Italy the Italian Republic, is a country in Southern Europe. Located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, Italy shares open land borders with France, Austria and the enclaved microstates San Marino and Vatican City. Italy covers an area of 301,340 km2 and has a temperate seasonal and Mediterranean climate. With around 61 million inhabitants, it is the fourth-most populous EU member state and the most populous country in Southern Europe. Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy has been home to a myriad of peoples and cultures. In addition to the various ancient peoples dispersed throughout modern-day Italy, the most famous of which being the Indo-European Italics who gave the peninsula its name, beginning from the classical era and Carthaginians founded colonies in insular Italy and Genoa, Greeks established settlements in the so-called Magna Graecia, while Etruscans and Celts inhabited central and northern Italy respectively; the Italic tribe known as the Latins formed the Roman Kingdom in the 8th century BC, which became a republic with a government of the Senate and the People.
The Roman Republic conquered and assimilated its neighbours on the peninsula, in some cases through the establishment of federations, the Republic expanded and conquered parts of Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. By the first century BC, the Roman Empire emerged as the dominant power in the Mediterranean Basin and became the leading cultural and religious centre of Western civilisation, inaugurating the Pax Romana, a period of more than 200 years during which Italy's technology, economy and literature flourished. Italy remained the metropole of the Roman Empire; the legacy of the Roman Empire endured its fall and can be observed in the global distribution of culture, governments and the Latin script. During the Early Middle Ages, Italy endured sociopolitical collapse and barbarian invasions, but by the 11th century, numerous rival city-states and maritime republics in the northern and central regions of Italy, rose to great prosperity through shipping and banking, laying the groundwork for modern capitalism.
These independent statelets served as Europe's main trading hubs with Asia and the Near East enjoying a greater degree of democracy than the larger feudal monarchies that were consolidating throughout Europe. The Renaissance began in Italy and spread to the rest of Europe, bringing a renewed interest in humanism, science and art. Italian culture flourished, producing famous scholars and polymaths such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael and Machiavelli. During the Middle Ages, Italian explorers such as Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, John Cabot and Giovanni da Verrazzano discovered new routes to the Far East and the New World, helping to usher in the European Age of Discovery. Italy's commercial and political power waned with the opening of trade routes that bypassed the Mediterranean. Centuries of infighting between the Italian city-states, such as the Italian Wars of the 15th and 16th centuries, left the region fragmented, it was subsequently conquered and further divided by European powers such as France and Austria.
By the mid-19th century, rising Italian nationalism and calls for independence from foreign control led to a period of revolutionary political upheaval. After centuries of foreign domination and political division, Italy was entirely unified in 1871, establishing the Kingdom of Italy as a great power. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, Italy industrialised, namely in the north, acquired a colonial empire, while the south remained impoverished and excluded from industrialisation, fuelling a large and influential diaspora. Despite being one of the main victors in World War I, Italy entered a period of economic crisis and social turmoil, leading to the rise of a fascist dictatorship in 1922. Participation in World War II on the Axis side ended in military defeat, economic destruction and the Italian Civil War. Following the liberation of Italy and the rise of the resistance, the country abolished the monarchy, reinstated democracy, enjoyed a prolonged economic boom and, despite periods of sociopolitical turmoil became a developed country.
Today, Italy is considered to be one of the world's most culturally and economically advanced countries, with the sixth-largest worldwide national wealth. Its advanced economy ranks eighth-largest in the world and third in the Eurozone by nominal GDP. Italy owns the third-largest central bank gold reserve, it has a high level of human development, it stands among the top countries for life expectancy. The country plays a prominent role in regional and global economic, military and diplomatic affairs. Italy is a founding and leading member of the European Union and a member of numerous international institutions, including the UN, NATO, the OECD, the OSCE, the WTO, the G7, the G20, the Union for the Mediterranean, the Council of Europe, Uniting for Consensus, the Schengen Area and many more; as a reflection
Madonna of the Rose (Orsanmichele)
The Madonna of the Rose is a 2.2 metre high marble sculpture of the Madonna and Child enthroned, with the Child trying to take a bunch of rosa canina from his mother's hand. It forms part of a cycle of fourteen sculptures of the patron saints of the guilds of Florence on the external niches of the Orsanmichele church. No documents survive to date it, leading to several theories and attributions. Most art historians attribute it to Pietro di Giovanni Tedesco, a German or Flemish sculptor active in Florence in the sculpture-yard of Florence Cathedral, it shows similarities to late works from the school of Giotto. A Latin inscription on the base of the niche records damage to the sculpture in 1493 - Mary was the protector of Florence and the person who damaged the sculpture was sentenced to death; the Madonna was commissioned by the'Arte dei Medici e Speziali' and completed around 1399. An object of great popular devotion, it was moved inside the church in 1628, meaning it is in a much better condition than the other thirteen sculptures in the cycle.
