nd monk organized the first “Bonfire of the
nd tried todetermine the meaning of life? How about why the renaissance got its name?
Probably not, and that is why I’m here today to tell you about the
origins, the locations, and the how the passage of the Lower Renaissance
came to be in the High Renaissance, and finally into mannerism. The term
High Renaissance is coined from a combination of things. The most direct
term would be from the exploration of different means of preserving art,
ie, wood, marble, bronze, fresco, ect.
Imagine yourself in the year 1490. The renaissance has ended here.
Political and religious turmoil have swept through the city like the Black
Death. The death of Lorenzo de Medici, otherwise known as Lorenzo the
Magnificent, has taken its toll, and one extremely religious monk has
gotten the attention of the people. The extremist monk Fra Savonarola has
cast down and spit upon Lorenzo, claiming that his works of art that were
commissioned had caused the moral decay of the city, and his radical
beliefs led others to believe that the last judgment was being rained down
on the city of Florence if they were not to change their ways.
Many others have now joined in on the lead of the possessed monk, on
the mission to rid the city of the evil art forms. The Medici family were
expelled from the city and forced to flee to Rome. At this time the monk
organized the first “Bonfire of the Vanities”, putting to ashes most of the
priceless art work that we can only begin to dream of today. The fires
were supposed to rid the city of sac-religious items within the city. With
fewer followers in the year 1498, Fra Savonarola was put to the same end as
the works of art that he hated so much, as he was burnt in the streets of
Florence. During the turmoil, almost all of the greats, trained in the
Florence school, fled the city, in a twist of fate, looking for fame and
Most of the artists landed in Rome, but some stayed in Florence,
Milan, and other various areas of Italy. Rome, however, was the place to
be at this time. Popes, in greed of reputation sought to out do other
popes from the past, with great works of commissioned art. Spending as much
as possible seemed to be the norm, and most artists didn’t have a choice of
being called to the Vatican. Normally the invitation was sent to the
artist via armed guards of the Vatican army. If they refused the
commission, even though it was definitely financed way below the cost of
private parties, they would be put to death, and a few were, claiming that
their art was not to be enjoyed by a Pope that would kill them if they
But, however, most artists did accept the tasks at hand, with a
simple nod, a kiss on the papal ring, and a few muttering words. This was
Michelangelo Bounarroti of Florence to Pope Leo. He didn’t want the
commission and the pope threatened to have him imprisoned and then
executed…he reluctantly agreed to do the task.
Such were the ideas of the Popes during the High Renaissance. Cruel,
unjust, and completely out of their mind, going to war with any country
that wouldn’t pay taxes or even revolted from the Catholic Church,
historians claim that this period of time didn’t last very long at all.
They think that this period of time started around the 1480’s with some of
Leonardo’s first inventions, and either ended with the sack of Rome, or
Raphael’s death in 1527. A grand total of 40 or so years, gave way to the
worlds greatest works of art.
It almost sees as if art asked its self this very question. Oh what
the hell, we can never top the high renaissance, so why even bother? So
there was a period of time between the baroque period and the high
renaissance called Mannerism or the late renaissance. This idea popped up
first in Florence, then Rome, and then over the rest of Italy. The term
mannerism was actually coined in the 20th century. This was basically a
loss of momentum for the period. Mannerism also represents Renaissance art
going out, as they say, not with a bang but with more of a quite whimper.
So as you can see, there are many parts to understanding the
Renaissance. To understand