Effect Science had on the Art during the Three Major Art Periods
“In this paper, I will discuss the effect science had on the art during the three major art periods, Renaissance, Baroque and Rococo. As a part of the discussion, I will examine one art from each art period. One of the greatest artists of the Renaissance period was Leonardo Da Vinci. Leonardo was an Italian polymath. He was great at many disciplines both humanitarian and scientific in nature. He was skilled in drawing, painting, sculpting, carpentry, metallurgy, chemistry, mathematics and engineering (leonardodavinci.net, 2011a). The Vitruvian Man. Painted by Leonardo da Vinci. Image from leonardodavinci.net (2011). One of the most famous Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings is The Vitruvian Man. The drawing is made using pen and ink on a paper. It depicts a male figure in two positions superimposed one over another. This drawing is sometimes referred to as the Canon of Proportions (leonardodavinci.net, 2011b).
It illustrates the ideal proportions of a man’s body. This drawing is an excellent example of how science can be used to create art which appeals to our eyes. Baroque There were many great discoveries in science during the Baroque period. In art, we could observe a continued interest in the human’s body. One of the examples of this was the statue of David by Bernini. David, three views of. Sculpture by Bernini. Image from Khan Academy (Dr. Zucker, Dr. Harris, n.d. a) As one might recall, another famous sculpture of David was sculpted by Michelangelo during the Renaissance period. Michelangelo’s David followed the traditions of Greek and Roman art. It was made during the period of Humanism when the artists tried to idealize the human body. Bernini, of course, knew about Michelangelo’s David sculpture and it influenced his work (Dr. Zucker, Dr. Harris, n.d. a). However, Bernini did not just copy Michelangelo. Unlike Michelangelo’s David, Bernini’s David is not an ideal figure which feels like it is outside of our world. The posture of the David is in motion, right before he’s about to throw the rock at the giant. We can see the incredible level of detail and realism as if Bernini modeled the sculpture after the real human being who held the slingshot. This attention to human anatomy is an example of scientific influence on art. Bernini, unlike Michelangelo, tried to create a human figure which is as realistic as possible.
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The rococo period coincides with the period known as the Age of Enlightenment or Age of Reason. It is a period in Europe when philosophical and scientific thinking dominated the scene. It is during this period that the industrial revolution had begun (Dr. Zucker, Dr. Harris, n.d. b). With it, came changes to the landscape: railroads, trains, steamboats, machinery and pollution (Dr. Zucker, Dr. Harris, n.d. b). A Philosopher Giving A Lecture at the Orrery. Painting by Joseph Wright. Image from Khan Academy (Dr. Zucker, Dr. Harris, n.d. b). One painting which illustrates how deeply science had penetrated the art during this period would be A Philosopher Giving A lecture at the Orrery by Joseph Wright. An orrery is this object in the center around which all of the people had gathered in the painting. It is a mechanical model of the solar system where each planet is attached to a swing arm (Fox, n.d.). This device also has a crank which would set all planets in motion illustrating how planets spin in orbit around the sun (Fox, n.d.). On the painting, we can see gray-haired lecturer surrounded by the audience. The audience that Joseph depicted is quite a board, suggesting perhaps that science was interesting for everyone. We can see the man on the left taking the notes, suggesting that he has a scientific interest in the subject. On the right, we have three adults one of whom seems to be trying to comprehend this whole new idea.
Finally we have two children who perhaps don’t understand the significance of the model, but nonetheless, find it intriguing. Conclusion In conclusion, as more and more scientific discoveries were made, it affected both art and artists. We see more artists like Leonardo da Vinci who was skilled in non-humanitarian disciplines. We see more artists like Bernini who put emphasis on realism over the idealism. Finally, we see more artists like Joseph Wright who depict latest scientific discoveries in their art.”