It is now in the Museo di Orsanmichele, although a copy fills its original external niche, used from 1858 to for Saint George by Donatello. It was restored in 1996, revealing it had originally been painted
Nanni di Banco
Nanni d'Antonio di Banco was an Italian sculptor from Florence. He was born to artist Antonio Di Banco, who worked on the Cathedral of Florence in Italy. Historians have tried to determine the year of his birth between 1375 and 1390 based on colleagues.. Nanni di Banco seemed to have had a close relationship with well known artist Donatello. With this knowledge Nanni’s life timeline circles Donatello’s. In February of 1405 Nanni was enrolled as an artist into the masons’ guild Arte Di Pietra e Legname; this guild allowed him to work in the cathedral. Nanni and his father were commissioned to carve the Isaiah statue for the Cathedral.. Antonio was a stone-carver resulting in the sculpture done by Nanni alone. Nanni was the Magister of him and his father’s workshop where Donatello was recruited from to build the sculpture David. Nanni was selected to carve a sculpture of St. Luke, he is known for his work in transitioning from gothic to renaissance art. Nanni Di Banco Died in 1421. Colleagues A contemporary of Donatello and Lorenzo Ghiberti, Nanni was a sculptor in fifteenth-century Florence.
He is well known for his sculpture group Four Crowned Martyrs, commissioned by the stone carvers and wood workers guild for the Church of Orsanmichele. The significance of this work is not only the striking naturalism and individuality of the figures, but the complexity of construction of a sculpture group, his Works Nanni di Banco made a name for himself in the transition from International Gothic art to Renaissance art creating a path for Early Renaissance in Florence. Many of his works are displayed inside the Cathedral, the church and museum of Orsanmichele in Florence, his first major work was a statue of the Isaiah in 1408 for the Cathedral. The Quattro Coronati was created in 1416. At this time many artists were hung. Nanni Di Banco decided creating the title; the sculpture not only shows dialogue but demonstrates the extent to which human behavior can be portrayed by stone. It is easy to find ancient Roman influence on the four sculptures. Many of the faces and togas look similar to ancient Roman republican sculptures.
Artists were required to develop a sculpture for the outside of church St. Michele. Nanni’s colleague, Donatello, is credited to sculpt one saint. However, Nanni Di Banco portrays a dialogue in which only one of the four men is speaking and the rest are listening, not directly looking at the subject but still engaging in conversation. San Luca is a marble sculpture, in works with the renaissance artist Donatello. Nanni Di Banco exploits the themes of a new proposal to human expression. Furthermore, we can understand how the influence of this movement was to express the outline and the human face through shadowing and posture. Giorgio Vasari includes a biography of Nanni di Banco in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters and Architects. St. Luke - Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence Quattro Santi Coronati - Orsanmichele, Florence Assumption of the Virgin - Santa Maria del Fiore, Florence National Gallery of Art Orsanmichele Santa maria del fiore Fifteenth Century
Saint George (Donatello)
St George is a marble sculpture by Donatello. It is one of a cycle of fourteen statues of protectors of the arts of Florence, they were sited in external niches on the facade of the Orsanmichele church. The St George was commissioned by the'Arte dei Corazzai e Spadai' corporation, it was too big for its niche, leaving it exposed to the north, so in the 19th century it was moved into the more sheltered tabernacle of the Madonna della Rosa, left empty since 1628 after that work was moved into the church. A stone thrown at the sculpture in 1858 broke its nose and so since 1891 it has instead been placed in the Bargello Museum in Florence. From 1892 to 2008 a bronze replica was placed in its original niche, to be replaced by a marble replica on 23 April 2008; the original sculpture was stolen from the Villa Medici in Poggio a Caiano, but in May 1945 it was recovered by Frederick Hart in Neumelans and returned to Italy on 20 July 1945. The box base was added back onto the statue in 1976
Arte dei Maestri di Pietra e Legname
The Arte dei Maestri di Pietra e Legname was one of the Guilds of Florence that represented the Master stonemasons and sculptors. It was founded before 1236, it came to absorb multiple building crafts in the Florence area, it was one of the five Arti Mediani It was listed as Muratori e Scarpellini in a 1236 list of the guilds, listed fifth in precedence among the minor guilds although it was raised to fourth in 1280, when the tanners and curriers were relegated. Andrea Orcagna Nanni di Banco Simone Ferrucci
Smarthistory is a free resource for the study of art history created by art historians Beth Harris and Steven Zucker. Smarthistory is an independent not-for-profit organization and the official partner to Khan Academy for art history. Smarthistory started in 2005 as an audio guide series for use at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, as a resource for students taking introductory art history courses at the college level. In addition to its focus on college-level courses in art history, Smarthistory supports the art history Advanced Placement course and examination developed by The College Board. Smarthistory provides essays, video and links to additional resources for each of the 250 works of art and architecture that comprise the new AP art history curriculum. Smarthistory has published 1500 videos and essays on art and cultural history from the Paleolithic era to the 21st century that include the art of Africa, the Americas, Asia and Oceania. Smarthistory's essays have been contributed by more than 200 art historians and archaeologists writing in their areas of focus.
