During the 14th century, artists began to put much interest in ancient Roman and Greek designs. They also made deliberate attempts to emphasize on people and the environment. It was not unusual for artists to focus on human beauty and individual differences. As a result, artists who lived during this period became immensely successful as the affluent people in society flocked their shops to have their images immortalized through art.
Literary legends also contributed immensely to the profound changes of the 14th century. A good example of a literary legend who used realism in her work is Christine de Pizan. Pizan’s work gives an accurate depiction of the 14th century; it gives the true picture of the society at that time. Pizan portrays a society dominated by men, and where women have to be submissive. Through her literary work, The Book of the City of Ladies, Pizan persuaded many women to make confident modifications in their lives and assert their influence by exhibiting chastity, restraint and virtue in their speech (Fiero 106). The literary work also championed the education of women and call for equal rights.
Before the Black Death, most of the stories told in society were about kings and heroes. After the Black Death, suddenly, everyone got interested in hearing stories about all the people affected by the plague, regardless of their social standing. This is seen in the work of writers such as Geoffrey Chaucer. Many paintings of this time had something to do with the black plague. Examples of such painting include The Triumph of Death by Pieter Bruegel and La Danse macabre by Guy Marchant (Fiero 121). These paintings indicated that death was not a respecter of people, and could strike anyone regardless of their social status. This forced people all over Europe to review their opinions on social classes.
As time went by, a lot of people began to appreciate the beauty of art. A compelling example is during the Avignon Papacy- a period when the pope resided in and operated from Avignon, France, instead of Rome. During this period, artists transformed the pope’s palace from an ancient structure to an elegant palace with elaborate paintings and stained glass windows. The beautiful arts adorning the walls and ceiling of the cathedral at Avignon inspire many artists up to date (Fiero 118).
However, not all works of realism give an accurate picture. In the tale of Fillipa by Boccaccio, the actions of the main character were not in line with the society at the time. In the 14th century, women were not as bold as Madonna Filippa. Most women were shy and unlikely to behave in the manner that portrayed by the artist. All in all, realism transformed the lives of many people for the better.
Fiero, Gloria K. Humanistic Tradition . New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2002. Print.