Art historian Dr. James Fox makes the case for a singularly British renaissance, telling the stories of the artists and artisans who changed Britain forever.

A Very British Renaissance - Netflix

Type: Documentary

Languages: English

Status: Ended

Runtime: 60 minutes

Premier: 2014-03-21

A Very British Renaissance - Renaissance art - Netflix

Contributions to painting and architecture have been especially rich. The Mosan art, the Early Netherlandish

Renaissance art is the painting, sculpture and decorative arts of the period of European history, emerging as a distinct style in Italy in about 1400, in parallel with developments which occurred in philosophy, literature, music, and science. Renaissance art, perceived as the noblest of ancient traditions, took as its foundation the art of Classical antiquity, but transformed that tradition by absorbing recent developments in the art of Northern Europe and by applying contemporary scientific knowledge. Renaissance art, with Renaissance Humanist philosophy, spread throughout Europe, affecting both artists and their patrons with the development of new techniques and new artistic sensibilities. Renaissance art marks the transition of Europe from the medieval period to the Early Modern age.

In many parts of Europe, Early Renaissance art was created in parallel with Late Medieval art. The influences upon the development of Renaissance men and women in the early 15th century are those that also affected Philosophy, Literature, Architecture, Theology, Science, Government, and other aspects of society. The following list presents a summary, dealt with more fully in the main articles that are cited above. Classical texts, lost to European scholars for centuries, became available. These included Philosophy, Prose, Poetry, Drama, Science, a thesis on the Arts, and Early Christian Theology. Simultaneously, Europe gained access to advanced mathematics which had its provenance in the works of Islamic scholars. The advent of movable type printing in the 15th century meant that ideas could be disseminated easily, and an increasing number of books were written for a broad public. The establishment of the Medici Bank and the subsequent trade it generated brought unprecedented wealth to a single Italian city, Florence. Cosimo de' Medici set a new standard for patronage of the arts, not associated with the church or monarchy. Humanist philosophy meant that man's relationship with humanity, the universe and with God was no longer the exclusive province of the Church. A revived interest in the Classics brought about the first archaeological study of Roman remains by the architect Brunelleschi and sculptor Donatello. The revival of a style of architecture based on classical precedents inspired a corresponding classicism in painting and sculpture, which manifested itself as early as the 1420s in the paintings of Masaccio and Uccello. The improvement of oil paint and developments in oil-painting technique by Dutch artists such as Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and Hugo van der Goes led to its adoption in Italy from about 1475 and had ultimately lasting effects on painting practices, worldwide. The serendipitous presence within the region of Florence in the early 15th century of certain individuals of artistic genius, most notably Masaccio, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Piero della Francesca, Donatello and Michelozzo formed an ethos out of which sprang the great masters of the High Renaissance, as well as supporting and encouraging many lesser artists to achieve work of extraordinary quality. A similar heritage of artistic achievement occurred in Venice through the talented Bellini family, their influential in-law Mantegna, Giorgione, Titian and Tintoretto. The publication of two treatises by Leone Battista Alberti, De Pitura (On Painting), 1435, and De re aedificatoria (Ten Books on Architecture), 1452.

A Very British Renaissance - High Renaissance in Italy, 1475–1525 - Netflix

The “universal genius” Leonardo da Vinci was to further perfect the aspects of pictorial art (lighting, linear and atmospheric perspective, anatomy, foreshortening and characterisation) that had preoccupied artists of the Early Renaissance, in a lifetime of studying and meticulously recording his observations of the natural world. His adoption of oil paint as his primary media meant that he could depict light and its effects on the landscape and objects more naturally and with greater dramatic effect than had ever been done before, as demonstrated in the Mona Lisa. His dissection of cadavers carried forward the understanding of skeletal and muscular anatomy, as seen in the unfinished St Jerome. His depiction of human emotion in The Last Supper set the benchmark for religious painting. The art of Leonardo's younger contemporary Michelangelo took a very different direction. Michelangelo, in neither his painting nor his sculpture demonstrates any interest in the observation of any natural object except the human body. He perfected his technique in depicting it, while in his early twenties, by the creation of the enormous marble statue of David and the group the Pieta, in St Peter's Basilica, Rome. He then set about an exploration of the expressive possibilities of the human anatomy. His commission by Pope Julius II to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling resulted in the supreme masterpiece of figurative composition, which was to have profound effect on every subsequent generation of European artists. Standing alongside Leonardo and Michelangelo as the third great painter of the High Renaissance was the younger Raphael, who in a short life span painted a great number of lifelike and engaging portraits, including those of Pope Julius II and his successor Pope Leo X, and numerous portrayals of the Madonna and Christ Child, including the Sistine Madonna. In Northern Italy the High Renaissance represented by the religious paintings of Giovanni Bellini which include several large altarpieces of a type known as “Sacred Conversation” which show a group of saints around the enthroned Madonna. His contemporary Giorgione left a small number of enigmatic works, including The Tempest, the subject of which has remained a matter of speculation. The earliest works of Titian date from the era of the High Renaissance, including a massive altarpiece The Assumption of the Virgin which combines human action and drama with spectacular colour and atmosphere.

A Very British Renaissance - References - Netflix