Prince Henry the Navigator (1394 - 1460)

Although his name is a misconception, Prince Henry the Navigator of Portugal never actually explored anywhere. However, he supported education that helped exploration. Prince Henry set up schools that taught men skills that they needed to find explore and discover, such as map making and reading, ship building, and navigation. Under his rule, explorers were able to find the slave coast, which later became known as the gold coast. The expeditions of the Atlantic Ocean and the Western Coast of Africa were made possible by his sponsorship. The discoveries that took place under his name were very important because they were the first to reach the Cape Bojador. Although he did not actually take part in the sailing to the new land, he was critical to Portugal because he got them that much closer to finding the Indies.

external image Prince_Henry_Navigator001.jpg

Donatello - David

Donatello's bronze sculpture of David was an inventive piece of artwork that depicted David: a young, seemingly weak character who defeated and decapitated the powerful Goliath. Donatello sculpted young David wryly smiling after the success of killing Goliath, whose head he is standing on. This work was sculpted during the Renaissance in the fourteen thirties and forties. The small frame of the man paired with the huge sword suggests exactly what happened - a young man rose above and defeated the powerful giant . That shows the dedication to and belief in God, because he had to have given David the power to conquer Goliath. He is sculpted naked with much more detail than ever before. Aside from that, parts of the body that were once covered up are drawn in very precise anatomical accuracy. The feather coming out of his boot and wrapped around his leg would have suggested that either David (the painting's subject) or Donatello (the artist) was gay.

This sculpture is a perfect representation of humanism in art and the principles of the Renaissance . The fact that there is a naked, ordinary character drawn so accurately and in detail (exhibiting the quality of realism ) is astonishing. The Middle Ages art never would have allowed for the anatomy of the body to be so exposed and realistic, as they felt that God was the creator and no one should try to duplicate His work. The Renaissance and High Middle Ages art were all about new, humane ideas that weren't solely focused on religion and being so modest about the body. Artists were retreating back to Greek and Roman art, which was very realistic and portrayed what was actually going on, which can also be named classicism . Donatello's David has many characteristics that would have been in the old Greek and Roman art. We can tell that education and a sense of knowledge were very important to the new scholars and citizens funding art because the sculptors were skilled enough to create a masterpiece such as this one. This sculpture tells a real story, involving God's powers, from the Renaissance. This shows that although religion was not the main focus, it was still prevalent in the lives of those people.

donatello1.jpgexternal image ss_ren_davdonatello03.jpg