Here is a bit of information about how the role and type of art changed from the medieval / dark ages to the Renaissance.
During the Renaissance period, art, and the perspective of art changed dramatically. The Use of art was also changing. While Art used to decorate churches and chapels, the role of it was now different. Artists also had a better place to live, and work. They had supportive bodies to help them achieve their best, and reach the ultimate goal of being a “Renaissance Man”.
Artwork now had perspective. Instead of creating 2D paintings, that were unrealistic, and undeveloped, as well as out of proportion, paintings now had form, proportion and perspective. Paintings were given the depth that we see today, and in many of the paintings in that era. We can now see statues that have been fully cut out of rock, instead of being inset in rock or walls. Sculptures could sculpt the backs of their subjects. One famous sculptor, Michelangelo, once said that he believed that the art of being a sculptor was not to make a person, but to get the person/subject in the rock out of there. Art’s perspective and meaning was now changing to become something more advanced and professional.
The Role or art was too changing. We can see that during the Renaissance, there were wealthy families commissioning artworks from the best of artists. They would patron artists to make their manor houses or villas look grand, or grander than they already were. Art was used to show wealth and power in society, and families like the Medici family certainly did this. They would often have gardens full of statues, to show off their wealth to other wealthy visitors. Art was now becoming a medium to display your wealth to the public, and a sector of the economy. As well as wealthy patrons commissioning artists, they also sometimes provided lodgings for the artist to live in during the time that they worked on a family’s manor/villa. As well as showing off wealth, art was now used to commemorate important events in a family, or city-state. Things like deaths and births were now commemorated. Families like the Medici family could use artists like Michelangelo to create statues of their loved ones, after their death. These statues would often go above the coffin, in the family chapel. These chapels were also decorated with beautiful artworks. The role of art was now not only a medium for religious display, but a medium for the wealthy to display their wealth, as well as a way to commemorate an important event.
Artists also had supportive bodies to help them with their work. These bodies are called guilds, and were very influential in the government of Florence. They wee the body that elected the ruler of Florence. These guilds supported these guilds by providing them with a place to become an apprentice, when they are starting out, establish their pay, and holidays, and give their family any financial or other support in times of trouble like death or illness. Overall, these artists had a very supportive community to work in, and be influential in.
As well as changing of roles of art in the Renaissance period, art now had a different subject from the dark ages. During the medieval period, art always had a religious subject, but now, with the church having less control over the people, the paintings had less of a religious subject. With the aspects of humanism coming into play during the Renaissance period, Greek and Roman texts and myths were being focused on. This meant that the paintings during the Renaissance period were subjective of Greek and Roman gods. This was very common. Over the period of the Renaissance, the focus being taken off religion and the church’s teachings meant more than people being literate. It meant that paintings had more humanist subjects.
Over the whole Renaissance period, artworks, and artists became more common and popular. Artists went from being lowly workers, to being people thought of highly in society. Artworks were given perspective, and had more meaning and subject. Renaissance art became a more sophisticated and interesting topic.