Italian Renaissance painting

Italian Renaissance painting

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Italian Renaissance painting is the painting of the period beginning in the late 13th century and flourishing from the early 15th to late 16th centuries, occurring within the area of present-day Italy, which was at that time divided into many political areas. The painters of Renaissance Italy, although often attached to particular courts and with loyalties to particular towns, nonetheless wandered the length and breadth of Italy, often occupying a diplomatic status and disseminating both artistic and philosophical ideas.

The city that is renowned as the birthplace of the Renaissance and in particular, Renaissance painting, is Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

. A detailed background is given in the companion articles Renaissance
Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 and Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance...

.

Italian Renaissance painting can be divided into four periods: the Proto-Renaissance, 1300–1400; the Early Renaissance, 1400–1475; the High Renaissance, 1475–1525, and Mannerism
Mannerism
Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

, 1525–1600. These dates are approximations rather than specific points because the lives of individual artists and their personal styles overlapped the different periods.

The Proto-Renaissance begins with the professional life of the painter Giotto and includes Taddeo Gaddi
Taddeo Gaddi
Taddeo Gaddi was a medieval Italian painter and architect.-Biography:He was the son of Gaddo di Zanobi, called Gaddo Gaddi. He was a member of Giotto's workshop from 1313 to 1337, when his master died...

, Orcagna and Altichiero
Altichiero
Altichiero da Verona , also called Aldighieri da Zevio, was an Italian painter of the Gothic style. A follower of Giotto, Altichiero is credited with founding the Veronese school...

.
The Early Renaissance was marked by the work of Masaccio
Masaccio
Masaccio , born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was the first great painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, Masaccio was the best painter of his generation because of his skill at recreating lifelike figures and movements as well as a convincing sense...

, Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico , born Guido di Pietro, was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having "a rare and perfect talent"...

, Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello , born Paolo di Dono, was an Italian painter and a mathematician who was notable for his pioneering work on visual perspective in art. Giorgio Vasari in his book Lives of the Artists wrote that Uccello was obsessed by his interest in perspective and would stay up all night in his...

, Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

 and Verrocchio.
The High Renaissance period was that of Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 and Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

.
The Mannerist period included Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori , his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci,...

, Pontormo
Pontormo
Jacopo Carucci , usually known as Jacopo da Pontormo, Jacopo Pontormo or simply Pontormo, was an Italian Mannerist painter and portraitist from the Florentine school. His work represents a profound stylistic shift from the calm perspectival regularity that characterized the art of the Florentine...

 and Tintoretto
Tintoretto
Tintoretto , real name Jacopo Comin, was a Venetian painter and a notable exponent of the Renaissance school. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Furioso...

. Mannerism is dealt with in a separate article.

Influences



The influences upon the development of Renaissance painting in Italy are those that also affected Philosophy, Literature, Architecture, Theology, Science, Government and other aspects of society. The following is a summary of points dealt with more fully in the main articles that are cited above.

Philosophy


A number of Classical texts, that had been lost to Western European scholars for centuries, became available. These included Philosophy, Poetry, Drama, Science, a thesis on the Arts and Early Christian Theology. The resulting interest in Humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 philosophy meant that man's relationship with humanity, the universe and with God was no longer the exclusive province of the Church. A revived interest in the Classics brought about the first archaeological study of Roman
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 remains by the architect Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He is perhaps most famous for inventing linear perspective and designing the dome of the Florence Cathedral, but his accomplishments also included bronze artwork, architecture , mathematics,...

 and sculptor Donatello
Donatello
Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi , also known as Donatello, was an early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence...

. The revival of a style of architecture based on classical precedents inspired a corresponding classicism in painting, which manifested itself as early as the 1420s in the paintings of Masaccio
Masaccio
Masaccio , born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was the first great painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, Masaccio was the best painter of his generation because of his skill at recreating lifelike figures and movements as well as a convincing sense...

 and Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello , born Paolo di Dono, was an Italian painter and a mathematician who was notable for his pioneering work on visual perspective in art. Giorgio Vasari in his book Lives of the Artists wrote that Uccello was obsessed by his interest in perspective and would stay up all night in his...

.

Science and technology


Simultaneous with gaining access to the Classical texts, Europe gained access to advanced mathematics which had its provenance in the works of Byzantine
Byzantine Greeks
Byzantine Greeks or Byzantines is a conventional term used by modern historians to refer to the medieval Greek or Hellenised citizens of the Byzantine Empire, centered mainly in Constantinople, the southern Balkans, the Greek islands, Asia Minor , Cyprus and the large urban centres of the Near East...

 and Islamic scholars.
The advent of movable type printing
Printing
Printing is a process for reproducing text and image, typically with ink on paper using a printing press. It is often carried out as a large-scale industrial process, and is an essential part of publishing and transaction printing....

 in the 15th century meant that ideas could be disseminated easily, and an increasing number of books were written for a broad public. The development of oil paint
Oil paint
Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the...

 and its introduction to Italy had lasting effects on the art of painting.

Society


The establishment of the Medici
Medici
The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside,...

 Bank and the subsequent trade it generated brought unprecedented wealth to a single Italian city, Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

. Cosimo de' Medici set a new standard for patronage of the arts, not associated with the church or monarchy. The serendipitous
Serendipity
Serendipity means a "happy accident" or "pleasant surprise"; specifically, the accident of finding something good or useful without looking for it. The word has been voted as one of the ten English words hardest to translate in June 2004 by a British translation company. However, due to its...

 presence within the region of Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 of certain individuals of artistic genius, most notably Giotto, Masaccio
Masaccio
Masaccio , born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was the first great painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, Masaccio was the best painter of his generation because of his skill at recreating lifelike figures and movements as well as a convincing sense...

, Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He is perhaps most famous for inventing linear perspective and designing the dome of the Florence Cathedral, but his accomplishments also included bronze artwork, architecture , mathematics,...

, Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

, Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 and Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

, formed an ethos which supported and encouraged many lesser artists to achieve work of extraordinary quality. A similar heritage of artistic achievement occurred in Venice
Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

 through the talented Bellini
Bellini
-People:*Vincenzo Bellini , opera composer*a family of Italian painters:**Jacopo Bellini , father of Gentile and Giovanni**Gentile Bellini **Giovanni Bellini , the most famous of the three...

 family, their influential inlaw Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son in law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g., by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality...

, Giorgione
Giorgione
Giorgione was a Venetian painter of the High Renaissance in Venice, whose career was cut off by his death at a little over thirty. Giorgione is known for the elusive poetic quality of his work, though only about six surviving paintings are acknowledged for certain to be his work...

, Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

 and Tintoretto
Tintoretto
Tintoretto , real name Jacopo Comin, was a Venetian painter and a notable exponent of the Renaissance school. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Furioso...

.

Themes




Much painting of the Renaissance period was commissioned by or for the Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

. These works were often of large scale and were frequently cycles painted in fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

 of the Life of Christ, the Life of the Virgin
Life of the Virgin
The Life of the Virgin, showing narrative scenes from the life of Mary, the mother of Jesus, is a common subject for pictorial cycles in Christian art, often complementing, or forming part of, a cycle on the Life of Christ. In both cases the number of scenes shown varies greatly with the space...

or the life of a saint, particularly St. Francis of Assisi. There were also many allegorical
Allegory
Allegory is a demonstrative form of representation explaining meaning other than the words that are spoken. Allegory communicates its message by means of symbolic figures, actions or symbolic representation...

 paintings on the theme of Salvation
Salvation
Within religion salvation is the phenomenon of being saved from the undesirable condition of bondage or suffering experienced by the psyche or soul that has arisen as a result of unskillful or immoral actions generically referred to as sins. Salvation may also be called "deliverance" or...

 and the role of the Church in attaining it. Churches also commissioned altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

s which were painted in tempera
Tempera
Tempera, also known as egg tempera, is a permanent fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium . Tempera also refers to the paintings done in this medium. Tempera paintings are very long lasting, and examples from the 1st centuries AD still exist...

 on panel
Panel painting
A panel painting is a painting made on a flat panel made of wood, either a single piece, or a number of pieces joined together. Until canvas became the more popular support medium in the 16th century, it was the normal form of support for a painting not on a wall or vellum, which was used for...

 and later in oil
Oil paint
Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the...

 on canvas
Canvas
Canvas is an extremely heavy-duty plain-woven fabric used for making sails, tents, marquees, backpacks, and other items for which sturdiness is required. It is also popularly used by artists as a painting surface, typically stretched across a wooden frame...

. Apart from large altarpieces, small devotional pictures were produced in very large numbers, both for churches and for private individuals, the most common theme being the Madonna and Child.

Throughout the period, civic commissions were also important, local government buildings like the Palazzo Pubblico
Palazzo Pubblico
The Palazzo Pubblico is a palace in Siena, Tuscany, central Italy. Construction began in 1297 and its original purpose was to house the republican government, consisting of the Podestà and Council of Nine....

 in Siena
Siena
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...

 being decorated with frescoes and other works both secular, such as the Allegory of Good Government, and religious, such as Simone Martini
Simone Martini
Simone Martini was an Italian painter born in Siena.He was a major figure in the development of early Italian painting and greatly influenced the development of the International Gothic style....

's fresco of the Maèsta.

Portraiture was uncommon in the 14th and early 15th century, being mostly limited to civic commemorative pictures such as the equestrian portraits of Guidoriccio da Fogliano by Simone Martini
Simone Martini
Simone Martini was an Italian painter born in Siena.He was a major figure in the development of early Italian painting and greatly influenced the development of the International Gothic style....

, 1327, in Siena and, of the early 15th century, John Hawkwood
John Hawkwood
Sir John Hawkwood was an English mercenary or condottiero who was active in 14th century Italy. The French chronicler Jean Froissart knew him as Jean Haccoude and Italians as Giovanni Acuto...

 by Uccello in Florence Cathedral and its companion portraying Niccolò da Tolentino
Niccolò da Tolentino
Niccolò Mauruzzi , best known as Niccolò da Tolentino was an Italian condottiero.-Biography:A member of the Mauruzi della Stacciola family of Tolentino, he fled from that city in 1370 after a dispute with his relatives. He therefore fought under several condottieri...

 by Andrea del Castagno
Andrea del Castagno
Andrea del Castagno was an Italian painter from Florence, influenced chiefly by Tommaso Masaccio and Giotto di Bondone. His works include frescoes in Sant'Apollonia in Florence and the painted equestrian monument of Niccolò da Tolentino in the Cathedral in Florence...

.

During the 15th century portraiture became common, initially often formalised profile portraits but increasingly three-quarter face, bust-length portraits. Patrons of art works such as altarpieces and fresco cycles often were included in the scenes, a notable example being the inclusion of the Sassetti and Medici
Medici
The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside,...

 families in Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio was an Italian Renaissance painter from Florence. Among his many apprentices was Michelangelo.-Early years:Ghirlandaio's full name is given as Domenico di Tommaso di Currado di Doffo Bigordi...

's cycle in the Sassetti Chapel
Sassetti Chapel
The Sassetti Chapel is a chapel in the basilica of Santa Trinita in Florence, Italy. It is especially notable for its frescoes of the Stories of St. Francis, considered Domenico Ghirlandaio's masterwork.-History:...

. Portraiture was to become a major subject for High Renaissance painters such as Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

 and Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

 and continue into the Mannerist period in works of artists such as Bronzino.

With the growth of Humanism
Renaissance humanism
Renaissance humanism was an activity of cultural and educational reform engaged by scholars, writers, and civic leaders who are today known as Renaissance humanists. It developed during the fourteenth and the beginning of the fifteenth centuries, and was a response to the challenge of Mediæval...

, artists turned to Classical themes, particularly to fulfill commissions for the decoration of the homes of wealthy patrons, the best known being Botticelli's Birth of Venus
The Birth of Venus (Botticelli)
The Birth of Venus is a painting by Sandro Botticelli. It depicts the goddess Venus, having emerged from the sea as a fully grown woman, arriving at the sea-shore...

 
for the Medici. Increasingly, Classical themes were also seen as providing suitable allegorical material for civic commissions. Humanism also influenced the manner in which religious themes were depicted, notably on Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

's Ceiling of the Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel ceiling
The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, at the commission of Pope Julius II, is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling is that of the large Papal Chapel built within the Vatican between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV after whom it is named...

.

Other motifs were drawn from contemporary life, sometimes with allegorical meaning, some sometimes purely decorative. Incidents important to a particular family might be recorded like those in the Camera degli Sposi that Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son in law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g., by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality...

 painted for the Gonzaga
House of Gonzaga
The Gonzaga family ruled Mantua in Northern Italy from 1328 to 1708.-History:In 1433, Gianfrancesco I assumed the title of Marquis of Mantua, and in 1530 Federico II received the title of Duke of Mantua. In 1531, the family acquired the Duchy of Monferrato through marriage...

 family at Mantua
Mantua
Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole...

