Renaissance is called the artistic movement that begins in Italy in the 14th century and is inspired by works of antiquity. It spreads in the 15th century in Europe and ends in the early 16th century.
The Artistic Renaissance is a movement that begins in Italian cities such as Rome, Florence or Venice in the late 14th century. Artists of this period want to draw inspiration from works of Antiquity and to go beyond them. The sculptors seek to reproduce the shapes and proportions of the human body.
Princes, wealthy merchants or the Pope place numerous commissions for Renaissance artists. They become their patrons, that is, people who support and protect artists by commissioning them.
Italian painters adopt new techniques: they paint on canvas, use oil paint and follow the rules of perspective to give more depth to their works. They also paint sometimes on a fresh white coating applied on the walls. The colours are imbued. This is called a fresco (from the Italian “a fresco”, in the fee).
This artistic movement then spreads to the Netherlands, France, Germany, England and Spain.
Birth Of Venus – S. Botticelli
EARLY RENAISSANCE ART (1401-1490S)
In the later 14th century, the proto-Renaissance was stifled by plague and war, and its influences did not emerge again until the first years of the next century. In 1401, the sculptor Lorenzo Ghiberti (c. 1378-1455) won a major competition to design a new set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of the cathedral of Florence, beating out contemporaries such as the architect Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) and the young Donatello (c. 1386- 1466), who would later emerge as the master of early Renaissance sculpture.
The other major artist working during this period was the painter Masaccio (1401-1428), known for his frescoes of the Trinity in the Church of Santa Maria Novella (c. 1426) and in the Brancacci Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine (c. 1427), both in Florence. Masaccio painted for less than six years but was highly influential in the early Renaissance of the intellectual nature of his work, as well as its degree of naturalism.
Assumption of the Virgin – Titian
The Florentine painter Giotto (1267?-1337), the most famous artist of the proto-Renaissance, made enormous advances in the technique of representing the human body realistically. His frescoes were said to have decorated cathedrals at Assisi, Rome, Padua, Florence and Naples, though there has been difficulty attributing such works with certainty.
FLORENCE IN THE RENAISSANCE
Though the Catholic Church remained a major patron of the arts during the Renaissance–from popes and other prelates to convents, monasteries and other religious organizations–works of art were increasingly commissioned by the civil government, courts and wealthy individuals. Much of the art produced during the early Renaissance was commissioned by the wealthy merchant families of Florence, most notably the Medici.
From 1434 until 1492, when Lorenzo de’ Medici–known as “the Magnificent” for his strong leadership as well as his support of the arts–died, the powerful family presided over a golden age for the city of Florence. Pushed from power by a Republican coalition in 1494, the Medici family spent years in exile but returned in 1512 to preside over another flowering of Florentine art, including the array of sculptures that now decorates the city’s Piazza Della Signoria.
Mona Lisa – Leonardo Da Vinci
HIGH RENAISSANCE ART (1490S-1527)
By the end of the 15th century, Rome had displaced Florence as the principal centre of Renaissance art, reaching a high point under the powerful and ambitious Pope Leo X (a son of Lorenzo de’ Medici). Three great masters–Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael–dominated the period known as the High Renaissance, which lasted roughly from the early 1490s until the sack of Rome by the troops of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V of Spain in 1527.
Leonardo (1452-1519) was the ultimate “Renaissance man” for the breadth of his intellect, interest and talent and his expression of humanist and classical values. Leonardo’s best-known works, including the “Mona Lisa” (1503-05), “The Virgin of the Rocks” (1485) and the fresco “The Last Supper” (1495-98), showcase his unparalleled ability to portray light and shadow, as well as the physical relationship between figures–humans, animals and objects alike–and the landscape around them.
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) drew on the human body for inspiration and created works on a vast scale. He was the dominant sculptor of the High Renaissance, producing pieces such as the Pietà in St. Peter’s Cathedral (1499) and the David in his native Florence (1501-04). He carved the latter by hand from an enormous marble block; the famous statue measures five meters high including its base. Though Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor first and foremost, he achieved greatness as a painter as well, notably with his giant fresco covering the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, completed over four years (1508-12) and depicting various scenes from Genesis.
Raphael Sanzio, the youngest of the three great High Renaissance masters, learned from both da Vinci and Michelangelo. His paintings–most notably “The School of Athens” (1508-11), painted in the Vatican at the same time that Michelangelo was working on the Sistine Chapel–skillfully expressed the classical ideals of beauty, serenity and harmony. Among the other great Italian artists working during this period were Bramante, Giorgione, Titian and Correggio.