style was rejected by the Salon. Colleen Carroll, author of “Clip & Save Art Notes”, said that Monet and his colleagues were called “impressionists”, and though it was meant to be a form of criticism, they proudly began calling themselves impressionist painters. Manet discovered them and became the “un-official” leader of their conferences near his Café Guerbois (27). The new Impressionist painters gave birth to their own method of self-expressionism, giving new meaning to various elements of art, regardless of if they were accepted or not. The goal of the renaissance movement was to expand the people’s knowledge of man and anatomy. The goal of the impressionism movement was to express everyday society and life.

One element renaissance and impressionism share is emphasis on light, though renaissance used it to emphasize volume and impressionists used it to give express feelings and make the colors more luminous. They both also emphasize emotion. Impressionists may have been influenced by the renaissance period, but most of the ideas were more similar to realism. There are not a whole lot of similarities between the two movements chosen however; they were both extremely influential and impacted art movements that came afterwards.

Some of the most influential artists lived during the renaissance, among them was Leonardo da Vinci. At the time the focus was human anatomy. Da Vinci was celebrated as an architect, sculptor, painter, engineer, and scientist, known for both his love of knowledge, research, and giving others the gift of knowledge through his work. “In 1472 he was entered in the painter’s guild of Florence, and in 1476 he is still mentioned as Verrocchio’s assistant. In Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ (c. 1470, Uffizi, Florence), the kneeling angel at the left of the painting and part of the background are by Leonardo. In 1478 Leonardo became an independent master.” (Funk & Walls New World Encyclopedia 1) He worked toward mastership for years, after achieving it, he produced his first painting to receive any publicity, an altarpiece for the chapel of Palazzo Vecchio, the Florence town Hall (1). He produced a small cluster of paintings in his career, some of which were never finished, regardless of this he made a huge impact on the expansion of renaissance painting. His most famous painting was the Mona Lisa, known for its technical innovations and the detailing of her smile. Leonardo’s landscape backgrounds were his most notable painting style characteristic painting style. In fact, according to “Leonardo da Vinci”, a biography produced by Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia, he was one of the first artist to introduce “atmospheric perspective” (1). He was born in Florence (1452-1519), and traveled to Milan, then back to Florence pursuing his career and spreading art and knowledge.

 Oscar-Claude Monet from Paris, France born in 1840, was the most famous impressionist painter, he aspired to be a painter since his family moved to Havre, France when he was 5. He returned to Paris in 1859 and enrolled into Swiss Academy where he met French painter Edouard Manet, his “loose brush strokes, bold use of color, and dynamic compositions” influenced Monet’s evolving painting method/style (27). After trying desperately at the start of his career to have his paintings accepted various art establishments but was repeatedly rejected due to the art style he was developing. Regardless, Monet exhibited his work in every way that he could. He, along with various artists who adopted Edouard Manet’s art style, were ridiculed by a critic that called them “Impressionists”, they took those lemons and turned them to lemonade, proudly accepting the “Impressionist” title and pursuing their aspirations. Monet painted in the impressionist style throughout his career until the end. He achieved both critical and financial levels of success.

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 I chose impressionism and high renaissance because I thought they were really different from each other. One art style is scientific and is all about the accuracy of the human anatomy and the other is less precise and focuses on how art evokes emotion with colors and light. But they both focus on the effects of light and depth. Both artists were exceedingly successful in their careers however, Impressionism’s principles paved the way for modern art. Both styles are incredible, though they are almost completely opposite, they both served a purpose that is still taught to this day.

  • Butler Wingfield, Kim1, butler@american.ed. “Rethinking the High Renaissance: The Culture of              the Visual Arts in Early Sixteenth-Century Rome.” CAA Reviews, May 2013, pp. 1–3. Search Engine Complete, doi:10.3202/caa.reviews.2013.48.
  • “Leonardo da Vinci”, Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. 2018, Search Engine Complete.
  • Hendren, Claire. “French Impressionism in the United States’ Greater Midwest: The 1907–8 Traveling Exhibition.” Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide, vol. 18, no. 1, Spring 2019, pp. 79–93 Academic Search Complete, doi:10.29411/ncaw.2019.18.1.3.
  • Carroll, Colleen. “Clip & Save Art Notes.” Arts & Activities, vol. 143, no. 4, May 2008, pp. 27–30. Academic Search Complete, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=asu&AN=505306738&site=ehost-live.
  • “The High Renaissance (1500-1540).” High Renaissance, May 2009, p. 1. Academic Search Complete,               search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=khh&AN=21466754&site=eds-live.


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