Florence: The Renaissance: Patriotism And Renaissance Art

1830 Words8 Pages
Much like the Olympians from ancient mythology, Renaissance artists are regarded as gods. They revolutionized the art world, reviving themes and styles derived from the Ancient Greeks and Romans. The style they created completely contrasted with that of its predecessor, International Gothic. But how did this “Rebirth” come about? There are many answers to this question, but much of it lies in patriotism and civic values, especially in sculpture. One of the best examples of this is in 15th century Florence, which was virtually the birthplace of the Renaissance. It is there that sculpture reached its culmination, as a result of pride in the city, its history, and its values.
Long before Florence was even a thought, there was Rome. The center
…show more content…
After devastating both the population and the economy in 1348, the Black Death finally passed over, allowing Florence to finally recover. Textile, trade, and international banking once again flourished, and boosted Florence's prestige as one of the strongest city in Italy. All of a sudden, Florence had become the powerhouse for European commerce and business. At the same time, “...the city was under siege from the Milanese”. Because of this and Florence’s growing strength, the 15th century became a period of intense patriotism and civic pride. Florence felt that it had superiority over other Italian cities, and had the strong desire to express this through the use of arts. Florentine patrons wanted the best artists and sculptures to beautify their city so that it would appear to be the most prominent of the principalities in Italy. However, there was not just a rivalry between Florence and the various city states of Italy. There was also a rivalry amongst the different guilds that dominated Florence. In the 1400s, Florence was controlled by seven main guilds, “each of which has a particular social standing and political outlook”. The more distinguished of these guilds were the Wool Merchant Guild and the Cloth Importers Guild. The guild members’ strong sense of patriotism and pride towards the organization that they belonged to, combined with their desire to outdo their competitors, led to them funding sculptures…show more content…
Viewing themselves as heirs to Ancient Rome, the Florentines spearheaded the Humanist movement, believing that they were the ideal city state to inherit Rome’s prestige. They not only wanted to be like Rome, they wanted to become Rome, a centre for the arts as well as politics. This interest in the Greco-Roman style of art is what led to the advancement in sculptural technique. Additionally, there was a surge in patriotism due to the end of the plague and a break in the war against Milan. In celebration, the Florentines decided to beautify the city, to display their growing power. Another reason for decorating Florence however, was so that the citizens could show their solidarity towards their community and give back to city which they so dearly loved. Such civic values not only inspired the citizens, but also the sculptors, especially Donatello, with his creation of David. He stood for Florence and her liberty. For triumph over tyranny. However, the fight was not over yet, as Florence would have to face off against tyranny once again in the next
Open Document