Influence of Humanism and Renaissance Italian Art

Last Updated: 20 Jun 2022
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During the Italian Renaissance , humanism played an important role ininfluencing the artist of that time in their paintings and what they drew. The definition of humanism is the denial of any power or moral value superior to that of humanity; the rejection of religion in favor of a belief in the advancement of humanity by its own efforts. This means that many of the philosophers, scientists, and artists of that time started to reject the ideas of the church. Previously almost all pictures had to do with religion but this changed and is shown in two works in the Italian Renaissance. They are The School of Athens, by Raphael, and in The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci.

Taking a first glimpse of The School of Athens by Raphael, you will see that there is humanism everywhere. You can tell that it was planned carefully, and portrayed something meaningful to the artist. In the painting The School of Athens you can notice an extremely dominant theme: Humanism. The artist, Raphael, shows a thirst and eagerness for knowledge that is displayed everywhere in the painting. This gives us a glimpse of what society was back in the Renaissance. Judging by the painting, it was mainly revolving around education and advancement. In The School of Athens, Raphael paints people learning from, debating against and simply ignore one another.

Each individual illustrates a point about society in the Renaissance. Similar to the theme and the setting of the painting, these interactions mostly have to do with knowledge and understanding, as the school would not be a place of social life back then. Both the theme of and people in the painting are included in the realism of a painting to show a society, which is used effectively in The School of Athens by Raphael.

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In The Last Supper, by Leonardo da Vinci, Leonardo also uses humanism although it has to do somewhat with religion. In the painting, there is immense amounts of symmetry in this painting. This was important to humanism because everything was supposed to be balanced. Also man's perfection was a big part in the renaissance, and a body is symmetrical. So some symmetry in The Last Supper was, on either side of Jesus was a group of six people, then in those groups of people each was split into two other groups, all very even and symmetrical. There was also four panels on each side of the walls.

Another characteristic of humanism art was real emotions. Every single person in this painting( besides Jesus, who was left out for obvious reasons) is not smiling. They are giving real emotions. Humanism art was all about emotions, and being real. All the people in the painting seem concerned or anxious, all real emotions, they are not just happy all the time. Like what was stated before, artist of the time wanted to show how real people in the paintings were. All the people have shaded in feature which give them the look of real people.

As you can see, by these two works and also by many others, there much much humanism involved. In almost every painting, the artists drew more life like pictures and people showing the expressions of their faces and the society they had lived in at that time. You can see this in the two examples that I showed. Both of them had similar aspects because both had realistic people in them, and both pictures showed expressions on the peoples faces.

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Influence of Humanism and Renaissance Italian Art. (2016, Jul 03). Retrieved from

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