During the Dark Ages (c.500-1100), Europe deteriorated and the Western Pope in Rome was dwarfed by his Eastern Byzantine colleague in Constantinople. When Europe started to recover from around 800, the Western Papacy was highly reliant upon the secular strength of the French Emperor Charlemagne and afterwards the Emperors in Germany. It was not until an ecumenical council voted Pope Martin V pontiff in 1417, in the preliminary years of the Renaissance, that he and ensuing popes were able to convert their attention towards fortifying and regaining the papal stature of Rome (Fishburne, 2014). In 1417, the pope was the spiritual and temporal ruler of millions of people, a dual authority that led to numerous conflicts in the course of the fifteenth century. The pope was the steward of the Roman Church and the leader of many territories. The flowering Renaissance art in Florence in the course of the fifteenth century (quattrocento) was an issue of envy and concern to several other Italian cities, more so Rome (Noel, 2016). The essay analyses the influence of the pope on the artwork of the Renaissance.
The Florentine ruling of the early Renaissance gave the city an indisputable impression of authority. As the century progressed, it was clear to Martin and his successors that the sole method to re-establish the stature of the papacy, was to render Rome the new center of the Italian Renaissance by furnishing it with great architecture, painting, and sculpture. That is exactly wat took place. Two renowned Renaissance Old Masters are typically associated with the origin of the papal patronage, Michelangelo and Raphael. During the period, thirteen popes were voted in, three of them being members of the Medici family (Noel, 2016). Notwithstanding differences of personal and character style, almost all the popes received motivation from the strengthening on the papacy through the exercise of individual power.
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In arts, this involved Renaissance-style application of Greek art forms, more so classical Greek sculpture in addition to Roman architecture and art. Among the renowned Renaissance popes, Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini (1458-64), who was name Pius II, was the first to recognize the significance of disseminating and preserving ancient learning. A fresco decorated by Bernardino Pinturicchio (c. 1454-1513) at the start of the sixteenth century venerates the life and achievement of Pius II, whom he depicted as a young man about to be capped with a poet’s wreath of laurels (Fishburne, 2014). Nowhere in this totally secularized high Renaissance art is a citation to the pontiff’s ecclesiastical or religious identity.
At one point in time, Pope Sixtus IV took great strides to rebuild and redesign Rome, destroying crumbling ruins and widening the streets. He orchestrated the construction of the popular Sistine Chapel and invited several great Renaissance artists from the states of Italy. As the city was gradually infused with wealth and transformed, artists migrated to the city in search of Roman gold. The artists rebuilt and decorated almost the entire Rome after they received the gold (Noel, 2016). By the conclusion of the fifteenth century, Rome had dislodged Florence as the core center of Renaissance art, attaining a high level under the ambitious and powerful Pope Leo X, Lorenzo de’ Medici’s son. Pope Julius II, who was in office as from 1503-1513, pioneered a series of highly influential architecture and art projects in Rome.
The portrait of the sailing of the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo and several stanze in the Vatican by Raphael are regarded as some of the masterworks that indicate the High Renaissance in Rome. His choice to reconstruct St. Peters resulted in the building of the huge Basilica. In the course of his reign, Julius II used his iconic stature to his advantage, portraying a concern in the arts by placing himself on the emblems, medals, and by orchestrating particular artworks towards his image. Deciding to commission materials such as coins or medals is a bit different from having an individual portrait created. Julius is among the popes that highly appreciated art, for instance, he appears in many of Raphael’s frescores and it is understood he approved his location in them. It is also understood that Julius had the desire to be painted in the frescores (Fishburne, 2014). He was a man who appreciated art, took pleasure in art, and wanted to build grand places in which to live.
The essay thus evaluates the influence of papacy on the artwork of renaissance. It is essential to note that many popes in the history of the Roman Catholic appreciated and used art in decorating their residences, churches, and many other parts deemed fit. The sack of the Rome involved a sobering impact on the papacy, and the ramifications for Roman Renaissance art were evident. Many catholic popes orchestrated paintings in several churches, for instance, the Sistine Chapel decoration was pioneered by Michelangelo. Pope Paul III (1534-49) conquered with Charles’s terms and reinstalled Michelangelo as the principal architect, painter, and sculptor of the Apostolic Palace and requested him to decorate and paint a wall of the Sistine Chapel with a fresco portraying The Last Judgement. Therefore, this reveals the roles and influence of popes in artwork of Renaissance.
Fishburne, J. E. (2014). Casting an Ecclesiastical Prince: Portrait Medals of Pope Julius II.
Noel, G. (2016). The Renaissance Popes: Culture, Power, and the Making of the Borgia Myth . Constable.