The Use of Gold in Early Renaissance Art - Essay Example

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The essay discusses the use of gold in the early Renaissance art and analyzes within it is good or bad qualities. Paintings created during the early Renaissance show a heavy use of gold in their backgrounds, mostly to demonstrate the otherworldly nature of the religious topics they depicted…
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The Use of Gold in Early Renaissance Art
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"The Use of Gold in Early Renaissance Art"

The essay "The Use of Gold in Early Renaissance Art" focuses on the use of gold early Renaissance art. It was also used in the printing of books in what was called an ‘illuminated manuscript’ because of the way the light would be reflected from the characters. One of the main disadvantages, which became more obvious toward that latter end of the Renaissance period, was that the gold tended to flake off of the artwork faster than the pigments used and it required polishing if it were to remain bright. Also toward the end of the Renaissance, the priest Savonarola had gained control of the city of Florence, the heart of the Renaissance culture, and had denounced the practice of blatant use of riches such as gold within paintings. One of Savonarola’s early adherents, Michelangelo, by refusing to use gold in his paintings of the Sistine Chapel, perhaps cemented the demise of gold leaf in painting. In addition to the expense and disadvantageous effects of gold on the longevity of a painting, he argued that the images depicted were not rich people and shouldn’t be represented in finery they had not owned. Paintings created during the early Renaissance show a heavy use of gold in their backgrounds, mostly to demonstrate the otherworldly nature of the religious topics they depicted. Because of its reflective quality and the expense of the material, it was also considered a status symbol for the one who commissioned the piece. It was generally applied in leaf or powder form and burnished or unburnished. Read More
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