Renaissance vs. Medieval Art

Renaissance Vs Medieval Art:

Madonna – Lorenzo Monaco

Madonna, Lorenzo Monaco. 1381-1425. Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum The painter of this painting is Lorenzo Monaco. Lorenzo Monaco originally was born with the name Piero di Giovanni, but then changed his name. He was born in Vienna during 1370 BCE. Lorenzo is an Italian late medieval artist, and he changed his name when he joined a monastery in 1390 BCE, and from then on he was known as Lorenzo Monaco.

This painting is called ‘Madonna’ and the medium is tempera paint on panel. Tempera or Egg Tempera paint is an old method of making paint. It is made by taking egg yolk and mixing it with a powder which is called a pigment. An object is grinded up into a very smooth powder and then it is mixed with egg yolk and water to create a fast-drying paint. The shade of the paint is changed by the amount of pigment and water. A panel is a wooden panel. This was what painters used in the time and the panel could be larger if there were multiple panels glued together. They would paint on the panel with many layers after a primer layer. Egg tempera paint is usually layered, and it is good because of all of the colors you can make out of different pigments.

The painting is of Jesus’ mother, Mary. Before she was known as Mary, they called her Madonna, which means “my lady” in Italian. In the time religion was a very important thing that led everyone’s lives, so they drew and painted about religion very often in the time. In the painting, you can see Madonna, in the middle, with a faint halo painted around her head. The picture is quite detailed. There is not much going on in the picture since it is just a portrait of Madonna. She is wearing a dark blue cloak with two star designs on it. The background and the stars on her cloak were painted in gold, and gold was only used on things that were very important at the time, like religion. The picture is quite detailed and has some shading to make it look more three dimensional, but some of the body parts look unproportionate and unrealistic.

Attributed to Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis (Italian, active by 1472–died after 1508). Girl with Cherries, ca. 1491–95. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. Marquand Collection, Gift of Henry G. Marquand, 1890 (91.26.5)

This painting is attributed to Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis. Giovanni was an Italian artist who was born in 1455 in Milan. Giovanni was known because he had collaborated with Leonardo da Vinci, and then be became known as a portrait painter.

The painting was painted with Oil paint on wood. This was a very different type of paint than Egg Tempera because it was made by leaving pigment in drying linseed oil. This was a very slow drying paint in comparison to Egg Tempera, and it was much thicker and stronger which meant not as many layers needed to be painted. It was painted on wood because it was the easiest material to paint on since it is very similar to paper. The painting is of a girl holding a basket of cherries. She is wearing a dress and a headband kind of thing that seems to be made of flowers or some other plant. The drawing is very proportianate and looks very realistic and almost like a photo. The sizes of all of the parts of the body look realistic and proportionate. This makes it look very realistic. This was because in renaissance time, they researched anatomy and cut open corpses to find the proportions as well as where different bones and muscles were located. All of the values on the painting look very real.


Compare and Contrast:

The both paintings are of a woman. They are both similar in the sence that they are portrait paintings and they are both of a woman, however they have very many differences. First, the Madonna painting looks like it has a completely different texture. The texture of the paint used looks grainy, and less colorful, while the Girl With Cherries has a very smooth paint that looks more colorful. This could be because of the difference of the paint used. The first painting is about religion, which shows that religion was very important at the time. In the renaissance painting it is not to do with religion which shows the different ways they lived their lives at the time. The paintings are both good, but the renaissance painting is easily the more realistic painting. The reason for this is because of how the during the renaissance they were discovering new things, and artists during the time were studying anatomy to learn about how the body worked and where the different bones and muscles were located. Since the renaissance artists understand anatomy and proportion, their paintings are going to be more realistic. The use of value also changes the realism of the two paintings. They both use value, but the renaissance painting uses significantly more value, this was also because they knew how to draw the curves of the muscles. The renaissance knowledge of anatomy and proportion changed the way artists painted, and this is shown in the difference between the two paintings.

Renaissance art in general:

The renaissance artists during the time were trying to make the most accurate pictures as possible, and they would investigate and study art and anatomy very much to make sure that they could get the most accurate paintings of people as possible. Back in that time, there were no cameras so if they wanted a picture of something they would have to paint or draw it. They studied a lot to create the realistic pictures that they did. The knowledge about proportion, anatomy and value changed art a lot during this age and it helped them draw very realistic pictures which were the closest thing to a photograph at the time.

In art class, we learned a lot about proportion and value, but not so much about anatomy. We have begun a painting of a part of our body, and with our grids that we created we are going to turn a photograph into a painting. We also created a fish drawing which used a lot of value to make it look round and we used proportion to make the fish look realistic and as if it was real. The proportion is a big part of a painting that makes it realisitic, and value is a big part of what makes a painting pop out and look three dimensional.

Now that I have learned these things, I can draw realistically much better and can make my pictures more realistic than I could before since I know how to shade things to look 3D. I can see the improvement in my fish drawing compared to my other drawings, and I will see it in my drawing of a part of my face when I am finished.


Works Cited:

“Giovanni Ambrogio De Predis.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 24 May 2014. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.
Kim, Halim. “Renaissance vs Medieval Art.” Halims Site. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.
“Lorenzo Monaco (Italian Painter).” Encyclopedia Britannica. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.
“Lorenzo Monaco Madonna.” Wikimedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.
“Lorenzo Monaco.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 Mar. 2014. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.
“Oil Paint.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 June 2014. Web. 09 June 2014. <>.
“Tempera.” Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 06 June 2014. Web. 11 June 2014. <>.

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