The Renaissance was an amazing time in history. It was the age of Beauty. Beauty was held as equal to truth. During this period Christianity was the focus as seen through the lenses of Art. The amount of creativity and talent expressed through sculptures, paintings, frescoes, textiles, glass and buildings erected was phenomenal. Some of the greatest artists to have ever graced the planet were working during this time.
Italy was the epicenter for this emergence of great art. While water flowed through Venice’s canals, molten glass flowed through the blow tubes of Murano artists creating glassworks of exquiste color and transparency. Florence was the city of learning and instruction, of innovation and creation. Young men would forge their talent under the tutelage of the great Masters. Men such as Leonardo Da Vinci, Ghiberti, Donatello, and Brunelleschi honed their talents and expanded their techniques of painting and sculpting.
If Florence was the center for learning, Rome was the graduation. Many an artist dreamed of being commissioned by the Medici’s to large and magnificent undertakings.
Competition and collaboration was the stuff that lit the fires and imaginations of artists. The bronze doors of the Florence Cathedral drew great artists in competition. The Sistine Chapel was perhaps the greatest undertaking for a group of artists selected to paint frescos and panels for the Pope Sixtus IV.
Most likely there will never be a time in history that repeats itself in such largeness and grandeur. We are the world of economy now and of conservation. The cultural mindset is to conserve while exploring solutions to our mounting problems of space and clean air. This does not mean we have turned our creative juices off. We are innovating and expanding in the world of technology. The 21st century and 20th century will be known as the age of technology.
What it does mean in the flashfield world of nano seconds and gigabytes is that everything is rushing by at high speed. Art and beauty take second seat to the needs and the ever increasing drummed up desires for the lastest and greatest techno toys produced. People are lining up to buy the newest IPhone but there are no lines in comparison for a rising artist and her new exhibition.
Art and Beauty will always be with us, but it will never be given the driver’s seat as it was in the Renaissance. Who are the poorest paid for their talents and capabilities? Artists. We love their work but aren’t willing or able to fund it. Only the lucky top percent are recognized and paid handsomely for it. Perhaps, we pay those artists great sums of money because we too are starved for great art and are only exposed to it through these small dropfuls of beauty.
Musicians should not be left out of the group and perhaps even actors (though I’m not so sure about acting as being the truest of art). All are creating in the most visible way, and we need their talents to help us escape from our dreary business worlds of lines and graphs and balance sheets. We need the balance of art to bring the center of our own creativity alive, to inspire and to challenge us.
Art is a reflection of the culture. Art speaks to us in subjective terms that the soul understands and translates as sustenance to its own growth. Some cultural sociologists state we are entering a facsimile of the Renaissance Age. Because of the deep involvement in the linear world of technology, business,and financial times, humans crave beauty and balance. Creativity is beeing seen as foundational to the business world and how people function in it.
Perhaps the great Romantic poet John Keats said it best in his poem Ode on a Grecian Urn, “Beauty is Truth, Truth is Beauty.” The truth is we need beauty in our lives. We need to encourage and applaud all of the talent that is still there in the form of art. So many of us who are blessed with the ability to create or to appreciate the creation of art should not relegate it to the back seat of our lives or of our world.