I think Classical clearly has a major influence on the visual arts, because it keeps many things though over a period time, which makes it quite classical sculptures; however over time, it has changed. It has made many new art styles or change, but there is a small sense of classic themes. I think that it has more things that are new than classical.
It can be looked at as innovative but something from a classical past. “The Duomo” on the Florence Cathedral has become symbolic of the new. Inspired by the Pantheon in Rome, Brunelleschi designed and built the dome, something that hither to have been contemplated, but had been considered almost impossible to achieve.
However, it is the Piazza in front of the Innocenti Foundling Hospital, that captures a sense of what the new style of had become. It is situated opposite one of the first unified squares in modern town planning, – best describe as harmonious, yet simple, especially in the idea of the arch supported by two Corinthian columns. Brunelleschi sought to turn an urban space into a perfect image of proportion Space had been made into a mathematical proposition. Here, in this space, Brunelleschi was producing an idea that the whole city was a work of art. Indeed, the Innocenti building itself ‘thrilled people with elegant newness and its echoes of the classical past.’ (Robert Hole) This one is less classical because it’s becoming modern also proportional and it is very mathematical in conception.
What is important here is the use of the classicised architecture. Certainly the Renaissance painters were inspired by the classical past Raphael’s School of Athens uses such classical architecture, adding to the unity and harmony. Furthermore, Raphael uses characters from Classical Greece to underpin the classical theme.
Nudity, of course, signalled the changed and was classically inspired. Botticelli’s Birth of Venus was the first pagan nude of the Renaissance and the Primavera (Spring) gave a new secular mythological leaning and clearly there is a profound humanist influence in such works.
Donatello, he created David, it was the first free standing statute since Antiquity and like the other David was a symbol of Florentine liberty. MichelAngelo created the largest and mostly widely-admired nude in history of post-classical art. The David is the direct descendent of the life-size saints and prophets with which Donatello and others had changed the face of Florence.
If the Duomo wasn’t built, the Innocenti hospital wouldn’t have been built because it wouldn’t have given Brunellschi the confidence to the hospital. If the School of Athens picture wasn’t going to be made, because Julius wouldn’t have done any commissions which would make the next popes do no more commissions, this means that the David wouldn’t have been built. They all interlink with one another. The most important factors were the Duomo and School of Athens.
There were other influences as well that could have affected this, 90% of it was religious while the other 10% was not religious, which means that if 10% was religious, then we wouldn’t have any of that art. The religious arts were The Duomo and others, because The Duomo was inspired by the Pantheon which was the temples of all gods while the 10% of art in the Renaissance were non religious.
Massacio made The Trinity (1427) in Santa Maria Novella, it was proportional, it was extremely religious and classical, and it has a high use of perspective, a patronage supported him financially to make it. The fresco had a transforming effect on generations of Florentine painters and visiting artists. The sole figure without a fully-realized three-dimensional occupation of space is the majestic God supporting the Cross, considered an immeasurable being.
The classics clearly have a major influence on the visual arts, that like the Renaissance as a whole it is more complex than simply a recreation of classical theme.