Essay on Art from Baroque Period Through the Postmodern Era

1486 Words Aug 1st, 2007 6 Pages
Art from Baroque Period through the Postmodern Era

Renaissance art history began as civic history; it was an expression of civic pride. The first such history was Filippo Villani's De origine civitatis Florentiae et eiusdem famosis civibus, written about 1381-82. Florentine artists revived an art that was almost dead, Villani asserts, just as Dante had restored poetry after its decline in the Middle Ages. The revival was begun by Cimabue and completed by Giotto, who equalled the ancient painters in fame and even surpassed them in skill and talent. After Giotto came his followers, Stefano, Taddeo Gaddi, and Maso, uomini illustri all, who, together with notable jurists, poets, musicians, theologians, physicians, orators, and others, made
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While rare for being texts on art, they are of a type, however, that was common in Renaissance literature. They belong to a genre or category in which are found some of the most characteristic texts of Renaissance humanism. Other of the books in this category are by such writers as Bruni, Salutati, and Manetti, books with which all students of the Renaissance are familiar. They treat broad moral and philosophical issues, but, as in the accounts of visual art, only insofar as they concern the city of Florence. And scholars reasonably have asked why there was such a preoccupation with Florence at this time. One of those who did so was Hans Baron and his answer has been at the center of discussions of this question since the 1950s.
Baron linked the focus on Florence during the years around 1400 to a struggle over Florentine independence that began in 1390 with a declaration of war by Milan and ended only in 1454, when Milan accepted the independent status of the Florentine Republic. These events, he proposed, explain the direction taken by Florentine political speculation at this time, particularly the stress on republican ideals of liberty and civic involvement; they gave rise to a distinctive type of humanism, rooted in "a new philosophy of political engagement and active life," and devoted to the celebration of Florence's republican liberties.
Bruni was responding not to recent events in Florence, came the rejoinder, but
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