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How Art Reflects Life

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During both the Renaissance and Medieval period art was a major part of peoples' culture. In Medieval times, or around 500 to 1350 A.C., art seemed to depict religious scenes and was very cartoon like. The people painted looked unrealistic and not detailed. The Renaissance period was quite the opposite. Lasting from 1350 to 1600 A.C., it was a time of promise for all arts. People had developed the skill of perspective and focused more on other works such as portraits and sculptures of the human body rather than religious ideals and practices. Even though these periods were very different they both had one thing in common: they provided us with a view of what the people who lived in this era valued. Art does reflect life, either in a scenic or scientific way.

In Ravenna, Italy, in 549 A.C., Bishop Ursicinus decided to erect an impressive church to honor the first bishop of Ravenna. From the outside, the Basilica of St. Apollinare doesn't look that impressive though. It's the inside that is what attracts attention. Completely covered by mosaics, it is colorful and beautifully constructed. The most prominent of all of these mosaics is the one above the alter, the scene of Jesus on a farm underneath a large cross. This artwork depicts how much religion was integrated into peasants' everyday activities, such as farming. With the creation of this art many historians now can connect religion as one of the most important things in these peoples' lives.

Giotto di Bondone was the most famous artist of his day, praised by Dante and considered by his students to have revived the art of painting after centuries of decline. So when he painted "The Epiphany" in Florence, Italy, in 1330 A.C., many weren't surprised by how well it came to be. It still was lacking a lot of humanistic qualities but most definitely showed improvement. Giotto brought the clothing to life, with its delicate creases and indents, as well as giving the shed a 3D look to it. His people lacked the right emotions though. Mary looked almost depressed and Jesus looked ten times older than he actually was. "The Epiphany" was another religious piece, again furthering the importance of religion in medieval times.

Uffizi, Florence was a productive village, as well as the home to "La Primavera", which was painted by Sandro Botticelli in 1482. Also known as Allegory of Spring, this painting depicts a scene of women embracing the change of the seasons in a rich forest. Taking a step away from religion, Botticelli showed more of a natural scene and showed how women made up the definition of beauty and serenity. The peaceful and tranquil looks on their faces show how at ease and relaxed they are. This provides us with the idea that people from the renaissance age were very focused in enjoying their lives through relaxation and progressing in the art



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