The Changing Faces of the Artist's Role in Society

The Changing Faces of the Artist's Role in Society
The evolution of art over the span of centuries and the changing notion of the artist's place in society can be seen in the comparison of two very different works by two different artists. Impressions of who the artist was and what they contributed to society were transformed; and with the development of advanced techniques in media and style, art in general evolved from decorative objects made by skilled craftsmen to philosophical masterpieces with important messages by men who were deemed elitist intellectuals.Therefore, society's perception of artists in the past and modern discernment of the artist are two drastically different concepts.
During the Italian Renaissance,(1300-1600, roughly) transformation of artistic styles occurred and different philosophical concepts were beginning to emerge.Painters were beginning to make the transition from craftsmen to philosophers.Thefirst work I chose to contrast and compare is'The Crucifixion with saints,' c. 1400 by Paolo Di Giovanni Fei, a reference to the Biblical annunciation scene when Gabriel announces to Mary the incarnation of Jesus.The work is a triptych, done in tempera and gold leaf on wood panel.As said in the caption to the painting in the Kresge Art Museum, "It is an especially fine representation of Sianese painting from the 15th century, a style that, rather than participating in the revolutions of the Renaissance, continued in the traditions of masters of the 1300's."So it lies somewhere in between an anonymous, symbolic, strictly religious rendition of a biblical scene and a virtuoso masterpiece by an esteemed, popular Renaissance artist!
.The triptych was one of the two principle types of artwork at the time; which were altarpieces and frescoes.Art at the time primarily depicted religious scenes; altarpieces were always dedicated to a saint, and fresc…


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