Thoughts on renaissance art

This is a fascinating subject for me. One that never ceases to amaze me. Over the years so much has been written about renaissance painting, from subject matter, painting techniques to the lives of the artists themselves. A dynamic subject that I will be exploring and its relationship to art today. Artists of the renaissance worked very differently than artists do today. Subject matter was usually dictated by the patron and artists copied, shared, borrowed designs, drawings and ideas from each other freely.

The workshop was a studio that had many assistants and apprentices helping to prepare canvases, panels, pigments, copying and the transfer drawings at the direction of the master. Today an artist is seen as alone and working solely with his or her own vision.

Art in the renaissance was more of a collective art generated by religious and humanist views. The individual master artist did have an personal identity but it was within a context of the views and information available then.

An artist first learned by copying his master’s style and learning everything necessary to run a workshop. Today an artist must be totally ‘original’without influence or help from any one teacher or style. Certainly copying another artist is not encouraged, yet it was the standard practice in western art until the mid 20th-century.


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