Art and Architecture in the Renaissance

The word actually means rebirth and refers to the tremendous artistic renewal of this period that happened as people rediscovered the skill and knowledge of the ancient worlds of Greece and Rome. These early empires represented to the 14th through the 16th-century citizens a golden age of shared culture, reason and creativity. However, the artistic focus of the Renaissance took a different approach to expression from that of their predecessors. It was because of the lessons learned from the ancients that many of the technical developments in portraying realistic images emerged during this period through the efforts of a variety of famous artists including Giotto, Masaccio, Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael. In order to fully understand the artistic revival in painting that took place during this time period, I feel it is necessary to understand the developments each of these artists contributed to the world of art in general and why the ancient world was of particular importance to them. Artists in Florence were able to quickly link the mathematical knowledge of the ancient Greeks and Romans to the proportional focus of their own world. These mathematical terms were a common factor between the makeup of great works of art as well as providing a means of immediately communicating an understanding of balance and structure to their audience, who were also highly mathematically inclined. In an age of non-standard shipping units, one had to be able to calculate contents and quantities of shipments fairly rapidly.2 Painters used their foundational knowledge in geometry to create familiar elements in their paintings that would convey their intentions to the greatest possible audience. In the same way that a painter could reduce the human form or settings to a play of geometrical figures, so could the merchant simplify all things to geometrical configurations.