. Increasingly, still lifes and decorative scenes from life were painted, such as the Concert by Lorenzo Costa
Lorenzo Costa
Lorenzo Costa was an Italian painter of the Renaissance.-Biography:He was born at Ferrara, but moved to Bologna by the his early twenties, and would be more influential to the Bolognese school of painting. However, many artists worked in both nearby cities, and thus others consider him a product...

 of about 1490.

Important events were often recorded or commemorated in paintings such as Uccello's Battle of San Romano
Battle of San Romano
The Battle of San Romano was fought on June 1st 1432, some 30 miles outside Florence, between the troops of Florence, commanded by Niccolò da Tolentino, and Siena, under Francesco Piccinino. The outcome is generally considered favourable to the Florentines, but in the Sienese chronicles it was...

, as were important local religious festivals. History and historic characters were often depicted in a way that reflected on current events or on the lives of current people. Portraits were often painted of contemporaries in the guise of characters from history or literature. The writings of Dante
DANTE
Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe is a not-for-profit organisation that plans, builds and operates the international networks that interconnect the various national research and education networks in Europe and surrounding regions...

, Voragine's Golden Legend
Golden Legend
The Golden Legend is a collection of hagiographies by Jacobus de Voragine that became a late medieval bestseller. More than a thousand manuscripts of the text have survived, compared to twenty or so of its nearest rivals...

and Boccaccio's Decameron were important sources of themes.

In all these subjects, increasingly, and in the works of almost all painters, certain underlying painterly practices were being developed: the observation of nature, the study of anatomy, the study of light and the study of perspective.

Proto-Renaissance painting



Traditions of 13th century Tuscan painting


The art of the region of Tuscany in the late 13th century was dominated by two masters of the Byzantine
Byzantine art
Byzantine art is the term commonly used to describe the artistic products of the Byzantine Empire from about the 5th century until the Fall of Constantinople in 1453....

 style, Cimabue
Cimabue
Cimabue , also known as Bencivieni di Pepo or in modern Italian, Benvenuto di Giuseppe, was an Italian painter and creator of mosaics from Florence....

 of Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

 and Duccio
Duccio
Duccio di Buoninsegna was one of the most influential Italian artists of his time. Born in Siena, Tuscany, he worked mostly with pigment and egg tempera and like most of his contemporaries painted religious subjects...

 of Siena
Siena
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena.The historic centre of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site. It is one of the nation's most visited tourist attractions, with over 163,000 international arrivals in 2008...

. Their commissions were mostly religious paintings, several of them being very large altarpieces showing the Madonna and Child. These two painters, with their contemporaries, Guido of Siena
Guido of Siena
Guido of Siena, was an Italian Byzantine style painter of the 13th century.The name Guido is known from the large panel in the church of S. Domenico in Siena of the . The rhymed Latin inscription gives the painter's name as Guido de Senis, with the date 1221. However, this date cannot relate to...

, Coppo di Marcovaldo
Coppo di Marcovaldo
Coppo di Marcovaldo was an Italian painter active in Tuscany.-Biography:He was born in Florence, and is mentioned as active in Pistoia in 1265, where he frescoed the St...

 and the mysterious painter upon whose style the school may have originated, the so-called Master of St Bernardino, all worked in a manner that was highly formalised and dependent upon the ancient tradition of icon painting. In these tempera
Tempera
Tempera, also known as egg tempera, is a permanent fast-drying painting medium consisting of colored pigment mixed with a water-soluble binder medium . Tempera also refers to the paintings done in this medium. Tempera paintings are very long lasting, and examples from the 1st centuries AD still exist...

 paintings many of the details were rigidly fixed by the subject matter, the precise position of the hands of the Madonna and Christ Child, for example, being dictated by the nature of the blessing that the painting invoked upon the viewer. The angle of the Virgin's head and shoulders, the folds in her veil, and the lines with which her features were defined had all been repeated in countless such paintings. Cimabue and Duccio both took steps in the direction of greater naturalism, as did their contemporary, Pietro Cavallini
Pietro Cavallini
Pietro Cavallini was an Italian painter and mosaic designer working during the late Middle Ages. Little is known about his biography, though it is known he was from Rome, since he signed pictor romanus....

 of Rome.

Giotto



Giotto, (1266–1337), by tradition a shepherd boy from the hills north of Florence, became Cimabue's apprentice and emerged as the most outstanding painter of his time. Giotto, possibly influenced by Pietro Cavallini
Pietro Cavallini
Pietro Cavallini was an Italian painter and mosaic designer working during the late Middle Ages. Little is known about his biography, though it is known he was from Rome, since he signed pictor romanus....

 and other Roman painters, did not base the figures that he painted upon any painterly tradition, but upon the observation of life. Unlike those of his Byzantine contemporaries, Giotto's figures are solidly three-dimensional; they stand squarely on the ground, have discernible anatomy and are clothed in garments with weight and structure. But more than anything, what set Giotto's figures apart from those of his contemporaries are their emotions. In the faces of Giotto's figures are joy, rage, despair, shame, spite and love. The cycle of fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es of the Life of Christ and the Life of the Virgin that he painted in the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

 set a new standard for narrative pictures. His Ognissanti Madonna hangs in the Uffizi Gallery, Florence, in the same room as Cimabue's Santa Trinita Madonna and Duccio's Ruccellai Madonna where the stylistic comparisons between the three can easily be made. One of the features apparent in Giotto's work is his observation of naturalistic perspective. He is regarded as the herald of the Renaissance.

Giotto's contemporaries


Giotto had a number of contemporaries who were either trained and influenced by him, or whose observation of nature had led them in a similar direction. Although several of Giotto's pupils assimilated the direction that his work had taken, none was to become as successful as he. Taddeo Gaddi
Taddeo Gaddi
Taddeo Gaddi was a medieval Italian painter and architect.-Biography:He was the son of Gaddo di Zanobi, called Gaddo Gaddi. He was a member of Giotto's workshop from 1313 to 1337, when his master died...

 achieved the first large painting of a night scene in an Annunciation to the Shepherds in the Baroncelli Chapel
Baroncelli Chapel
The Baroncelli Chapel is a chapel located at the transept's end of the church of Santa Croce, Florence, central Italy. It has frescoes by Taddeo Gaddi executed between 1328 and 1338.-Description:The fresco cycle represents the Stories of the Virgin...

 of the Church of Santa Croce, Florence.