Videos are unscripted conversations between experts recorded on location in front of the original work of art or architecture. According to the Smarthistory about page: We are interested in delivering the narratives of art history using the read-write web's interactivity and capacity for authoring and remixing. Publishers are adding multimedia to their textbooks, but they are doing so in proprietary, password-protected adjunct websites; these are weak because they maintain an old model of closed and protected content, eliminating Web 2.0 possibilities for the open collaboration and open communities that our students now use and expect. Smarthistory won the Webby Award for Education in 2009; the Samuel H. Kress Foundation gave them a $25,000 grant for development in 2008 and a $38,000 partnership development grant with the Portland Art Museum in 2009. In an article in the Brooklyn New York Daily News, staff writer Elizabeth Lazarowitz quotes Steven Zucker, "Art can be intimidating for people", said Zucker.
"If we can make art feel exciting and interesting and much relevant to a historical moment...art can have real meaning." Unlike reading about art in a book, "the idea of the audio was to keep a student's eyes on the image", he explained. "It helped students to learn the material a lot better."In a collaborative article by Beth Harris and Steven Zucker, the founders explain the value of the resource for teachers and informal learners: "Smarthistory is helping teachers who are not specialists in art history find strategies to make the subject accessible and meaningful to students who might otherwise not have cultural resources available to them. And for college students, the site is fast becoming an attractive alternative to the commercial textbook whose short life cycle and $100+ price tag has become a barrier."In a Chronicle for Higher Education article, Beth Harris is quoted on the ambitions and goals of Smarthistory: "We just wanted to re-embed the objects in our world", says Harris, the founder and executive editor of Smarthistory as well as the director of digital learning at a New York City museum.
"We thought that that would make them more relevant and more engaging for students." Official website Michelle Millar Fisher, Louis C. Madeira IV Assistant Curator of European Decorative Arts and Design, Philadelphia Museum of Art "Smarthistory," caa.reviews, May 23, 2018, published by the College Art Association ARCHES Patrick Masson, "Smarthistory: No grand strategies needed, just openness," Opensource 5/02/2016 John Seed, "Is Smarthistory the Art History Textbook of the Future?," HuffPost 9/05/2012 "'Smarthistory' rethinks the art history textbook online", The Chronicle of Higher Education, 11/23/2010 PC Magazine: Top 100 Websites of 2009, 7/27/2009 "Daily Dose Pick: Smarthistory" Flavorpill, 7/09/2009 "Smarthistory and Portland Art Museum", May 2009 "Brooklyn-based art historians launch website with videos of masterpieces" New York Daily News, 2/25/2011
Christ and St. Thomas (Verrocchio)
Christ and St. Thomas is a bronze statue by Andrea del Verrocchio made for one of the 14 niches on the exterior walls of the Orsanmichele in Florence, where it is now replaced by a cast and the original moved inside the building, now a museum, it shows the episode that gave rise to the term "Doubting Thomas" which, formally known as the Incredulity of Thomas, had been represented in Christian art since at least the 5th century, used to make a variety of theological points. Thomas the Apostle doubted the resurrection of Jesus and had to feel the wounds for himself in order to be convinced; the surrounding marble niche was designed by Donatello for his St Louis of Toulouse, but the statue was moved to Santa Croce when the niche was sold to the Tribunale di Mercanzia, who commissioned the Verrochio work. The work was the first narrative based work to appear at Orsanmichele. In its execution Verrocchio showed sophisticated knowledge of the style and substance of classical sculpture; the figures were cast without backs.
This had the added benefits of saving on bronze, making the work lighter and easier to fit into the niche. The interaction between the characters of Christ and St Thomas show a strong sense of movement and dialogue. Differences between the mortal and the immortal are highlighted with Christ's passive regal stance and the agitated and nervous disposition of the doubting St Thomas; the realism created by the artist is indicative of the period of art in which it was made, the Renaissance. Part of the remit of the Merchant's guild was to be a overseeing body; as such the theme of Christ and St Thomas would have been attractive to them as it concerned proof and the presentation of reliable evidence. Hartt and Wilkins, David G. History of Italian Renaissance Art. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2006