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The evolution of Middle Ages to Renaissance
While the Renaissance culture was familiar with the biographical genre by a wide repertoire, which went from the lives of illustrious and Greek philosophers, written by Plutarch and Diogenes. Dante had begun the tradition of collecting biographies about artists, a tradition that would culminate with the important figure of Giorgio Vasari (1511-1574) and its vite of ‘Più Eccellenti Architetti, Pittori, et scultori Italiani, da Cimabue Insino to’ tempi nostri nostri nostri, (1550) artistic historiography begins properly. It will be considered as the great art history treaty. Vasari was the creator of the concept of Renaissance
Influenced among others, by Filippo Villani (1325-1407) it includes the ideas that postulates the imitation of nature as the essence of art and the conception that the great art of antiquity had been lost with the course of the centuries, therefore, Florentine artists, particularly Giotto, had made them return through the study of nature. The principle of mimesis (as the aesthetic concept of Aristotle) apply in it, it is thus called the imitation of nature as an essential purpose of art and as a criterion of valuation, repeated since then in art literature.
The method used by Vasari part of the idea of a biographical knowledge of artists, that is, systematizes the history of Italian art from the personality of artists, an idea that contradicts the religious ideal of predominant humility until then. Artists, that way they separated from the concept of artisans, more interested in scientific and technical issues.
THE STRUCTURE OF THE BOOK OF “LIVES..”It is organized with the progressive and evolutionary idea of art. It begins with a new childhood (Cimabue, Los Pisanos, Giotto, Arnolfo di Change), is followed by a flourishing youth (Della Quercia, Massaccio, Donatello, Giberti, etc.) to which they characterize the study and the technical discoveries (anatomy, optics, perspective), to finally, already in the 16th century, lead to what would be the perfetta manera. The latter is represented by Giorgione, Tiziano, Andrea del Sarto;It is completed by the upper trinity of artists on which Paolo Giovio had already written: Leonardo, Rafael and Miguel Ángel.
Then arises and following what Kant proposed his criticism of pure reason, that is, to examine in the light of reason all those subjects or disciplines to which he intends to apply, this means that the history of art begins in a scientific way in a scientific way.
The impact of lives became evident in almost all the books that followed. Being the biographical model adopted almost universally until reaching Winckelman, true driver of art history.
In the development of art historiography, two decisive points are usually marked: the first, in the mid -16th century, with the publication of Le Vite … by Giorgio Vasari, and a second moment, in the middle of the 18Through the figure of Johann Winckelmann (1717-67), the artist will no longer be so much but the work created by it, and his insertion into a historical and cultural development. In 1764 he published the "History of Art" that involves an important methodological turn regarding Vasari’s approach.
The 18th century attended scientific specialization, a new erudition and the reconsideration of classical antiquity. In the century of lights the collection and cataloging of large art collections, archeology was developed and new intellectual interests were developed.
In Winckelmann we can find characteristic features, such as the definition of beauty and morals (old Greek ideal), historical facts can explain the origin of artistic forms and use a descriptive and interpretive methodology.
For Winckelmann, the “Belvedere ApolAureo, also called God’s number, as the correlation between two segments of a line, that is, a geometric construction. For Winckelmann the beauty achieved by classical art was an authentic expression of the absolute.
With Winckelmann the conception of style begins, evolutionary, which through the historical judgments of a society, a specific culture and time can be recognized. That is from a rationalist point of view. With this new way of thinking about the history of art Europe of the North overcomes the Italian conception, dissolving its predominance.
From I. Kant (1742–1804). What he proposed in his "criticism of pure reason" arises, examine in the light of reason all those subjects or disciplines that we analyze. But now this intuitive story will be submitted to the forms of understanding and especially to the unifying faculty, which at the same time is an ordering and classifier. With a more reasonable and normalizable study of a more work we will approach the (objectivable), marginalizing the purely aesthetic elements. For Kant this means that art history begins in a scientific way.
Kant in his "criticism of judgment" (1790) reflects on the trials on beauty, supposes the beginning of modern aesthetics, in an exercise of pure disinterested satisfaction, an attempt to mediate between knowing and desire.
Taine’s fundamental idea is that we can only know a work of art if they relate to all the elements that make up, their physical, artistic and cultural environment. Taine embodies the archetype of the positivist historian, who conceives the history of art as a natural history of art. The gestation of art is outside it, in external social events. Thus, areas such as geography, economics, history and religion would determine the aesthetic form. His method of analysis of the work of art is to recognize that it does not occur isolated, it is necessary to look for the totality of the one that depends and therefore explains it.
In Jacobo Burckhardt (1818-1897) we find the overcoming of positivism and the background of the Vienna School. He deserves a prominent place in the annals of art historiography, for his study of the Italian Renaissance in his work "Culture of Renaissance" in 1860.
He tells us about the transition of the Middle Ages to the creative spirit of the Renaissance, where men conceived as members of one community to another in which the individual is idealized. The different aspects of the life of a people have been marked in the work, and therefore reflects the life and culture of a people. These postulates of a living work will open the way for other methodologies that will occur in the twentieth century such as existentialism and phenomenology.