The paintings in the Upper Church of the Basilica of St. Francis, Assisi, are examples of naturalistic painting of the period, often ascribed to Giotto himself, but more probably the work of artists surrounding Pietro Cavallini
Pietro Cavallini
Pietro Cavallini was an Italian painter and mosaic designer working during the late Middle Ages. Little is known about his biography, though it is known he was from Rome, since he signed pictor romanus....

. A late painting by Cimabue
Cimabue
Cimabue , also known as Bencivieni di Pepo or in modern Italian, Benvenuto di Giuseppe, was an Italian painter and creator of mosaics from Florence....

 in the Lower Church at Assisi, of the Madonna and St. Francis, also clearly shows greater naturalism than his panel paintings and the remains of his earlier frescoes in the upper church.

Mortality and redemption



A common theme in the decoration of Medieval churches was the Last Judgement, which in northern European churches frequently occupies a sculptural space above the west door, but in Italian churches such as Giotto's Scrovegni Chapel, is painted on the inner west wall. The Black Death
Black Death
The Black Death was one of the most devastating pandemics in human history, peaking in Europe between 1348 and 1350. Of several competing theories, the dominant explanation for the Black Death is the plague theory, which attributes the outbreak to the bacterium Yersinia pestis. Thought to have...

 of 1348 caused its survivors to focus on the need to approach death in a state of penitence and absolution. The inevitability of death, the rewards for the penitent and the penalties of sin were emphasised in a number of frescoes, remarkable for their grim depictions of suffering and their surreal images of the torments of Hell
Hell
In many religious traditions, a hell is a place of suffering and punishment in the afterlife. Religions with a linear divine history often depict hells as endless. Religions with a cyclic history often depict a hell as an intermediary period between incarnations...

.

These include the Triumph of Death by Giotto's pupil Orcagna, now in a fragmentary state at the Museum of Santa Croce, and the Triumph of Death in the Camposanto Monumentale
Camposanto Monumentale
The Campo Santo, also known as Camposanto Monumentale or Camposanto Vecchio , is a historical edifice at the northern edge of the Cathedral Square in Pisa, Italy....

 at Pisa
Pisa
Pisa is a city in Tuscany, Central Italy, on the right bank of the mouth of the River Arno on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It is the capital city of the Province of Pisa...

 by an unknown painter, perhaps Francesco Traini
Francesco Traini
Francesco Traini was an Italian painter who was demonstrably active from 1321 to approx. 1365 in Pisa and Bologna.He appears to have been a follower of Andrea Orcagna. There is only one work known to be by Traini: in 1345 he signed and dated a polyptych of the Pisan church S. Caterina, showing...

 or Buonamico Buffalmacco
Buonamico Buffalmacco
Buonamico di [son of] Martino or Buonamico Buffalmacco was an Italian painter who worked in Florence, Bologna and Pisa...

 who worked on the other three of a series of frescoes on the subject of Salvation. It is unknown exactly when these frescoes were begun but it is generally presumed they post-date 1348.

Two important fresco painters were active in Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

 in the late 14th century, Altichiero
Altichiero
Altichiero da Verona , also called Aldighieri da Zevio, was an Italian painter of the Gothic style. A follower of Giotto, Altichiero is credited with founding the Veronese school...

 and Giusto de' Menabuoi
Giusto de' Menabuoi
Giusto de' Menabuoi was an Italian painter of the early Renaissance. He was born in Florence.In Lombardy he executed a fresco of the Last Judgement in the Abbey of Viboldone, Milan...

. Giusto's masterpiece, the decoration of the Cathedral
Padua Cathedral
The Cathedral of the Assumption of Mary of Padua is a Roman Catholic church and minor basilica in Padua, northern Italy. The cathedral is the see of the Diocese of Padua, and is dedicated to to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary....

's Baptistery, follows the theme of humanity's Creation, Downfall and Salvation, also having a rare Apocalypse
Apocalypse
An Apocalypse is a disclosure of something hidden from the majority of mankind in an era dominated by falsehood and misconception, i.e. the veil to be lifted. The Apocalypse of John is the Book of Revelation, the last book of the New Testament...

 cycle in the small chancel. While the whole work is exceptional for its breadth, quality and intact state, the treatment of human emotion is conservative by comparison with that of Altichiero
Altichiero
Altichiero da Verona , also called Aldighieri da Zevio, was an Italian painter of the Gothic style. A follower of Giotto, Altichiero is credited with founding the Veronese school...

's Crucifixion at the Basilica of Sant'Antonio, also in Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

. Giusto's work relies on formalised gestures, where Altichiero relates the incidents surrounding Christ's death with great human drama and intensity.
In Florence, at the Spanish Chapel of Santa Maria Novella
Basilica di Santa Maria Novella
Santa Maria Novella is a church in Florence, Italy, situated just across from the main railway station which shares its name. Chronologically, it is the first great basilica in Florence, and is the city's principal Dominican church....

, Andrea Bonaiuti was commissioned to emphasise the role of the Church in the redemptive process, and that of the Dominican Order
Dominican Order
The Order of Preachers , after the 15th century more commonly known as the Dominican Order or Dominicans, is a Catholic religious order founded by Saint Dominic and approved by Pope Honorius III on 22 December 1216 in France...

 in particular. His fresco Allegory of the Active and Triumphant Church is remarkable for its depiction of Florence Cathedral, complete with the dome which was not built until the following century.

International Gothic


During the later 14th century, International Gothic
International Gothic
International Gothic is a phase of Gothic art which developed in Burgundy, Bohemia, France and northern Italy in the late 14th century and early 15th century...

 was the style that dominated Tuscan painting. It can be seen to an extent in the work of Pietro and Ambrogio Lorenzetti which is marked by a formalized sweetness and grace in the figures, and Late Gothic gracefulness in the draperies. The style is fully developed in the works of Simone Martini
Simone Martini
Simone Martini was an Italian painter born in Siena.He was a major figure in the development of early Italian painting and greatly influenced the development of the International Gothic style....

 and Gentile da Fabriano
Gentile da Fabriano
Gentile da Fabriano was an Italian painter known for his participation in the International Gothic style. He worked in various places in central Italy, mostly in Tuscany. His best known works are his Adoration of the Magi and the Flight into Egypt.-Biography:Gentile was born in or near Fabriano,...

 which have an elegance and a richness of detail, and an idealised quality not compatible with the starker realities of Giotto's paintings.

