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A Comparative Study of “The Last Supper ”in The High Renaissance
The High Renaissance
The Last Supper
Secularization of God
Unity of God and Human
Abstract The research purpose of this thesis is demonstrated by starting discussing the origin of “Secularization of God” in Christian artwork and then exploring how its evolution, form of representation and aesthetic ideas had made influence on modernity and what inspiring meanings had been made in new ages. It is expected to find out effective language, being instrumental to interpret Christianity: what “symbolic signs” can be applied to the art. In addition, because ordinary viewers are unable to have basic knowledge and understanding on orthodox divinity of both The Old Testament and The New Testament currently, they cannot fully understand the painting The Last Supper when looking at it. Then, sweeping comments and paradoxical misunderstandings of religion can easily happen. From the viewpoint of reformed Christianity, the author discusses and analyzes this High-Renaissance painting and compares it with other pieces of artwork by using visual form and being intended to be faithful to the literature text of The Bible. It is hope that differentiating art research with lack of Christian religious belief can be achieved. In this thesis, how it becomes possible that symbolic languages of The Bible and Christian religion have been brought to link up with art work is taken as a positive motivation. Through this motivation, this thesis also uses Leonardo da Vinci’s mural painting of The Last Supper, which is a perfect religious-context model, combining visual form with abundant iconographic contents as a research focus. Also, eleven painters from Italy, Germany, Holland, etc. and 13 pieces of graphic paintings all called The Last Supper are introduced to make full analyses and comparisons. This thesis has five chapters as follows. The first chapter is the Introduction, in which research motivation, purpose, question, scope, procedure and methods are explained. The second chapter is Literature Review in which from the two major viewpoints of art and religion, characteristics of Christian paintings under great impact of humanism, especially about new aesthetics of the High Renaissance, are explored in a cross-research approach. The divine meaning of “the Last Supper” and pictorial aesthetics of the painting, The Last Supper, are discussed. The third chapter is Research Methodology and Process. The discussion is made by the following process -- starting from literature-text analyses on “Secularization of God” in Renaissance Period and historical well-known art critics’ comments on The Last Supper and then continuing to analyze and compare explanatory principles of meanings and implications of the painting and its symbolic icons by using an iconographic angle. The fourth chapter is the Comparison and Analysis on the Painting The Last Supper. Iconographic research and psychological method about fine art are employed to discuss the painting, including the thirteen figures’ roles, dynamism and expressions and symbolic meanings of form of structure, colour, light and shadow, and background. The fifth chapter is the Conclusion. Here, the discussion starts with the appearance of “Unity of God and Men” arranged in The Last Supper. The examination then shifts to the disappearance of the framework of texts, the representation of art, and all these points discussed in this chapter gradually unveils the birth of “Modernism.” The last part of this chapter is devoted to researcher’s study reflection on the thesis. Key Words: The High Renaissance,The Last Supper, Secularization of God,Iconographic research , Literature Text, Unity of God and Human, Modernity, Modernism
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