Humanities 3 I. The Italian Renaissance - UCSD Philosophy

Humanities 3 I. The Italian Renaissance - UCSD Philosophy

Humanities 3 I. The Italian Renaissance Botticelli, Venus and Mars, 1483 Scope of Course • Development of Western art, politics, literature, religi...

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Humanities 3 I. The Italian Renaissance

Botticelli, Venus and Mars, 1483

Scope of Course • Development of Western art, politics, literature, religion, philosophy and science in different periods (Renaissance, Reformation, Early Modern) and places • Interaction among topics: religion, politics, art, science • The “big questions” that underlie these topics: • • • •

What are we? (human nature) Who are we? (political and religious identity) What can we know (religion, philosophy, science) What can we say? (literature, religion, science)

Lecture 2 Florence and the Renaissance

Outline • Meanings of “Renaissance” • Developments in the Visual Arts • Florence under the Medici • The Art of Botticelli

Meanings of “Renaissance” • Roughly, the period spanning the 14th through 16th centuries • Literally “rebirth” (of literature, visual arts, philosophy) • Recovery of classical texts and ideals • Emphasis on the perfection and divinity of man

Literature • Dante Alighieri, Divine Comedy (1304-21) • Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch), Canzoniere (1304-1374) • Giovanni Boccaccio, Decameron (1348-53) • Marsilio Ficino, Theologia Platonica (143399)

Developments in the Visual Arts • Greater realism and naturalism, especially in the depiction of the human body and human emotions • Invention of perspective • Introduction of secular themes, especially classical myths • Changing social function of art

Giotto, Madonna and Child Enthroned, c. 1295-97

Fra Angelico, Annunciation, c. 1425

Masaccio, frescoes Brancacci Chapel Santa Maria del Carmine, 1424-28

Masaccio, Baptism of the Neophytes

Masaccio, Explusion from the Garden of Eden

Donatello, David, 1444-46

Piero della Francesca, The Flagellation, c. 1469

Leonardo da Vinci, The Annunciation, c. 1472-1475

Fra Angelico, c. 1425 Leonardo c. 1472-75

Antonello da Messina St. Jerome in His Study, c. 1460

Leonardo, St. Jerome, c. 1480

Michelangelo, Pieta, 1498-99

Michelangelo, David, c. 1501

Michelangelo, “The Creation” from ceiling of Sistine Chapel, 1512

Piero di Cosimo Vulcan and Aeolus, c.14951510

Piero di Cosimo, The Discovery of Honey, c. 1505-10

The Florentine Republic • The Republic of Florence was a city-state centered on the city of Florence • The republic was founded in 1115, when the Florentine people rebelled against the nobility that had previously ruled them. • The republic was ruled by a council, known as the signoria. The signoria was chosen by the gonfaloniere (titular ruler of the city), who was elected every two months by Florentine guild members.

Florence under the Medici (1434-1492) • 1434 Cosimo de’ Medici (1389-1464) returns from exile and becomes ruler of Florence (pater patriae); gradually erodes its republican constitution • 1464 Cosimo succeeded by his son Piero • 1469 Piero succeeded by his son Lorenzo (“Lorenzo the Magnificent”), aged 20, who continues Cosimo’s patronage of the arts and learning • 1475 Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) begins a series of paintings under the patronage of the Medici family

Botticelli, Adoration of the Magi, 1475

Botticelli, Guiliano de’ Medici c. 1476-77

Portrait of a Woman (Simonetta Vespucci?) c. 1476-80

• 1478 Pope Sixtus IV is part of a plot (the Pazzi conspiracy) to overthrow the Medici. Lorenzo escapes assassination attempt, but his brother Guiliano is killed. • 1479 Lorenzo excommunicated by Sixtus; armies of the pope and king of Naples move against Florence. Sixtus excommunicated by Tuscan bishops. Parties reconcile the following year. • 1492 Death of Lorenzo

Botticelli’s Allegorical Paintings • Give meaning to contemporary events through the illustration of myths • Symbolize ideals of virtue and human perfection

Botticelli, Primavera, c. 1482

Part One • Venus, the goddess of love and marriage, reigns in her garden, a place of eternal springtime. • With her is her son, Cupid, and his father Mercury, who guards the entrance to the garden and deflects the dark clouds. • Venus’s attendants, the Graces, are virgins, symbols of purity, one of whom is about to be struck by Cupid’s arrow.

Part Two • According to another myth, the nymph Chloris is carried off by Zephyr, whereupon she is transformed into the goddess Flora. • The two figures at the far right of Primavera represent a time prior to the appearance of Flora, who has the poise and maturity of a married woman. (Is she also pregnant?)

Mercury Graces Cupid/Venus Flora Chloris Zephyr

Part Three • Primavera was commissioned from Botticelli by Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici (grandson of the brother of Cosimo) to commemorate his marriage to Semiramide d’Appiano in May 1482. • It is meant to convey the idea that love leads to a happy and fruitful marriage.

Pallas and the Centaur, 1482

Venus and Mars, 1483

Botticelli, Birth of Venus, c. 1485