In the early 15th century, bridging the gap between International Gothic and the Renaissance are the paintings of Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico , born Guido di Pietro, was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having "a rare and perfect talent"...

, many of which, being altarpieces in tempera, show the Gothic love of elaboration, gold leaf and brilliant colour. It is in his frescoes at his convent
Convent
A convent is either a community of priests, religious brothers, religious sisters, or nuns, or the building used by the community, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church and in the Anglican Communion...

 of Sant' Marco that Fra Angelico shows himself the artistic disciple of Giotto. These devotional paintings, which adorn the cells and corridors inhabited by the friars, represent episodes from the life of Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, many of them being scenes of the Crucifixion. They are starkly simple, restrained in colour and intense in mood as the artist sought to make spiritual revelations a visual reality.


Early Renaissance painting




Florence, 1401


The earliest truly Renaissance images in Florence date from the first year of the century known in Italian as Quattrocento, synonymous with the Early Renaissance. At that date a competition was held to find an artist to create a pair of bronze doors for the Baptistry of St. John
Battistero di San Giovanni (Florence)
The Florence Baptistry or Battistero di San Giovanni is a religious building in Florence , Italy, which has the status of a minor basilica....

, the oldest remaining church in the city. The Baptistry is a large octagonal building in the Romanesque
Romanesque architecture
Romanesque architecture is an architectural style of Medieval Europe characterised by semi-circular arches. There is no consensus for the beginning date of the Romanesque architecture, with proposals ranging from the 6th to the 10th century. It developed in the 12th century into the Gothic style,...

 style, whose origins had been forgotten and which was popularly believed to date from Roman times. The interior of its dome is decorated with an enormous mosaic figure of Christ in Majesty thought to have been designed by Coppo di Marcovaldo
Coppo di Marcovaldo
Coppo di Marcovaldo was an Italian painter active in Tuscany.-Biography:He was born in Florence, and is mentioned as active in Pistoia in 1265, where he frescoed the St...

. It has three large portals, the central one being filled at that time by a set of doors created by Andrea Pisano
Andrea Pisano
Andrea Pisano , also known as Andrea da Pontedera, was an Italian sculptor and architect.-Biography:Andrea Pisano was born at Pontedera, where he also died....

 eighty years earlier.

Pisano's doors were divided into 28 quatrofoil compartments, containing narratives scenes from the Life of John the Baptist. The competitors, of which there were seven young artists, were each to design a bronze panel of similar shape and size, representing the Sacrifice of Isaac.

Two of the panels have survived, that by Lorenzo Ghiberti
Lorenzo Ghiberti
Lorenzo Ghiberti , born Lorenzo di Bartolo, was an Italian artist of the early Renaissance best known for works in sculpture and metalworking.-Early life:...

 and that by Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He is perhaps most famous for inventing linear perspective and designing the dome of the Florence Cathedral, but his accomplishments also included bronze artwork, architecture , mathematics,...

. Each panel shows some strongly classicising motifs indicating the direction that art and philosophy were moving, at that time. Ghiberti has used the naked figure of Isaac to create a small sculpture in the Classical style. He kneels on a tomb decorated with acanthus scrolls that are also a reference to the art of Ancient Rome. In Brunelleschi's panel, one of the additional figures included in the scene is reminiscent of a well-known Roman bronze figure of a boy pulling a thorn from his foot. Brunelleschi's creation is challenging in its dynamic intensity. Less elegant than Ghiberti's, it is more about human drama and impending tragedy.

Ghiberti won the competition. His first set of Baptistry doors took 27 years to complete, after which he was commissioned to make another. In the total of 50 years that Ghiberti worked on them, the doors provided a training ground for many of the artists of Florence. Being narrative in subject and employing not only skill in arranging figurative compositions but also the burgeoning skill of linear perspective, the doors were to have an enormous influence on the development of Florentine pictorial art. They were a unifying factor, a source of pride and camaraderie for both the city and its artists. Michelangelo was to call them the Gates of Paradise.

The Brancacci Chapel



In 1426 two artists commenced painting a fresco cycle of the Life of St. Peter in the chapel of the Brancacci family, at the Carmelite Church in Florence. They both were called by the name of Tommaso and were nicknamed Masaccio
Masaccio
Masaccio , born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was the first great painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, Masaccio was the best painter of his generation because of his skill at recreating lifelike figures and movements as well as a convincing sense...

 and Masolino, Big Tom and Little Tom.

More than any other artist, Masaccio recognised the implications in the work of Giotto. He carried forward the practice of painting from nature. His paintings demonstrate an understanding of anatomy, of foreshortening, of linear perspective, of light and the study of drapery. Among his works, the figures of Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

 being expelled from Eden
, painted on the side of the arch into the chapel, are renowned for their realistic depiction of the human form and of human emotion. They contrast with the gentle and pretty figures painted by Masolino on the opposite side of Adam and Eve receiving the forbidden fruit. The painting of the Brancacci Chapel
Brancacci Chapel
The Brancacci Chapel is a chapel in the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence, central Italy. It is sometimes called the "Sistine Chapel of the early Renaissance" for its painting cycle, among the most famous and influential of the period. Construction of the chapel was commissioned by...

 was left incomplete when Masaccio died at 26. The work was later finished by Filippino Lippi
Filippino Lippi
Filippino Lippi was an Italian painter working during the High Renaissance in Florence, Italy.-Biography:...

. Masaccio's work was to be a source of inspiration to many later painters, including both Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 and Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

.

The development of linear perspective



During the first half of the 15th century, the achieving of the effect of realistic space in a painting by the employment of linear perspective was a major preoccupation of many painters, as well as the architects Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi
Filippo Brunelleschi was one of the foremost architects and engineers of the Italian Renaissance. He is perhaps most famous for inventing linear perspective and designing the dome of the Florence Cathedral, but his accomplishments also included bronze artwork, architecture , mathematics,...

 and Alberti who both theorised about the subject. Brunelleschi is known to have done a number of careful studies of the piazza and octagonal baptistery outside Florence Cathedral and it is thought he aided Masaccio in the creation of his famous trompe l'oeil
Trompe l'oeil
Trompe-l'œil, which can also be spelled without the hyphen in English as trompe l'oeil, is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three dimensions.-History in painting:Although the phrase has its origin in...

 niche around the Holy Trinity he painted at Santa Maria Novella.

