What’s the Difference Anyways…

Not knowing much about Renaissance Art when I first started the unit, I could only infer from what I know about the Renaissance in general. The beliefs that were taken from classical literature from ancient Greece and Rome were reborn in the Renaissance and they focused greatly on the ideas of glorifying humans instead of God.

So, looking around the Internet and books to get the idea of Renaissance Art was interesting and very logical to me. What I saw were different pictures and texts, talking about the ideas of glorifying humans coming through in the artists work. In McKay, the class textbook, and in class discussions we discovered that the artists were painting very humanistic things and ideas. The painting “School of Athens” by Raphael, he painted people studying math and science, and trying to achieve the perfect gentlemen. According to McKay, the artists would be hired by anyone and would most commonly paint portraits. This is different fro the Medieval Era because instead of painting and glorifying God, the painter is glorifying a human, which is a very humanistic quality.

I found on Wikipedia that in the 1860’s the Renaissance ideas and concepts in paintings were thrown out the window to try a new style, modern art. From the newfound freedom emerged Cubism, Impressionism, and Abstract Expressionism. From Kottke.org, Van Gough made Impressionism famous. Impressionist paintings are that of which the painter feels about what he or she sees. I think Van Gough’s paintings of the water lilies really illustrate aspects of Modern Art, like the messy brush strokes, but also has a Humanism aspect to it also, the lilies. It’s something from this world that was important to him to someone representing humans.

I believe Cubism and Abstract Expressionism are very similar is the way they are presented to the viewer. Picasso made cubism famous while Jackson Pollock made Abstract Expressionism well known. Normally both art forms are abstract and different from the way the original subject appears.

The difference between the Renaissance and Modern Art is the subject and manner in which the painting is drawn. Renaissance Art mostly consisted of portraits of important people, nobility, royalty, or high paid merchants, or anyone else who could afford a painter. Modern Art is known for consisting wild brush stroke and an odd interpretation of  the subject.

Work Cited:

1. “Modern Art.” Wikipedia. Web.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Modern_art

2. “Modern Art History.” All Buy Art. Web.  http://www.allbuyart.com/art-movements.asp

3. “A History of Modern Art in Three Paragraphs.” Kottke.com. Web.  http://kottke.org/09/08/a-history-of-modern-art-in-three-paragraphs

4. McKay, John P. A History of Western Society. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2008. Print.




  1. becca0906

    Hi Casey! I really enjoyed reading your post – I don’t know much about modern art (and to be honest have never really liked it that much), but hearing about the different styles of modern art and what modern artists are trying to do with their pieces was interesting and gave me a new appreciation for modern art. I was wondering: why do you think that Renaissance ideas and concepts were thrown out? Was it just because people thought it was time to try a new art form, or was the change prompted by something else? Do you think that Renaissance ideas and concepts still play a role in today’s art?
    Great job on your post!

    • cassandra2014

      Hi Becca!
      Thanks for commenting! I’m not the biggest fan of Modern Art either but I like that you can paint straight lines and consider it “art”! To answer your questions, I’m not entirely sure why the Renaissance ideas for art were thrown out the window. That’s a good question! I think because they reached a point where they reached a point in their history where it was time to try something new! That’s just my guess. To answer your last question, I think to some extent Renaissance ideas and concept do still effect the Modern Art of today because the basic and historic developments and aspects that the old ideas and concepts offer.
      Thanks for commenting!

  2. avaz121

    Nice posting! In fact, i always think that any art development is influenced by related factors—living condition, warfare, cultural revolution, etc. Music, paintings, films, theaters, all must acquire and satisfy the needs of humans: as Medieval humans were suffering in plague and famine, religion became their dependence; when economy recovered in the Renaissance, people shifted their focus to moral needs; in the nearer centuries, artists began seeking ways to expression emotions from newer angles, angles where the prior artists never reached.

  3. janine248

    Hi There! I really enjoyed reading your post, you did a good job illustrating how Renaissance art gave way to modern art, and how that later affected different aspects of modern art specifically. What do you think Modern Art would look like without the Renaissance as a predecessor?
    Thanks again for a great post!

    • cassandra2014

      Hi Janine!
      Thanks for commenting! Wow! I don’t know what Modern Art would look like if the Renaissance wasn’t before it! The historic background, concepts, and ideas of Renaissance Art defiantly effect today’s modern art. Without the Renaissance as a predecessor everything would most likely have been different.
      Thanks again for commenting!

  4. rogina9993

    Hey Casey:)
    Nice post with a clear idea of comparing modern and Renaissance art! Many paintings illustrate the aspect of modern art, and the Renaissance art is the factor of influence. However, I am just curious about, how is the idea of “art” changed as time past? Comparing to the portraits in Renaissance, and the example of lilies by Van Gogh, to the art we see today(such as the can drawings). How do people want to perform from their painting in different times?

    • cassandra2014

      Hi Rogina!
      Thanks for commenting! I think the idea of “art” has changed greatly but has also kept key concepts alive. The definition of “art” can be so widely defined. Meaning there are Renaissance portraits or the are glass towers in the Portland Art Museum. Both would be considered art, so obviously there has been an expansion of the definition. One thing builds off of another to create something new.
      Thanks for commenting!

  5. brianthemathematician

    Hey Casey, I really enjoyed reading your blog post! Do you believe that renaissance art could have a bit of a “renaissance” in later times, or do you feel that it is dead forever, to be replaced by a different style?


  6. cassandra2014

    Hi Brian!
    Thanks for commenting! I defiantly think that Renaissance Art aspects are still alive in today’s art for sure! Nothing dies completely and forever! Artists today still paint portraits and such like they did in the Renaissance and in the Medieval Era.
    Thanks again for commenting!

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