Time Capsule Through the Renaissance to the Age of the Baroque
Researched and Authored by: Michael J. Spindler of Local Music Hits
As a young eager fictional cultural anthropologist, the author is on a quest to find a missing time capsule. The contents supposedly include articles that come from the age of the Renaissance and the Age of the Baroque. The renaissance period is broken into two periods; the Early Renaissance from roughly 1400 to 1490, and the High Renaissance, from approximately 1490 to 1530. The Age of the Baroque covers two centuries, from 1600 through 1800, and is known as the "Age of Contradictions". Both periods experienced growth through expression that affected the religious, societal, and politic climates of their respective time periods, which continue to echo through time. The impact of these dramatic periods continue to morph our present day society through the continued evolution of expression that affects the core institutions as humans strive in new directions. The discovery of a time capsule may shed a little light on how key examples impacted the world in their time, both culturally and socially.
The day of discovery has arrived. Does any one have a crow bar? Though a little dusty, the first item appears to be from the Early Renaissance period. How can the author tell at first glance? A large volume of art produced during this period was religious. Our first specimen appears to a depiction of "The Crucifixion". A tempera medium on wood, the artist, Konrad von Soest (Web Gallery of Art, n.d.) was an active artisan from about 1394 to 1422. According to records, this work of art was created in either 1404 or 1414. Why are religious art forms so dominant in this period? The early renaissance was also a time when the Church of Rome and the Catholic religion dominated the lands. Affecting every aspect of life from political motivation, the social hierarchy, and of course, the stamping out of any ideas that went against the man made religion. Surprisingly, renaissance period also showed an explosion of the portrait and self portrait. A true gem to any collection this art form typically depicts people in wealthy circles in their time and a glimpse how life was lived. The next opportunity the reader has to view a portrait, take a moment to explore the surroundings of the person depicted. Illustrated in these works of art are several clues as to living conditions, material wealth, and attitude that can be determined. Artists were also notorious for including items that were symbolic of aspirations, life, and blessings with the subject person in the portrait.
The next item out of our time capsule is an exhibit from the Age of Baroque. The extraordinary piece is "An Angel Frees the Souls of Purgatory". (Web Gallery of Art, n.d.) The artist, Lodovico Carracci, who painted this piece in 1610, is a depiction of an Angel sent from Heaven to rescue the lost souls in Purgatory. This is an example of a large volume of work done in this period representing the proliferation of the sciences and other discoveries that were bringing to the world new ideologies that were in direct conflict with the church. The Age of Baroque represents a slow departure of the people to embrace empirical data, and slowly to withdrawal from the ideologies of the church that were once consider law. This movement played on people's fears of damnation and artists' perception and interpretation of the times made for more violent depictions of both religious icons and the masses of people.
The Early Renaissance experienced an explosion of music development, which paved the way to modern musical structuring. Most compositions of the time were meant to be sung, "during this period four principal types of compositions were prominent: Masses, Magnificats, motets, and the secular chansons with French texts." (Ogan, 2001) Guillaume Dufay (1400-1474), was known to be the greatest composer of his time. Using a technique referred to "Word Painting" in which music is used to express the meaning of the written word. "Dufay, in many respects, paved the way for future composers to use greater imagination and ingenuity in musical composition." (Ogan, 2001)
The Age of Baroque saw a further evolution of music into what is now referred to as classical music. An epic explosion of expression through complex musical structures on a scale that easily over powered the listeners emotions, and once the listener was engaged, the music could sweep the audience to the highest highs and lowest depths of sadness and despair. In no other musical form of expression is this more evident than in Opera. Opera is a culmination of vocal expression dancing and weaving through a tapestry of sounds woven by an instrumental accompaniment on a massive scale. In the Baroque Age, for music, Venice Italy was known as the city of music, the home to a number of musicians that continue to live through time. In the early seventeenth century, the pioneer of became Opera was an Italian composer by the name of Claudio Monteverdi. "The best example is his final masterwork, L'incoronazione di Poppea (1642), exceptional in that its protagonists are not ancient Greek gods and heroes as it had been customary until then, but real people, and in that good does not triumph over evil." (Bender, n.d.) The significance is once again an art form being used to move society from the clutches of religion, and to celebrate the importance individuality and new ideas to empower the people.
Early renaissance architecture was unique from previous periods in that instead of rehashing grandiose architectural styling, the direction architects of the time invested in reinterpretation of Greco-Roman themes and building principles. The influence of religion of the time also played heavily in this interpretation and developed into an architectural nuance that celebrated the Roman Catholic Church. In the year 1404, Filippo Brunelleschi began his career as an architect. Long considered the "Father of the Renaissance", "Brunelleschi was the first architect to employ mathematical perspective to redefine Gothic and Romanesque space and to establish new rules of proportioning and symmetry."(Saalman, 1993)
The early renaissance period is considered a time of a transitional era from medieval thought of an anonymous existence to one of enlightenment and uniqueness of man. The early fathers of philosophy may have begun in Greece, but new values and interpretations found new meaning in the renaissance age. "Educational practice was revolutionized by the recovery of ancient documents, the rejection of institutional authority, and renewed emphasis on individual freedom." (Kemerling, 2001)
With the developing technologies to mass produce the written word. Literature, once only for the wealthy and the church, gave birth to the explosion of ideas and progressive thinking that pushed society even further ahead. This form of mass media has firmly changed the course of history, encouraging enlightenment and fostering developments in every aspect of life. Once an idea is in the hands of the people with such easy access, a revolution of sorts will carry on.
References - Do Not Strip Article References
Bender, A. (n.d.). Claudio Monteverdi, 1576-1643. Retrieved January 16, 2008, from http://www.manteau.de/claudio.html
Kemerling, G. (2001, October 27). Renaissance Thought. Retrieved January 16, 2008, from http://www.philosophypages.com/hy/3t.htm
Ogan, J. R. (2001). Du Fay and Josquin des Prez Comparison . Retrieved January 16, 2008, from http://www.uh.edu/~tkoozin/projects/ogan/essays.html#3
Saalman, H. (1993, December). Filippo Brunelleschi : The Buildings. Retrieved January 16, 2008, from http://www.greatbuildings.com/architects/Filippo_Brunelleschi.html
Web Gallery of Art (n.d.). CARRACCI, Lodovico. Retrieved January 16, 2008, from http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/c/carracci/lodovico/index.html
Web Gallery of Art (n.d.). KONRAD von Soest. Retrieved January 16, 2008, from http://www.wga.hu/frames-e.html?/html/k/konrad/index.html
Researched and Authored by: Michael J. Spindler of Local Music Hits
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