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Introduction to Art, Music, and Literature

It is without a doubt that art, music, and literature have made and are still making significant contributions in laying the foundation for providing better living among people. They served as major keys as well in promoting progress in the world we live in now. Together they have provided not only identity about the culture of a certain nation but as well as unity among different countries. The above-mentioned themes have been more inclined to bring peace and unity instead of division because of their nature that seem to lean more on the positive interests of humankind.

They appeal more to emotion therefore serving as a medium in creating general impression and understanding between many forms of civilization even way back from the time of our ancestors. This writing will focus on how art, music, and literature have helped people survive history with some diversion on politics. This will be shown through the recollection of timeless inventions, creations, and literary works that served as groundwork for modern-time progress and global power. Gutenberg’s Printing Press

Johannes Gutenberg was a German goldsmith and inventor who was recognized for the Gutenberg press which made use of the early movable type printing machine. Through the use of a hand press, the ink was rolled over the raised surfaces of moveable hand-set block letters held within a wooden form and the form was then pressed against a sheet of paper. This made publication fast and effective which made reading materials cheaper and more available to many people just like the Bible which was said to have costed to one year’s wage during the Medieval Ages.

These remarkable features became the reason why the said printing press became a key evolutionary element during both the Renaissance and Reformation periods (Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press). Contributing Factors of Gutenberg to the Revolution Gutenberg’s printing press made very significant impact during the Renaissance period (1300 and 1600). One factor that contributed to this was the printing of the first book which is a copy of the Bible.

This gave rise to the widespread European existence of other printing presses during the 1500’s which benefited not only the said continent but the other parts of the world. Furthermore, printing press had many effects worldwide. Books became easier to acquire especially since they became cheaper and more people were able to afford them. Second factor is how the printing press caused literacy to occur in many places among many individuals unlike during the Middle Ages where monks and church officials were the exclusive beneficiaries of reading.

Third, the increased number of people with the ability to read caused them to crave about learning more about other topics other than religious or scientific reading materials leading to the publications of these subjects as well with the use of different languages such as Latin, English, Portuguese, Spanish, French, and Italian. Lastly is the easy access this provided scholars to another’s work including literary works during the ancient and medieval times (The European Renaissance).

However contrary to popular beliefs, Gutenberg did not invent the first printing press as it was already used in Asia around the fifth century through hand-cut wooden blocks. Gutenberg only made significant improvements to this already existing technique with individualized metal letters that could be places in a letter then reused. The mass production of books were printed and distributed by tens of thousands and more unlike the former dozens or hundreds.

Even the Protestant Reformation benefited greatly from Gutenberg’s printing press as it aided reformers and other groups in easily printing and promoting their ideas as lead by Protestant Reformation figures like Luther and Melanchthon. Their teachings included criticisms regarding the Roman Catholic’s corruption and attachment with material wealth. In a short span of time, Luther’s teachings from his 95 Theses and other literary works were spread in every part of Germany.

This brought easy access of printed reformationist materials to different classes in the society. This enlightenment caused dominant religious groups to undergo intense public criticism for the first time in church history. In fact, the Gutenberg Press’ first print of the Bible and the translation of the Scriptures to European languages made many people discover that the practices and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church made significant difference from the New Testament Model.

The sixteenth century reformation gave rise to characters who served as great inspiration to the world with their extraordinary faith, commitment, and conviction. Back in the middle ages, such deed is deemed as heresy which could lead to excommunication, banishment, etc. Because of the mass production of printed Reformist ideas, many support groups were created and strengthened which prevented this kind of oppression that has long plagued the society (The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Reformation & Protestantism). Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince

This literary work which discussed modern political thought was created by Machiavelli at his farm in Tuscany after being tortured and imprisoned the under the new Regime of the Medici family in 1512. One year later outside Florence where he served as a political thinker and diplomat, The Prince was created which was based on his experience of Florentine politics. The main concern of the said political work focuses on the achievement of order, stability, and peace through political ruling that exercises or practices republics or principalities.

The Prince focuses on political leadership within principalities and monarchies, or the existence of absolute government. The writing discusses issues on how to achieve, retain, and increase one’s power in politics as well as describes the individual character or ruler who is capable of possessing or reaching these objectives. Machiavelli’s political analyses and observations were discussed in this major work which in many ways composed the starting point of historical development of modern political thought.

