Renaissance in England: Essay

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An art movement is a tendency or style in art with a specific common philosophy or goal, followed by a group of artists during a restricted period. But there is no fixed rule that determines what constitutes an art movement. The artists associated with one movement may adhere to strict guiding principles and those who belong to another may have little in common. Art movements are, usually, simply a historical convenience for grouping together artists of a certain period or style so that they may be understood within a specific context. These movements are named by art critics or historians and their titles are often sarcastic nicknames from a bad review. One of the major art movements in England and its art is the Renaissance.

The English Renaissance was a cultural and artistic movement in England dating from the late 15th to the early 17th century. It is associated with the European Renaissance, which is usually regarded as beginning in Italy in the late 14th century. The English Renaissance is different from the Italian Renaissance in several ways. The dominant art forms of the English Renaissance were literature and music. Visual arts in the English Renaissance were less significant. The great paintings produced in England were created by imported artists. The Church remained the dominant patron of the arts until the arrival of Hans Holbein at the court of Henry VIII. In the 17th century, Rubens and Van Dyck worked in the courts of James I and Charles I. England was very slow to produce visual arts in Renaissance styles, and the artists of the Tudor court were mainly imported foreigners until after the end of the Renaissance.

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One of the most famous paintings of the Renaissance is 'Portrait of Henry VIII' by Hans Holbein the Younger. The artist, originally from Germany, had been appointed the English King’s Painter. The painting has been described as a work of propaganda. The king stands on an elegant rug with an elaborate tapestry in the background. The king wears lots of fabric. This display of wealth is designed to show the king’s power. This formal clothing might cost as much as a ship. Henry VIII recognized the power of the image Holbein created and encouraged other artists to copy the painting and distributed the various versions around the realm, giving them as gifts to friends and ambassadors. Major noblemen would commission their copies of the painting to show their loyalty to the king.

The Renaissance found its special embodiment in the art of England, and the works of art created at that time have their own unique style and perfectly reflect the spirit of that era.

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