Renaissance Sculpture Comparison Essay by CalDR

Renaissance Sculpture
Compares the "Davids" by Donatello and Michelangelo to show how both pieces epitomize their periods and styles.
# 29777 | 1,722 words | 4 sources | MLA | 2002 | US
Published on Aug 08, 2003 in Art (Artists) , Art (Sculpture)

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The division of Renaissance art into three distinct periods began with Giorgio Vasari, the great Florentine art historian and chronicler of the lives of the artists. Vasari concluded, based on his universally accepted perception of Michelangelo as "Il Divino," that Renaissance art reached its most sublime expression in the works of Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. However, some modern art historians wonder how valid or valuable this categorization and consequential value judgment is. Roberta J. M. Olson challenges the very existence of a "High Renaissance," on the grounds that "the term is artificial, a qualitative judgment of "High" signifying the best," The paper shows that there are surely noticeable differences in the vivid expressions of Italian Renaissance art from the fifteenth to the sixteenth centuries. Art from the early period of the Renaissance sprouted from the preceding medieval and Gothic artistic traditions, with their emphasis on dramatic facial expressions and compositions. This is especially evident in the sculptural arts, those three-dimensional figures that rendered the human form with increasing idealism. The paper shows that this trend toward idealistic renditions of the human face and figure directly derived from a revived interest in the Classical arts of ancient Greece and Rome. In fact, Renaissance art in general is defined by its classical motifs, materials, and mannerisms. Donatello signified this coming together of two artistic and philosophical traditions in the early periods of the Renaissance in Florence. A century later, Michelangelo Buonarotti built upon Donatello's earlier contributions to Italian art and sculpture in particular. The paper explains that although the works of Michelangelo defy categorization, his is generally considered to be "instrumental in creating the High Renaissance," and is heralded as that period's hallmark of all the works available for research by art historians, the two that most epitomize their periods and styles and which are most easily comparable because of their similar subject matter are Donatello's and Michelangelo's statues of David. This paper therefore examines and discusses these two pieces and show how they characterize the time periods they represent.

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