According to the author, a solitary and hard-headed political leader is to reform a corrupt state through necessary force, deception, cunning, and ruthlessness so as to attain the desired objectives within a state. This ruler must also be able to demonstrate “virtu,” which represents male qualities such as strength, courage, resoluteness, self-reliance, and practical wisdom. The dominating capability would come from the leader’s own qualities and skills as well as his mastery of the ground rules of power politics, according to Machiavelli.

The leader must also exercise caution in using ruthless power through the use of force and fraud; use skillful persuasion by putting into action some propaganda techniques; and to act decisively by eliminating even the slightest hesitation. These qualities and skills serve as the major keys in allowing the ruler to practice political power with the desired outcome of controlling his subjects and thereby creating effective laws and political decisions being the supreme law giver (Modern Political Thinkers and Ideas: A Historical Introduction).

Machiavelli received harsh criticism because of his aforementioned points of view which obviously take for granted the ideals of religion and morality. However in applying and understanding these concepts, it is important to know and analyze the author’s personal and harsh experiences after the fall of the regime (Florentine) he served in. His rather traumatic experiences apparently contributed to his impulsive and strong lectures which however, made a mark during the Renaissance period.

According to some claims, the individualism and secularism which existed during the Italian Renaissance played a major role in Machiavelli’s points of view. His lack of knowledge on humanist teachings contributed to this as well as he was not able to afford major university education. He may be well-educated and may appear enlightened yet much of his knowledge is based on politics during his career as a bureaucrat and diplomat. However, one cannot discount that his goal for creating The Prince is to describe his ideas about the survival of a state plagued with corruption which has been one of the great issues of the Renaissance era.

Machiavelli’s ideas may not be very much applicable with present-day politics which is very critical with regards to democracy. However it can be observed in existing corporations as the business world is often more concerned with professionalism and gaining profit instead of personal harmony which is perfectly understood. His work can also be well-applied in terms of corporate decision making wherein the manager is not always expected to please everyone. Machiavelli offers good advice to managers who will for change in a company by distinguishing his friends and enemies in assuring success within a company.

Another applicable advice that Machiavelli can offer is for the treatment of senior employees. According to him: When you see a Minister thinking more of himself than of you, and in all his actions seeking his own ends, that man can never be a good Minister or one that you can trust…to keep his Minister good, the Prince should be considerate of him, dignifying him, enriching him, binding him to himself by benefits, and sharing with him the honours as well as the burthens. This clearly states the importance of trust a senior employee.

Mutiny, back-stabbing, and deceit are very much a reality in business world in order to preserve oneself and selecting proper individuals is indeed important and critical in heading a business (Machiavelli’s The Prince: A Modern Executive). Art Patronage in the Sixteenth Century Art patronage in early modern Europe served as a proof of wealth, status, and power. This was also used in terms of propaganda and entertainment and required formalizations such as contracts containing cost, materials, dimensions, artist’s participation, content, time line, as well as a sketch of the project.

In fact, artists were considered very important by secular and religious princes that they were provided monthly allowance, board, and provisions as court residents. On the other hand, having influential contacts is deemed very important to an artist’s good reputation. According to Aristotle, the patron is the “final cause” as distinguished from the artist which is the efficient cause and the art object which is the formal cause. The patron provides the kind of support to the artist which is said to put the former beyond the level of a customer. This relationship between the patron and artist however, often creates a tension.

Art patronage originated from religious practices. According to the fourteenth-century Tuscan merchant Francesco di Marco Datini, pictures were meant to move a person’s spirit to devotion. Therefore it was often understood then that the patron who places an order for a painted pr carved work of art has the primary purpose of treating it as a devotional object. The patron believes that any religious contribution made such as portraits placed on an altar or a panel painting or sculpture for a chapel will earn him the grace of heaven as well as the redemption of his soul from suffering in purgatory.

The Medici family in Florence was among the early patrons of religious objects. One of the traditions related to art patronage is the use of iconography which is the symbolic representation attached to an image or images. These icons often serve as the patron’s way of showing his/her intentions. One example is Gentile da Fabriano’s Adoration of the Magi in the year 1423. This shows the story of Epiphany or Christ’s first contact with the Gentiles. One patron of the said painting was the Florentine, Palla Strozzi. He used the said art work in accommodating ambassadors.

