History essay paper

  1. In the fourteenth century, altarpieces by Cimabue and Giotto made considerable advances towards a new naturalism, but none of them made a complete break with the past. How is the work of both artists characteristic of the 14th century as a transitional period in the history of art—a period of transition from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Compare and contrast the two versions of Virgin and Child Enthroned, noting the differences between these two generations of artists. Discuss how each artist makes his depiction of the Virgin and Child seem more lifelike to reflect the fact that fourteenth century artists became more interested in creating naturalistic images of the human figure. Discuss what medieval/Gothicizing qualities remain in each painting.  How did Giotto’s frescos and paintings move away from Gothic mysticism and splendor towards a new naturalism characteristic of the Renaissance period? How does the work of Giottodi Bondonein the Scroveign (Arena) Chapel reflect this development towards increased naturalism and realism?

In your essay, please explain, mark in bold, and use appropriately in context ALL of the following terms: Renaissance/Scrovegni/Grisaille/Maniera greca/Tempera/fresco secco/buon fresco/Modeling


  1. Cimabue, Madonna and Child Enthroned with Angels and Prophets, 12’ x 7’, tempera on wood, 1280-1290
  2. Giotto di Bondone, Madonna Enthroned, 10’ x 6’, tempera on wood, 1310, Florence
  3. Giotto di Bondone, Arena Chapel, Padua, Italy, ca. 1305. Fresco, Lamentation


  1. Northern Renaissance artists combined elements of medieval art and Renaissance sensibility. 15th-century Flemish paintings, in particular, united complicated symbolism with carefully observed studies of the natural world. What are the characteristics of the 15th century Northern Renaissance style and how do these paintings exemplify those characteristics?  How do these artists use everyday objects as symbols to represent religious ideas?  What is hidden symbolism and how do the paintings below use that feature?  How do they demonstrate their interest in careful observation of the world and their desire to represent three-dimensionality in paintings?  What techniques do they use to represent the illusion of three-dimensional bodies and spaces?  Who are the patrons of these works and how do the paintings convey the patron’s presence, piety, or importance?

In your essay, please explain, mark in bold, and use appropriately in context ALL of the following terms: Northern European Renaissance/International Gothic style/Annunciation/Atmospheric perspective/intuitive perspective/Oil paint/glazes/Polyptych


  1. Van Eyck, Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride, oil on wood, 1434
  2. Van Eyck, Ghent Altarpiece, oil on wood,1432, 11’6” x 7’6”
  3. Rogier van der Weyden, Deposition, 1435, oil on wood, 7’ x 8’ (patrons)
  4. Robert Campin, Merode Altarpiece, ca. 1425—1428, 7’3” x 8’7”, oil on wood


  1. 15th century Italian artists invented a grid system using a vanishing point and orthogonals to create a natural sense of spatial recession. What is the name of that system, why did artists use it, and how do Perugino’s fresco and Masaccio’s work employ that system? How does it enhance the naturalistic and realistic representation of space in their frescos?  Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera and Birth of Venus do not display the same interest in naturalism as other artists of this period. How does Botticelli create an image that appears more mythological and allegorical rather than illusionistic?  Even though his art is lacking Masaccio’s naturalistic quality, what about his painting classifies Botticelli as a Renaissance artist?  How do his works express the ideas of Neoplatonism and the view of his patrons?

In your essay, please explain, mark in bold, and use appropriately in context ALL of the following terms:the Medici/Flemish influence in Italy/Linear perspective/Vanishing point/Orthogonals/Leon Battista Alberti/Allegory/Neoplatonic philosophy


  1. Perugino, Christ Delivering the Keys of the Kingdom to Saint Peter, Sistine Chapel, Vatican, Rome, Italy, 1481–1483. Fresco, 11’ 5 1/2” x 18’ 8 1/2”.
  2. Masaccio, Tribute Money, Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence, Italy, ca. 1427. Fresco, 8’ 1” x 19’ 7”
  3. Botticelli, Birth of Venus, 1484, tempera on canvas, 5’9” x 9’2”
  4. Sandro Botticelli, Primavera, 1482, tempera on wood, 6’8” x 10’4”


  1. Describe how the artworks listed below express the characteristics of the High Renaissance style and the Mannerist style. Consider the subject, composition, and style of the works.  How are the first three paintings and sculptures representative of Renaissance thinking?  Who commissioned them and how do they reflect the taste and ideas of their patrons?  For instance, why would the subject of Raphael’s Philosophy have been of interest to a Renaissance pope? Mannerism developed during the same time period as the High Renaissance. How was it a reaction to the ideals of the High Renaissance? In what ways did the taste of Mannerist patrons differ from patrons who preferred Renaissance works and how does Bronzino’s painting encapsulates the Mannerist style?

In your essay, please explain, mark in bold, and use appropriately in context ALL of the following terms: High Renaissance/sfumato/Vitruvius/pyramidal composition/Cartoon/Julius II/paragone/Mannerism

  1. Leonardo, Virgin of the Rocks, 1485, oil on wood, 6’3” x 3’7”
  2. Michelangelo, David, 1501-1504, 13’5” high
  3. Raphael, Philosophy (School of Athens), 1509-1511, fresco, 19’ x 27’
  4. Bronzino, Venus, Cupid, Folly, and Time (The Exposure of Luxury), ca. 1546. Oil on wood

Last Updated on August 31, 2021

Don`t copy text!