Renaissance Portraits – Coursework Example

Renaissance Portrait Analysis: Domenico Ghirlandaio, Old Man with His Grandson Domenico Ghirlandaio’s portrait An Old Man and His Grandson is tempera on panel; it is displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The painting is able to typically portray the peculiarities of the Renaissance period, from the artistic and aesthetic sense to the individuality and the meaning of the whole era. It is a work of art that embodies the typical characteristics of a Renaissance man, which is the combination of subtle drama and the use of symbols – those of rebirth, for example – and this is seen within the subject itself.
Renaissance Portrait Analysis: Domenico Ghirlandaio’s Old Man with His Grandson
The portrait chosen for this paper is Domenico Ghirlandaio’s An Old Man and His Grandson, finished around the year 1490 AD, tempera on panel; it is currently displayed at the Louvre Museum in Paris (Ghirlandaio). Its subject is an old man looking intently at his young grandson; both of them are wearing the typical clothing of the Renaissance era. A landscape painting is seen at the background, showing the prevailing realistic style typical of Renaissance artworks. The composition of the subject is seemingly triangular, with the face of the old man and the young boy’s face and hand depicting the vertices of a triangle. While not as dramatic as the chiaroscuro style employed by other artists such as Rembrandt or van Eyck, Ghirlandaio is able to show his personal method of infusing subtle drama in his own detailed portrayals.
The Renaissance was a period when individuality was a virtue cultivated by many. It can be concluded on the basis of the existence of many well-known artists of this period who employed different techniques. The painting showcases not only the individual style of the artist but also the very idea and essence of the Renaissance period, which is the rebirth of the knowledge of the ancient Greeks. The old man can symbolize the aesthetic and artistic sense of the Ancient Greeks, and the young grandson can symbolize the rebirth of old knowledge during the Renaissance era.
As a whole, Ghirlandaio’s portrait is a work of art that is done in his unique style, which is enabled by the culture of individualism of the Renaissance era. Also, the concept of rediscovery and rebirth is subtly shown within the four corners of the artwork. Lastly, the painting embodies the typical characteristics of a Renaissance man, which is the combination of quiet drama with the use of symbols within the subject matter.
References
Ghirlandaio, D. (circa 1490). An Old Man and his Grandson. [painting]. Musée du Louvre, Paris. Retrieved from http://www.pubhist.com/work/5405/domenico-ghirlandaio/an-old-man-and-his-grandson, retrieve date: September 30, 2012.