The French used the term “renaissance” to mean revival or rebirth. It took place for about 200 years beginning in the 15th century to late 16th century. During this period, there was a strong change in learning emanating from the activities of new wealthy classes and the strong interest they had in pursuing education. At this time, Europe experienced great cultural, economic, and intellectual changes. These alterations prevail in the literature and artwork developed during the period as seen in Clouet’s Francois Clouet was an active painter from 1536 to 1572 (Zuffi & Pauli, 2000, 184). He took after his father, Jean Clouet who was also an artist. Italian portraitists such as Brozino, influenced Francois’ pictures. He embraced their ideas into French court painting for greater naturalism and emphasized more on modeling. One of his most interesting works is Lady in Her Bath, which he painted at around 1550.
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The Lady in Her Bath painting depicts the abundant living of the people in this time. Before the renaissance took significant effects, there was the Black Death. This is the fateful incident whereby plague attacked the residents. A large number of people died from the affliction, which is favorable to those who survived the disaster since they could now own enormous pieces of land for cultivation. Therefore, there grew a new class of wealthy people, and this spurred their interest in education to gain more intellect on the ancient art, history and culture.
The wealthy could afford sumptuous houses, built, finished, and furnished luxuriously. They, also, graced their walls with rich cloth either for decoration purposes or to add some warmth in their rooms (King, 2003, 127). Therefore, the assorted fruits in this painting are an indication of a family living in a wealthy, urban home. The house in the picture is well designed and depicted in different colors. Moreover, there are curtains on the wall, white tablecloths and the edge of the bath, too, is covered with cloth. All these are reflections of the lives of the wealthy during the renaissance.
The mentioned above era started when the religion was undergoing a religious turmoil. The thinkers of this period rose against the rule of Catholic Church, which dominated the leadership of the region for a very long time. The congregation split, formed and strengthened the protestant churches while others preached Calvinism. The renaissance improved the secular and worldly thoughts. The sex values, taught by the Catholic Church, lost their meaning. Artists embraced secular themes in their work. This religious revival changed the way people viewed sexuality and fashion. In the painting, is nude and wears jewelry while the nursing maid suckling a baby wears Italian fashion.
The picture is clear; the effects on it bring out a more lifelike drawing. The artist brings out the real color of the persons, the garments, walls and fruits in the painting. However, the masters in the pre-renaissance did not meet these effects. This depiction shows that Clouet exploited a variety of the colored chalk to achieve such results. The Italian artists, from whom Clouet adopted this technique, used this concept. Therefore, the Italian renaissance influenced this artist.
This painting is a portrait; Clouet draws only the upper half of the individuals’ bodies. This helps produce a more extensive visual record of the characters and elements of focus. Earlier, people were not much appreciative of their real paintings and artists concentrated more on imaginary figures such as the likeness of a saint (King, 2003, 120). This reflects the changed role of the artist in the renaissance whereby he had to capture the character’s face as a symbol of the person’s self. For instance, the human at the forefront of this drawing is a young lady, seemingly from a wealthy family and a house maid in the back, holding a barrel.