Art of the Renaissance

History of the Renaissance

The Renaissance is a period in European history that has been characterized by the surge of interest in classical scholarship and values. The Renaissance began around 1350 and went to about the early 1500s.

It was a time immediately after the Middle Ages and in French, it means “Rebirth”, rebirth of those classical ideas. It was a time of the revival, or “rebirth”, of Classical learning, ideas, and wisdom. Social, economic, and political changes also took place during that time.

The centre of Renaissance art was in Florence, Italy. Art was seen as a branch of knowledge, showing images of God and his creations, insights into man’s position in the universe, and it was to be based on the visible world. Mathematical principles of balance, harmony and perspective were practiced in art pieces.

The founder of Renaissance painting was Masaccio. He became a pivotal figure in Renaissance painting because of the high degree of naturalism in his paintings. Scientific naturalism was introduced by Piero della Francesca, the Pollaiuolo brothers, and Verrochio from their studies of anatomy and linear and aerial perspectives. Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi and Donatello introduced ancient Roman style into architecture and sculpture.

The Medici family was a prominent family during the Renaissance. Since they were one of the wealthiest families during that time, they paid for the construction and decoration of palaces, churches, and monasteries, and commissioned many artists. The High Renaissance art period was from 1490-1527.


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