Throughout time the humanities have evolved and proof of this evolution is seen in each of the different concepts that humanities cover. There are several time capsules that are rumored to contain pieces of some of the most influential art, music, architecture, philosophy, and literature in the Renaissance and Baroque periods. To find these capsules would be to travel back in time and hold in one’s hands the true measure of what the humanities has accomplished during its evolution. Art The Renaissance was perceived as a rebirth of ancient traditions.
It breathed new life into the artists of its time with the development of new techniques and new artistic sensibilities. The art created during the Renaissance marks the transition of the world’s evolution from the Medieval Period into the Early Modern Age. Leonardo da Vinci was one of the most well-known Renaissance artists. It is rumored that the Art Time Capsule contains one of his most famous works entitled, “Mona Lisa. ” This world’s best known piece was created circa 1503-1505 and is composed of oil on panel.
It depicts a female figure (suspected to be the wife of the Florentine banker Francesco del Giocondo) sitting in front of a landscape of rugged mountains. In this painting, da Vinci used soft, smoky gradations of light and shade to place a soft blur over the landscape as well as the sitter. The blurring effect makes the facial expression of the sitter (and its gender according to some) almost impossible to determine. The Art Time Capsule also contains an example from the Baroque Period. The Baroque Age (which flourished between 1600 and 1750) preceded the Renaissance and brought about a heightened naturalism and emotionalism to Western art.
The artists of the Baroque period worked to use dramatic expressiveness to make viewers feel as though they were part of the scene. Artists used their talents to depict events that often were sometimes found to be appalling, shocking, and gruesome. Gianlorenzo Bernini, the chief architect of 17th century Rome, was able to use his great skills to bring the theatrical spirit of Baroque theater to Italian architecture and sculpture. Bernini’s many fountains led the city of Rome to becoming known as “the city of fountains”. This difficult task was made possible by the revival of the old Roman aqueducts.
The main piece that was a favorite ornament of the Baroque era was his “Fountain of Four Rivers” that was adorned with dolphins, mermaids and tritons (located in the Piazza Navona, Rome). Music Music has been speaking to the soul since the beginning of time. Instruments during this period were handmade and very valuable. Some could only be played by professionals while others were passed down through families with the skill evolving through the generations. The tambourine began as an instrument that was composed of only a frame drum. It acquired the jingles upon the sides during the medieval crusades.
It was most popular with dancers and gypsies. The Music Time Capsule contains early renditions of this instrument before its evolution and after. The Baroque Period also played a major role in the evolution of music. Many talented composers took up their craft during this period and made their mark in the music world, none more so than Johann Sebastian Bach. Bach was a German organist who learned his craft from his older brother. His music is still listened to by millions of people and has made a huge impression on many a young artist.
The time capsule contains an organ key from the very first organ he ever laid his hands during composition of his music. Architecture During the Renaissance there was a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. This revival spilled over into the development of architecture during that time period. Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the most famous architects during the renaissance and is often credited with bringing about the Renaissance view of architecture. He was known for the “order” within his ork. He incorporated mathematical order into his buildings and is well-known for the work he accomplished for the Cathedral of Florence. The Architecture Time Capsule contains the document with the blessing from the cornerstone of this great church. The Baroque style of architecture focused less on mathematical order and more on boldness. Colonnades, domes, color effects, volume, and void are all concepts of the Baroque style of architecture. The Piazza of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is a great example of Baroque architecture in its preference for the grandiose.
It captures all of the concepts that dominated the Baroque style of architecture and brings them together to create something that is visually stunning. The time capsule contains a painting depicting the aerial view of the colonnade and piazza of St. Peter’s. The piazza was so large and spectacular that it could accommodate more than 250,000 people. Philosophy Philosophy during the Renaissance was also about the rebirth of mankind. Renaissance philosophy covered the rebirth of classical civilization and learning.
Humanism, the effort to recover and revive Greco-Roman culture, was introduced and the way people thought about and understood their purpose in life was changed forever. Humanism led people back to the old programs of study that embraced grammar, rhetoric, history, poetry, and moral philosophy. The Philosophy Time capsule contains a copy of Imitatio Christi (Imitation of Christ), the writings of Thomas a Kempis; these writings put the message of Jesus into daily practice and became the most frequently published book in the Christian West.
Baroque Philosophy is generally regarded as being the start of modern philosophy and a departure from the medieval approach. It is also known as The Age of Reason. During the Baroque Period concepts such as epistemology, metaphysics, logic, and ethics were introduced. Philosophers were classified into two schools: rationalists and empiricists. It is said that the time capsule contains many of the writings of Rene Descartes, the founder of modern Western philosophy. Literature Literature during the Renaissance was greatly affected by the creation of the printing press.
Johannes Gutenberg’s invention made it possible to fabricate books more cheaply, more rapidly, and in greater numbers than ever before. The printing technology became the single most important factor in the success of the Protestant Reformation. The developments that improved printing technology allowed authors to write using the local vernacular instead of the usual Greek or Latin. This widened the reading audience and promoted the spread of renaissance ideas. The Literature Time Capsule is rumored to contain the first book printed on Gutenberg’s printing press.
Literature during the Baroque Period expressed new values that were often recorded using metaphors and allegory. The Northern Baroque style, unlike the Catholic Reformation in Italy, Spain, and parts of the Americas, emphasized personal piety and private devotion. The printed word was created to stir up feelings; to make one look inside themselves for answers and to ultimately ask whatever questions they could come up with in order to get closer to the answers they sought. A great example of these literary works would be one of the eloquent sermons of the poet John Donne.
His Meditation 17, which depicts humankind as part of a vast, cosmic plan. Human beings are but “chapters” in the larger “book” of God’s design. It is Donne’s rejection of the conventional poetic language and his choice to favor the traditional conversation tone that represents the revolutionary development of the Baroque Time Period and its changes. Conclusion The many different examples within these capsules represent periods of time that caused major shifts in the perception of the world.
The evolution of the humanities between these two periods is astounding in their differences. Many great pieces were created in this time and it is quite a relief to know that the knowledge they grant has been preserved and will be available to anyone lucky enough to find them.
- Fiero, Gloria K. (2011). The Humanistic Tradition, Book 3: The European Renaissance, the Reformation, and Global Encounter (6th Ed). New York: McGraw Hill.
- Fiero, Gloria K. (2011). The Humanistic Tradition, Book 4: Faith, Reason, and Power in the Early Modern World (6th Ed). New York: McGraw Hill.