Monday, February 12, 2018

17C Portraits - Families Head Outside as Man Becomes "the Interpreter of Nature"

The Renaissance, from the 14-17C, marked a turning point in portraiture. Renaissance artists began to paint secular scenes, breaking away from the dominant religious art of medieval painters. Partly out of interest in the natural world & partly out of nostalgia for classical Greece & Rome, portraits became valued as symbolic & allegorical objects & as depictions of earthly success & status. The period in Europe was the cultural bridge between the Middle Ages & modern history. The relationship between man & nature was evolving as Francis Bacon (1561-1626) promoted man as "the minister & interpreter of nature." Portraits began to depict the wealthy & the middle class in natural landscapes & in more formal garden settings, where man was obviously controlling the nature around him.  As time passed, the Renaissance garden became as much as symbol of the owner's wealth & culture as his house, his clothes, or his art collection.
1635 Peter Paul Rubens (Flemish artist, 1577-1640) Rubens, His Wife Helena Fourment (1614–1673), and Their Son Frans (1633–1678)  On this garden terrace are beautiful roses, a statue & a fountain.