Aspirations For The New Year Through Renaissance Art

You may be familiar with the French term, Renaissance, meaning “rebirth,” which signifies an era in European literature, art and culture during the 15th and 16th centuries. But, it can apply to life today in more ways than you may think.

bronze doors renaissance
Gates of Paradise. INSTAGRAM @florentineculture

Specifically, the shift in art is a great approach to understanding the Renaissance period as a whole. This was a time when patronage of the arts was a main focus for cities and powerful families in flaunting their prestige. Since it served as a time for competition which ultimately led to stellar craftsmanship, artists had to work on new skills to stand out in order to be hired.

In a competition for the opportunity to create the baptistry doors in Florence, known as the Gates of Paradise, Lorenzo Ghiberti and Filippo Brunellesci both studied ancient Roman and Greek architecture and sculpture to gain skills so they could present to commissioners. Both artists were able to master artistry in creating reliefs in bronze panels, ultimately Ghiberti was awarded the role of creating the final set of doors, available for viewing today in the Opera Duomo Museum.

In order to achieve their goals of the bronze doors commissions, both Ghiberti and Brunellesci had to meticulously focus on their craftsmanships. With a New Year that will hopefully soon return to a normal we once knew, we can take this time to work on our own craftsmanships. Taking a course online in something you are passionate about or making a commitment to learning how to cook your own meals are just a few examples. In a time where the world is at our fingertips, literally, there is an abundance of knowledge just waiting to be learned that can help us create a new beginning this year.

School of Athens
School of Athens. INSTAGRAM @endlessartlover

When creating The School of  Athens, Raphael curated an image of many greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle being two of the people shown. Under the influence of Da Vinci, Raphael created an image of both depth and elegance. His work in this painting is considered as High Renaissance which refers to some of the greatest works you may know and love today were made within an extremely short time frame, including: the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo and The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci.

Like Raphael, pulling influences from other creators and educators can help us to produce something truly masterful. Think of someone in a career that interests you. Study the steps that they took to get to the place they are now and set a goal to start finding your own path using the same influence as a reference point. 2020 definitely had us all in for a year we did not expect but as the new year sets in, we can spend it as a time of rebirth. Just like the Renaissance.

Katherine McGowan


Katherine is a New Jersey native who is passionate about understanding culture through its history and food. You can most likely find her enjoying an Aperol Spritz with a local or getting lost on a windy cobblestone road. Some of her other favorite cities are NYC, Amsterdam, London and Rome.

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