According to Vasari, Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello , born Paolo di Dono, was an Italian painter and a mathematician who was notable for his pioneering work on visual perspective in art. Giorgio Vasari in his book Lives of the Artists wrote that Uccello was obsessed by his interest in perspective and would stay up all night in his...

 was so obsessed with perspective that he thought of little else and experimented with it in many paintings, the best known being the three Battle of San Romano
Battle of San Romano
The Battle of San Romano was fought on June 1st 1432, some 30 miles outside Florence, between the troops of Florence, commanded by Niccolò da Tolentino, and Siena, under Francesco Piccinino. The outcome is generally considered favourable to the Florentines, but in the Sienese chronicles it was...

 pictures which use broken weapons on the ground, and fields on the distant hills to give an impression of perspective.

In the 1450s Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

, in paintings such as The Flagellation of Christ, demonstrated his mastery over linear perspective and also over the science of light. Another painting exists, a cityscape, by an unknown artist, perhaps Piero della Francesca, that demonstrates the sort of experiment that Brunelleschi had been making. From this time linear perspective was understood and regularly employed, such as by Perugino in his Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter in the Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio...

.

The understanding of light


Giotto used tonality to create form. Taddeo Gaddi
Taddeo Gaddi
Taddeo Gaddi was a medieval Italian painter and architect.-Biography:He was the son of Gaddo di Zanobi, called Gaddo Gaddi. He was a member of Giotto's workshop from 1313 to 1337, when his master died...

 in his nocturnal scene in the Baroncelli Chapel demonstrated how light could be used to create drama. Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello
Paolo Uccello , born Paolo di Dono, was an Italian painter and a mathematician who was notable for his pioneering work on visual perspective in art. Giorgio Vasari in his book Lives of the Artists wrote that Uccello was obsessed by his interest in perspective and would stay up all night in his...

, a hundred years later, experimented with the dramatic effect of light in some of his almost-monochrome frescoes. He did a number of these in terra verde or "green earth", enlivening his compositions with touches of vermilion. The best known is his equestrian portrait of John Hawkwood
John Hawkwood
Sir John Hawkwood was an English mercenary or condottiero who was active in 14th century Italy. The French chronicler Jean Froissart knew him as Jean Haccoude and Italians as Giovanni Acuto...

 on the wall of Florence Cathedral. Both here and on the four heads of prophets that he painted around the inner clockface in the cathedral, he used strongly contrasting tones, suggesting that each figure was being lit by a natural light source, as if the source was an actual window in the cathedral.

Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

 carried his study of light further. In the Flagellation he demonstrates a knowledge of how light is proportionally disseminated from its point of origin. There are two sources of light in this painting, one internal to a building and the other external. Of the internal source, though the light itself is invisible, its position can be calculated with mathematical certainty. Leonardo da Vinci was to carry forward Piero's work on light.


The Madonna


The Blessed Virgin Mary, revered by the Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 worldwide, was particularly evoked in Florence, where there was a miraculous image of her on a column in the corn market and where both the Cathedral of "Our Lady of the Flowers" and the large Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella were named in her honour.

The miraculous image in the corn market was sadly destroyed by fire, but replaced with a new image in the 1330s by Bernardo Daddi
Bernardo Daddi
Bernardo Daddi was an early Italian renaissance painter and apprentice of Giotto. He was also influenced by the Sienese art of Lorenzetti....

, set in an elaborately designed and lavishly wrought canopy by Orcagna. The open lower storey of the building was enclosed and dedicated as Orsanmichele
Orsanmichele
Orsanmichele is a church in the Italian city of Florence...

.

Depictions of the Madonna and Child were a very popular art form in Florence. They took every shape from small mass-produced terracotta plaques to magnificent altarpieces such as those by Cimabue
Cimabue
Cimabue , also known as Bencivieni di Pepo or in modern Italian, Benvenuto di Giuseppe, was an Italian painter and creator of mosaics from Florence....

, Giotto and Masaccio
Masaccio
Masaccio , born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was the first great painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, Masaccio was the best painter of his generation because of his skill at recreating lifelike figures and movements as well as a convincing sense...

.

In the 15th and first half of the 16th centuries, one workshop more than any other dominated the production of Madonnas. They were the della Robbia family, and they were not painters but modellers in clay. Luca della Robbia
Luca della Robbia
Luca della Robbia was an Italian sculptor from Florence, noted for his terra-cotta roundels.Luca Della Robbia developed a pottery glaze that made his creations more durable in the outdoors and thus suitable for use on the exterior of buildings. His work is noted for its charm rather than the drama...

, famous for his cantoria gallery at the cathedral, was the first sculptor to use glazed terracotta for large sculptures. Many of the durable works of this family have survived. The skill of the della Robbias, particularly Andrea della Robbia
Andrea della Robbia
Andrea della Robbia was an Italian Renaissance sculptor, especially in ceramics. He was the son of Marco della Robbia. Andrea della Robbia's uncle, Luca della Robbia, popularized the use of glazed terra-cotta for sculpture...

, was to give great naturalism to the babies that they modelled as Jesus
Jesus
Jesus of Nazareth , commonly referred to as Jesus Christ or simply as Jesus or Christ, is the central figure of Christianity...

, and expressions of great piety and sweetness to the Madonna. They were to set a standard to be emulated by other artists of Florence.

Among those who painted devotional Madonnas during the Early Renaissance are Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico
Fra Angelico , born Guido di Pietro, was an Early Italian Renaissance painter described by Vasari in his Lives of the Artists as having "a rare and perfect talent"...

, Fra Filippo Lippi, Verrocchio and Davide Ghirlandaio
Davide Ghirlandaio
Davide Ghirlandaio , also known as David Ghirlandaio and as Davide Bigordi, was an Italian painter and mosaicist, active in his native Florence....

. The custom was continued by Botticelli who produced a series of Madonnas over a period of twenty years for the Medici
Medici
The House of Medici or Famiglia de' Medici was a political dynasty, banking family and later royal house that first began to gather prominence under Cosimo de' Medici in the Republic of Florence during the late 14th century. The family originated in the Mugello region of the Tuscan countryside,...

; Perugino, whose Madonnas and saints are known for their sweetness and Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, for whom a number of small attributed Madonnas such as the Benois Madonna have survived. Even Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 who was primarily a sculptor, was persuaded to paint the Doni Tondo
Doni Tondo
The Doni Tondo or Doni Madonna, sometimes called The Holy Family, is the earliest of only three surviving panel paintings by the adult Italian Renaissance master Michelangelo Buonarroti, and the only one to be finished...

, while for Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

, they are among his most popular and numerous works.

