Week 8: Jackie Hirai

I would consider the Renaissance as one of the greatest eras. Many famous pieces of artwork, architecture, and music were created during this time. Life was going well for society. In general, people became wealthier and were looking for new ideas/objects to invests in. People started to build off of the foundation of beliefs the Middle Ages created, otherwise known as the time between the Age of Enlightenment to modern-day. During the Middle Ages, there were many obstacles Europe endured through, such as the Black Death. It was a very dark time in history. The Renaissance is a time of light after much darkness. Renaissance artists focused on realism, naturalism and humanism. Many of art pieces were of important figures, such as political leaders.


The first artwork that I thought of was the Piero della Francesca’s painting of The Duke and Duchess of Urbino. I saw this artwork when I went to Florence. It is one of the most known pieces of art depicting everyday leaders. This image was created with oil paints on wood panels. The two figures in this piece are wife and husband. Federico da Montefeltro is the Duke of Urbino. Only the side of their faces is shown, which is thought to be influenced by the images seen on coins. It allows for the artists to include a good amount of details while not showing the emotions they are feeling after the Duke lost his right eye during a tournament. Their facial expressions make them appear like they are not undergoing any stress. Behind them is the land they rule over.

They are facing one another, which helps to emphasize that the pieces belong together. The lighting and mountain range remains constant between the two pictures, which helps unify them. There is a noticeable difference between their skin tones. The duchess has a much paler complexion, which was common for Renaissance women; however, it is thought to represent her how she died. The figures portrayed very large and takes over majority of the space of the piece. This symbolizes the amount of power they had over their people. Piero enjoyed using lighter tone in his pieces, which can be seen in this artwork. The lighting of the piece is bright, especially in the horizon above the mountain range.

The strand of pearls the Duchess is wearing is parallel to the downward slope of the white-colored buildings behind her. The shapes of her necklace and design of the sleeve of her outfit mimic the peaks of the mountains. The Duke has some contrasting colors on his face, such as his facial moles and dark hair on his skin. This shadowing is similar to the trees with the land they stand on. Piero was also very fascinated with geometry. His interest in this subject matter can be seen with the “triangular shading under the Duke’s chin that repeats the triangular mountains” (Adams, 2001, p. 259). The similarities of the leaders with the land represent their connection to the ground they rule over and help to bring the piece together.

I think that there will probably be another “rebirth” in our future. I think it could better our society and help bring new perspectives for America in general. We live in a very fast-paced world. One of the main reasons for this is technology. There are always arguments for the pros and cons of technology. On the positive side, it has brought allowed for new opportunities to happen like scientific discoveries. There are also downfalls to technology, such as causing people to live a more sedentary lifestyle, which leads to obesity. I feel like we have thrived when it comes to ideas like technology and are lacking in others, such as art. The love and desire for the arts is not the same as it was during eras like the Renaissance. We are missing the feelings people of the past had for art. Art was highly respected and viewed as an important part of someone’s education. Modern-day, it is the first subject to be thrown out of curriculums at schools when they are low on budget. I think is stopping us from learning more about these important topics. Without art, people are not able to gain the information to become a well-rounded individual. I am not sure how exactly a Renaissance would look in our world today if it were to occur, but I think another “rebirth” could help us regain the desire we have lost for the arts.



Adams, L. S. (2001). A History of Western Art (3rd Edition ed.). New York, New York: McGraw Hill.

The Duke and Duchess of Urbino Federico da Montefeltro and Battista Sforza. (2018). Retrieved July 23, 2018, from https://www.uffizi.it/en/artworks/the-duke-and-duchess-of-urbino-federico-da-montefeltro-and-battista-sforza

Piero della Francesca. (2018). Retrieved July 23, 2018, from http://www.travelingintuscany.com/art/pierodellafrancesca/montefeltroportraits.htm

Renaissance. (2018). Retrieved July 23, 2018, from https://www.history.com/topics/renaissance

6 thoughts on “Week 8: Jackie Hirai”

  1. Great analysis! I think it’s awesome that you’ve seen the painting in person. What type of tournament did the Duke lose his eye in, do you know? The shading is amazing and I see the geometric incorporation that you talked about. I agree with you completely that technology has brought both pros and cons. Like you, I wish that art was included in the curriculums at schools because it fosters creativity and is a beautiful way to express individuality and passion. Maybe in the future it will become a more embraced topic.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think that the painting you chose was very nice. I really like how the paintings are on two different canvases, but they are meant to be on display together. It’s interesting how only the left side of the Duke’s face is shown due to his eye injury. I think it would be really interesting to switch the two canvases so that they are facing away from each other. I think that would convey a whole different message.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I wasn’t able to find when he lost his eye, but I am guessing it happened before. An article mentioned how he did not like his battle scars to be shown in paintings of himself.


  3. You mentioned seditary lifestyles being a byproduct of technology, do you think that active lifestyles would be a part of a cultural re-birht if we were to have one? Could that have a correlation to art?


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s