Scholarships and the Classical Period
This article will focus on two subjects because they are interrelated. During the Archaic Period art was limited to temples and churches with small amounts, for instance pottery, drifting into households. This trend lasted until somewhat after the Greek and Roman periods and into what is known as the Classical Period. It was during this period that art began to be appreciated in its own right and different systems began to develop until today when many organizations, including government agencies, give scholarships and grants solely for studying art and art history. Prospective art students can qualify for traditional grants and loans like Perkins and Stafford, or even strange scholarships like the L. Ron Hubbard Illustrators of the Future Scholarship.
It was during the Classical period that the cultures of Greek and Rome became fully integrated and art flourished. Not only did we see a great expansion in the visual arts, painting and sculpting, but the performing arts and written arts began to fully develop. The Greeks are famous for their tragedies and playwrights like Aeschylus, Ovid, Homer, flourished in Greece and Rome, entertaining the rich and poor alike. We can still see the influence of the Greco-Roman culture in our world today and its effect was felt from the British Isles to the ancient Orient.
This process continued for nearly 1,000 years until the Christian Church seized control of the far flung Roman Empire and, protecting their teachings from any question by scholars. One of the main areas attacked by the clerics was art and any art, whether visual, spoken or written, had to by law, feature the teachings of the Church and any art that did not was destroyed and the artist in many cases put to death.
The Dark Ages lasted from about 500 AD until the late 14th century when the head of one powerful family in Florence, Italy decided to challenge the power of the Church by encouraging art and intellectualism. Cosimo de’ Medici, and later his grandson, Lorenzo de’ Medici (1449–1492), also called “the Magnificent” sponsored such artists and scientists as Brunelleschi, who designed the first free standing dome since the ancient Greeks,Michelangelo Buonarroti, whose life was threatened by the Church to compel him to paint only religious art, Galileo Galilei, who the Church accused of Heresy for proving his Heliocentric view of Creation, and the Grand Master himself, Leonardo da Vinci , whose contributions to both art and science are still being studied today. Da Vinci was in fact the first painter to successfully incorporate shadows in his paintings.
Our next article will cover the Classical Period in a great deal more detail and cover the period on a global scale.