Apart from this, Strozzi also happened to be a member of the Florentine confraternity of the Magi. Another patronage is that of Masaccio’s Florentine fresco The Tribute Money in 1427 which depicts Christ and the Apostles paying a gate tax in order to enter the city if Capharnaum. This was said to have influenced deliberations of its patron, Felice Brancacci, on the Florentine city council regarding the establishment of a new catasto, or head tax. In the sixteenth century however, a certain change occurred in art patronage.

There were certain preferences for artists like Michelangelo and Raphael. During this period, patrons also started to refuse service from artists who often opposed their wishes or commands. There was also the rejection of artistic works which depicted mannerism which exhibited idiosyncrasy and overintellection which used the traditional iconography with a seeming suggestion of heresy (Artistic Patronage). Looking deeper at art patronage would show three motives which is piety, prestige, and pleasure.

Political leaders and rulers used it for public relations purposes and became an important in Florentine way of living where it was not considered an option but rather represents both a social status and absolute social hierarchy, according to Baigioli. The usual source of conflict between the patron and his chosen artist is usually about the amount of money involved however sometimes over the work itself. During the Early Renaissance, the patron is considered more superior whenever arguments arise.

But when artists obtain a higher rank, that is the time when they refuse to be dictated by patrons regarding their artwork but that would still depend on the kind of power the patron holds. There would be times when both parties would agree to take professional or expert advice if needed. Artists usually lacked a classical education that is Humanist scholars would be needed in order to give mythological and historical enlightenment (Discussion of the role of patrons in the Renaissance). The Baroque Period

Baroque is a period that occurred between the years of 1600 to 1750. It originated in Italy but later prospered in France, Germany, Netherlands, and Spain. Baroque art was often identified with religious tensions that occurred between Western Christianity or the division on Roman Catholicism and Protestantism. Another distinguishing feature of it is the use of radical or innovative manner or method with dramatic and selective illumination of figures out of deep shadow. It is often more realistic and uses models from the streets instead of religious subjects.

One famous artist who used this kind of technique was the Italian painter Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. One his famous masterpiece was The Calling of Saint Matthew. This painting was created for the Contarelli Chapel of the San Luigi dei Francesi, the French Church in Rome. The timing and place of its creation was memorable because Rome’s French community then was celebrating the conversion of Henri IV, the heir of St. Louis and recently succeeded to the throne of France.

The dramatic theme is shown by the characters’ gestures as the tax-collector Levi (Saint Matthew) was seated at a table with his four assistants and counting the day’s proceeds. Christ, with His eyes veiled with His halo the only hint of divinity, comes in with Saint Peter. The powerful gesture of His right hand calls on Levi with the obvious expression of surprise draws back and points toward himself with disbelief as if saying, “Who, me? ” (Caravaggio: The Calling of Matthew)

Reference

Bellis, M. 2008. Johannes Gutenberg and the Printing Press.About. Com:Inventors. Retrieved 1 March 2008 at http://inventors. about. com/od/gstartinventors/a/Gutenberg. htm The European Renaissance. n. d. Retrieved 1 March 2008 at http://www. cyberessays. com/History/24. htm Bell, J. 2002. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Reformation & Protestantism, pp. 66-69. Retrieved 1 March 2008 at http://books. google. com. ph/books? id=MtoH74OkKLIC&hl=en Jones, T. 2002. Modern Political Thinkers and Ideas: A Historical Introduction, pp. 1-9. Retrieved 1 March 2008 at http://books. google. com. ph/books?

id=5LstOWRmRKQC&pg=PA1&lpg=PA1&dq=modern+political+theory+the+prince&source=web&ots=-h19_wDXwv&sig=zadbAe2uEcnEFuA-c9k5MP9U2gU&hl=en#PPA1,M1 Oldham, R. 16 September 2000. Machiavelli’s The Prince: A Modern Executive. Retrieved 1 March 2008 at http://www. pillowrock. com/ronnie/machiavelli. htm Olszewski, E. J. 2004. Artistic Patronage. Retrieved 4 March 2008 at http://www. novelguide. com/a/discover/eemw_01/eemw_01_00062. html Discussion of the role of patrons in the Renaissance. n. d. Retrieved 4 March 2008 at http://www. geocities. com/rr17bb/patronage. html

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