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How Did Humanism Affect Art?

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Robin Burden Profile
Robin Burden answered
Humanism affected art in many interesting ways:

  • It changed the subject matter of art
  • It influenced the way humans were portrayed in art
  • Artists began paying more attention to human traits and the human anatomy in their artistic interpretations
How humanism changed art When historians talk about 'humanism', they are most often referring to a social attitude that swept through Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries.

Essentially, this 'attitude' can be described as a refocusing of values - where society began drifting away from the Catholic-driven ideas of the Middle Ages, and where appreciation of classical (ancient Greek and Roman) art and philosophy came back into fashion.

The effect that this had was pretty big. In fact, the fallout is what we now call the 'Renaissance', a French word that means 'rebirth'.

In terms of artistic change - the biggest thing that humanism brought about was a more secular approach.

Although artists were still regularly commissioned by the Church, and paintings still depicted biblical scenes - there was a new emphasis upon the human element as well.

Anatomical correctness become an important part of Renaissance art - you only need to see Michelangelo's David to see what I mean. Previously, depicting a naked man (or even dedicating so much time to replicating the human form) would have been seen as blasphemous.

Human emotion and feeling also began seeping back into art, as did the mythological traditions of Roman paganism.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Humanism changed the way society viewed their role in the universe. People began to attribute man's capabilities to man, and not God, and artists began to sign their works or put self portraits in them.

Also, artists began to portray with anatomical correctness the human body, and it was often nude, as no other art in the middle ages would have been.

Also the art became increasingly secular (to a degree). Not a very large degree, but some subjects of art had nothing to do with God, and more to do with humans.

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