From the Madonnari to the Modern

Respect for the Creative and Intellectual Gifts of the Artist

The Renaissance was defined by Humanism, a system of values and beliefs that inspired individuals to develop their own character and influence their own destiny by the way they lived their life. Humanism celebrated the pleasures and social values of the present in contrast with the scholasticism of Medieval Europe. Rational thought and critical analysis challenged the civil and religious authorities of medieval Italy and revitalized both education and religion by creating a greater respect for intellectual freedom and individual expression.

Due to the analytical and intellectual composition of their paintings and sculptures, many of which were allegorical representations of the Classical literature, the Renaissance artists experienced an elevation in their status from craftsmen to that enjoyed by scientists, writers and musicians.  With the artists leading the way buoyed by the patronage of the Medicis, the Sforzas, the Estes and the Gonzagas, Italian society flourished in a renaissance of mankind.

One of the most interesting pursuits of the Renaissance artist was the exploration of perspective, an art technique for creating an illusion of three-dimensions (depth and space) on a two-dimensional (flat) surface. Perspective is what makes a painting appear to have form, distance, and look “real”. The artists used a system of lines and geometric concepts in their work. Contemporary artists use a similar grid system to create 3D art forms that allow the viewer to interact with the art.

Perspective is also used to refer to a person’s attitude or point of view.  Our Little Italy Madonnari Arts Festival celebrates the creative spirit, intellectual prowess and diverse perspectives of our visual, performing and culinary artists.  It is an international gathering of artists who share their different approaches to defining and exploring the concept of respect: respect for tradition, respect for new ideas, respect for the environment, self-respect, respect for each other. We find ourselves at a pivotal time in history in which we can ride the wave of intellectual and social progress or we can allow the undertow of fear of change to drown our civilization.  We and those who we have elected to govern us should be mindful of the lessons of the past and should not be afraid to embrace those who challenge the status quo with new ideas.  We should appreciate, enjoy and respect our differences and remember that which we share, our humanity.