Early Renaissance painting in other parts of Italy



Andrea Mantegna in Mantua


One of the most influential painters of northern Italy was Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son in law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g., by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality...

 of Padua
Padua
Padua is a city and comune in the Veneto, northern Italy. It is the capital of the province of Padua and the economic and communications hub of the area. Padua's population is 212,500 . The city is sometimes included, with Venice and Treviso, in the Padua-Treviso-Venice Metropolitan Area, having...

, who had the good fortune to be in his teen years at the time in which the great Florentine sculptor Donatello
Donatello
Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi , also known as Donatello, was an early Renaissance Italian artist and sculptor from Florence...

 was working there. Donatello created the enormous equestrian bronze, the first since the Roman Empire, of the condotiero Gattemelata, still visible on its plinth in the square outside the Basilica of Sant'Antonio. He also worked on the high altar and created a series of bronze panels in which he achieved a remarkable illusion of depth, with perspective in the architectural settings and apparent roundness of the human form all in very shallow relief.

At only 17 years old, Mantegna accepted his first commission, fresco cycles of the Lives of Saints James and Christopher for the Eremitani Chapel, near the Scrovegni Chapel in Padua. Unfortunately the building was mostly destroyed during World War II, and they are only known from photographs which reveal an already highly developed sense of perspective and a knowledge of antiquity, for which the ancient University of Padua had become well known, early in the 15th century.

Mantegna's most famous work is the interior decoration of the Camera degli Sposi for the Gonzaga family in Mantua
Mantua
Mantua is a city and comune in Lombardy, Italy and capital of the province of the same name. Mantua's historic power and influence under the Gonzaga family, made it one of the main artistic, cultural and notably musical hubs of Northern Italy and the country as a whole...

, dated about 1470. The walls are frescoed with scenes of the life of the Gonzaga family, talking, greeting a younger son and his tutor on their return from Rome, preparing for a hunt and other such scenes which make no obvious reference to matters historic, literary, philosophic or religious. They are remarkable for simply being about family life. The one concession is the scattering of jolly winged cherubs who hold up plaques and garlands and clamber on the illusionistic pierced balustrade that surrounds a trompe l'oeil
Trompe l'oeil
Trompe-l'œil, which can also be spelled without the hyphen in English as trompe l'oeil, is an art technique involving extremely realistic imagery in order to create the optical illusion that the depicted objects appear in three dimensions.-History in painting:Although the phrase has its origin in...

 view of the sky that decks the ceiling of the chamber.

Cosmè Tura in Ferrara


While Mantegna was working for the Gonzagas in Mantua, a very different painter was being employed to design an even more ambitious scheme for the Este family of Ferrara
Ferrara
Ferrara is a city and comune in Emilia-Romagna, northern Italy, capital city of the Province of Ferrara. It is situated 50 km north-northeast of Bologna, on the Po di Volano, a branch channel of the main stream of the Po River, located 5 km north...

. Cosmè Tura's painting is highly distinctive, both strangely Gothic yet Classicising at the same time. Tura poses Classical figures as if they were saints, surrounds them with luminous symbolic motifs of surreal perfection and clothes them in garments that appear to be crafted out of intricately folded and enamelled copper.

Borso d'Este
Borso d'Este
thumb|Borso d'Este, attributed to [[Vicino da Ferrara]], [[Pinacoteca]] of the [[Castello Sforzesco|Sforza Castle]] in [[Milan]], [[Italy]].Borso d'Este was the first Duke of Ferrara, which he ruled from 1450 until his death...

's family had constructed a large banquetting hall and suite known as the Palazzo Schifanoia
Palazzo Schifanoia
Palazzo Schifanoia is a Renaissance palace in Ferrara, Emilia-Romagna built for the Este family. The name "Schifanoia" is thought to originate from "schivar la noia" meaning literally to "escape from boredom" which describes accurately the original intention of the palazzo and the other villas...

. Borso, according to Tura's personal records, employed him in 1470 to design the decorative scheme for the banquetting hall, to be executed by Francesco del Cossa
Francesco del Cossa
Francesco del Cossa was an Italian early-Renaissance painter of the School of Ferrara.-Biography:...

 and Ercole de' Roberti
Ercole de' Roberti
thumb|240px|Portrait of [[Giovanni II Bentivoglio]] . National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.Ercole de' Roberti , also known as Ercole Ferrarese or Ercole da Ferrara, was an Italian artist of the Early Renaissance and the School of Ferrara...

.

The scheme is both symbolically complex and elaborate in execution. The overriding theme is the Cycle of the Year as represented by the signs of the zodiac accompanied by the mysterious Deans each ruling ten days of the month. Above them, seated in a spectacular array of chariots drawn by lions, eagles, unicorns and other such beasts, are twelve Roman deities with their various attributes. In the lower tiers, as in the Camera degli Sposi, are shown the life of the family. For the month of March, for example, the figure of Minerva
Minerva
Minerva was the Roman goddess whom Romans from the 2nd century BC onwards equated with the Greek goddess Athena. She was the virgin goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, commerce, weaving, crafts, magic...

, Goddess of Wisdom, is represented and in the panel beneath Borso d'Este is administering justice, while in the distance workers are pruning vines. Although areas of the frescoes are very badly damaged to the extent that the subject can no longer be identified, and although there are several different hands apparent in the works, there appears to be a consistency in the design of every remaining scene that shows the overriding eccentric style of Cosmè Tura.

Antonello da Messina


In 1442 Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso V of Aragon
Alfonso the Magnanimous KG was the King of Aragon , Valencia , Majorca, Sardinia and Corsica , and Sicily and Count of Barcelona from 1416 and King of Naples from 1442 until his death...

 became ruler of Naples
Kingdom of Naples
The Kingdom of Naples, comprising the southern part of the Italian peninsula, was the remainder of the old Kingdom of Sicily after secession of the island of Sicily as a result of the Sicilian Vespers rebellion of 1282. Known to contemporaries as the Kingdom of Sicily, it is dubbed Kingdom of...

, bringing with him a collection of Flemish painting
Flemish painting
Flemish painting flourished from the early 15th century until the 17th century. Flanders delivered the leading painters in Northern Europe and attracted many promising young painters from neighbouring countries. These painters were invited to work at foreign courts and had a Europe-wide influence...

s and setting up a Humanist Academy
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

. The painter Antonello da Messina
Antonello da Messina
Antonello da Messina, properly Antonello di Giovanni di Antonio was an Italian painter from Messina, Sicily, active during the Italian Renaissance...

 seems to have had access to the King's collection, which may have included the works of Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck
Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter active in Bruges and considered one of the best Northern European painters of the 15th century....

