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How did materialism affect the arts of the Renaissance period? What is a “Renaissance man?”  Why might a person be called that? What is the origin of the word “Baroque?” Why is the period of art and music called “Baroque?” Compare the form, style and use of light in Rembrandt’s The Nightwatch (colorplate 35) with another group portrait from the period.

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mwestwood eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Being uncertain of what ¨Humanities of fine Art form"signifies, the answer will be posted and, hopefully, the student can re-format it.

1. Materialism - Economic growth and material development occurred during the Renaissance in the thirteenth century. Such developments as the commercial infrastructure, joint stock companies, international banking, double-entry bookkeeping, foreign exchange market system,and a gold standard began during this time.
    Also during the Renaissance, wealthy patrons supported such artists as Michelangelo and others in Florence and in Rome. Consequently, these patrons such as Lorenzo the Magnificent, one of the Medici rulers, and Julius II and other popes commissioned costly monuments, tombs, etc built for them as they wished to have grand artifacts marking their lives. 

2. A Renaissance Man - The two original Renaissance men were Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. But the metaphoric¨Renaissance man¨ is not someone from the time period of da Vinci and...

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robyn-bird96 | Student

To answer the third question:

Baroque refers to complex stylism, paradoxes in art.  According to Britannica:

In general, however, the desire to evoke emotional states by appealing to the senses, often in dramatic ways, underlies its manifestations. Some of the qualities most frequently associated with the Baroque are grandeur, sensuous richness, drama, vitality, movement, tension, emotional exuberance, and a tendency to blur distinctions between the various arts.

The term Baroque itself is :

probably ultimately derived from the Italian word barocco, which was a term used by philosophers during the Middle Ages to describe an obstacle in schematic logic. Subsequently the word came to denote any contorted idea or involuted process of thought. Another possible source is the Portuguese word barroco (Spanish barrueco), used to describe an irregular or imperfectly shaped pearl, and this usage still survives in the jeweler’s term baroque pearl.

The Baroque period is unique as it appeals to a sense of luxury, of wild designs and grandeur.  The Baroque period refers to the 17th century.  If you note in history, this is the time of the absolute monarchs, who emphasized luxurious living styles (in order to weaken the power of their nobles to gain more power themselves).

In art and music, Baroque "came to be used to describe anything irregular, bizarre, or otherwise departing from established rules and proportions."

The following sources give examples of how it is applied to the art and music itself.  

(Sorry I'm not much help myself, but the source is great)

robyn-bird96 | Student

I'll answer the first question.

Well to look at the art of the Renaissance, you first need to compare it to the art of the Middle Ages.  

Middle Age Art:

  • flat, 2-dimensional
  • unrealistic/not human proportioned
  • few colors/dark
  • very religious
  • giant halos

Renaissance Art:

  • three dimensional
  • realistic/human proportions
  • perception
  • human settings/backgrounds
  • humanized portraits (many of the Renaissance artists actually dissected human bodies to learn the anatomy)
  • colors/bright

So to summarize, Medieval art was religious and unrealistic, while Renaissance art was human/secular (although religious themes were used, but put into a human setting) and very realistic.

Now, materialism itself never affected Renaissance art.  It was humanism.  Renaissance art portrayed the achievements of man, what man has done.  In the northern Renaissance cities, it portrayed the daily life of peasants.  In Italy, many artists had patrons that supported their artwork, so their artwork was either religious (for the Church) or were portraits.  But the main idea was celebrating the beauty of being man (as in human).