Many art historians consider the High Renaissance style a culmination of the goals of the Early Renaissance. What were those goals and how did High Renaissance artists bring them into fruition?

Address these issues in a composition in your own words that address the issues below & attach it here as well as upload the file to (see announcement with information on how to do that).

NOTE: The assignment topics are set to “private” so you cannot see what the other students have posted – this is like turning in a homework assignment in an on-site class.

Be sure to:

-thoroughly address the topic of style

-use and define High Renaissance vocabulary

-show examples of your points by comparing Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (Early Italian Renaissance – see attached file below) to a painting by Leonardo Da Vinci or Raphael (you can choose which one). How do the two works compare in terms of style, composition and treatment of subject matter? Do you think the High Renaissance work is an improvement from the Early Renaissance style? Why?

If you can’t decide what to choose, you may consider my suggestion here: Botticelli’s Birth of Venus (Early Renaissance) vs. Raphael’s Galatea (High Renaissance).

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Be sure to read the three PDFs about the High Renaissance, Leonardo & Raphael attached here as well as read the module material before beginning this composition. You may want to do outside research; please reach out to me if you have questions about sources.

These PDF readings can be used for your midterm & final essays (when appropriate) as well as this assignment.

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Early Italian Renaissance art ran from about 1400-1500 (overlapping the beginning of the High Renaissance style). If you are unfamiliar with it (and haven’t taken LA120 yet) look at the example provided and see what you notice. If you have a copy of Gardner’s Art through the Ages you can look it up there or do some outside research.

Do your best: the point of this exercise is to better understand the High Renaissance style by seeing what immediately preceded it.

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Why compare and contrast?

The compare and contrast essay is a popular method for discussing works of art first popularized by legendary art historian and college professor Heinrich W├Âlfflin (1864-1945) who saw it as a way for his students to practice the craft of observation and analysis of works of art. Here are some guidelines for you to consider when writing your comparison.

These comparisons are intended to stimulate you to explore the similarities and differences between the period styles of the two works of art compared, and /or the individual styles of the two artists who created them. You may also explore not only the stylistic differences between the two works but discuss the effect that these stylistic differences had on the subject matter, theme or symbolism of the works. In comparing them you look for similarities while in contrasting you look for differences. In any compare and contrast analysis begin with the basics such as identifying the work of art (artist, title, period/style) and giving a description of the work and its special features.

The following is a list of issues to consider in this analysis as well as any other in and art history class (also included in the topic: “Important Information for you”):

artist Who produced it or is the artist unknown?

period/style What category of art historical eras does it fall into. E.g.: High Renaissance, Mannerist, Venetian Renaissance, etc.

function What was its primary, intended use or purpose? Who was the patron? Was the function religious or secular, political or apolitical, public or private? Is there an intended message for the viewer?

physical context Where was it supposed to be displayed? How does it relate to its environment? Where was it located? is it still ‘in situ’?

description of style What does it look like? What is its medium – materials it is made of? Size? What colors does it use? Is the composition static or dynamic? Colorful or monochromatic?

analysis of style Why does it look that way? Did the choice of materials or processes used effect its appearance? Is the style borrowed or developed from an earlier style or is it original or both? Is it naturalistic or abstracted from nature? Is it realistic or idealistic? Here is where you need to apply your knowledge to explain the style.

subject matter Who or what is the subject? Is it religious or secular? Narrative or non-narrative? Is it a genre scene, landscape, portrait, still-life, or ‘historical’? Is there a use of symbolism or iconography? (Note: This topic doesn’t apply to architecture.)

cultural/historical context What was going on historically, socially, politically, religiously during the period in which it was produced? In what ways does the work reflect its era? The times and place the artist lived in are a VERY important consideration in attempting to understand a piece of art!

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The readings below come from:

High Renaissance:
Jane Turner, ed. Grove Dictionary of Art: From Renaissance to Impressionism. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Leonardo da Vinci. From:
Hartt, Frederick. History of Italian Renaissance Art. Upper Saddle River: Pearson Education, 2011.

Raphael, from:
Osborne, Harold, ed. The Oxford Companion to Art. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1970.

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