. He seems to have been exposed to Flemish painting at a date earlier than the Florentines, to have quickly seen the potential of oils as a medium and then painted in nothing else. He carried the technique north to Venice with him, where it was soon adopted by Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. His father was Jacopo Bellini, his brother was Gentile Bellini, and his brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna. He is considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it...

 and became the favoured medium of the maritime republic where the art of fresco had never been a great success.

Antonello da Messina painted mostly small meticulous portraits in glowing colours. But one of his most famous works also demonstrates his superior ability at handling linear perspective and light. This is the small painting of St. Jerome in His Study, in which the composition is framed by a late Gothic arch, through which is viewed an interior, domestic on one side and ecclesiastic on the other, in the centre of which the saint sits in a wooden corral surrounded by his possessions while his lion prowls in the shadows on the tiled floor. The way that the light streams in through every door and window casting both natural light and reflected light across the architecture and all the objects would have excited Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

. Antonello's work influenced both Gentile Bellini
Gentile Bellini
Gentile Bellini was an Italian painter. From 1474 he was the official portrait artist for the Doges of Venice.- Biography :...

, who did a series of paintings of Miracles of Venice for the Scuola di Santa Croce, and his more famous brother, Giovanni
Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. His father was Jacopo Bellini, his brother was Gentile Bellini, and his brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna. He is considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it...

, one of the most significant painters of the High Renaissance in Northern Italy.

Patronage and Humanism


In Florence, in the later 15th century, most works of art, even those that were done as decoration for churches, were generally commissioned and paid for by private patrons. Much of the patronage came from the Medici family, or those who were closely associated with or related to them, such as the Sassetti, the Ruccellai and the Tornabuoni.

In the 1460s Cosimo de' Medici the Elder had established Marsilio Ficino
Marsilio Ficino
Marsilio Ficino was one of the most influential humanist philosophers of the early Italian Renaissance, an astrologer, a reviver of Neoplatonism who was in touch with every major academic thinker and writer of his day, and the first translator of Plato's complete extant works into Latin...

 as his resident Humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 philosopher, and facilitated his translation of Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

 and his teaching of Platonic philosophy, which focused on humanity as the centre of the natural universe, on each person's personal relationship with God, and on fraternal or "platonic" love as being the closest that a person could get to emulating or understanding the love of God.

In the Medieval period, everything related to the Classical period was perceived as associated with paganism. In the Renaissance it came increasingly to be associated with enlightenment. The figures of Classical mythology
Classical mythology
Classical mythology or Greco-Roman mythology is the cultural reception of myths from the ancient Greeks and Romans. Along with philosophy and political thought, mythology represents one of the major survivals of classical antiquity throughout later Western culture.Classical mythology has provided...

 began to take on a new symbolic role in Christian art and in particular, the Goddess Venus
Venus
Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. The planet is named after Venus, the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the Moon, it is the brightest natural object in the night sky, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows...

 took on a new discretion. Born fully formed, by a sort of miracle, she was the new Eve
Eve (Bible)
Eve was, according to the creation of Abrahamic religions, the first woman created by God...

, symbol of innocent love, or even, by extension, a symbol of the Virgin Mary herself. We see Venus in both these roles in the two famous tempera paintings that Botticelli did in the 1480s for Cosimo's nephew, Pierfrancesco Medici, the Primavera and the Birth of Venus.

Meanwhile, Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio was an Italian Renaissance painter from Florence. Among his many apprentices was Michelangelo.-Early years:Ghirlandaio's full name is given as Domenico di Tommaso di Currado di Doffo Bigordi...

, a meticulous and accurate draughtsman and one of the finest portrait painters of his age, executed two cycles of frescoes for Medici associates in two of Florence's larger churches, the Sassetti Chapel
Sassetti Chapel
The Sassetti Chapel is a chapel in the basilica of Santa Trinita in Florence, Italy. It is especially notable for its frescoes of the Stories of St. Francis, considered Domenico Ghirlandaio's masterwork.-History:...

 at Santa Trinita and the Tornabuoni Chapel
Tornabuoni Chapel
The Tornabuoni Chapel is the main chapel in the church of Santa Maria Novella, Florence, Italy. It is famous for the extensive and well-preserved fresco cycle on its walls, one of the most complete in the city, which was created by Domenico Ghirlandaio and his workshop between 1485 and...

 at Santa Maria Novella. In these cycles of the Life of St Francis and the Life of the Virgin Mary and Life of John the Baptist there was room for portraits of patrons and of the patrons' patrons. Thanks to Sassetti's patronage, there is a portrait of the man himself, with his employer, Lorenzo il Magnifico, and Lorenzo's three sons with their tutor, the Humanist poet and philosopher, Agnolo Poliziano. In the Tornabuoni Chapel is another portrait of Poliziano, accompanied by the other influential members of the Platonic Academy including Marsilio Ficino.



Flemish influence


From about 1450, with the arrival in Italy of the Flemish painter
Early Netherlandish painting
Early Netherlandish painting refers to the work of artists active in the Low Countries during the 15th- and early 16th-century Northern renaissance, especially in the flourishing Burgundian cities of Bruges and Ghent...

 Rogier van der Weyden and possibly earlier, artists were introduced to the medium of oil paint
Oil paint
Oil paint is a type of slow-drying paint that consists of particles of pigment suspended in a drying oil, commonly linseed oil. The viscosity of the paint may be modified by the addition of a solvent such as turpentine or white spirit, and varnish may be added to increase the glossiness of the...

. Whereas both tempera and fresco lent themselves to the depiction of pattern, neither presented a successful way to represent natural textures realistically. The highly flexibly medium of oils, which could be made opaque or transparent, and allowed alteration and additions for days after it had been laid down, opened a new world of possibility to Italian artists.

In 1475 a huge altarpiece of the Adoration of the Shepherds arrived in Florence. Painted by Hugo van der Goes
Hugo van der Goes
Hugo van der Goes was a Flemish painter. He was, along with Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden, Hans Memling and Gerard David, one of the most important of the Early Netherlandish painters.-Biography:...

 at the behest of the Portinari family, it was shipped out from Bruges and installed in the Chapel of Sant' Egidio at the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova. The altarpiece glows with intense reds and greens, contrasting with the glossy black velvet robes of the Portinari donors. In the foreground is a still life
Still life
A still life is a work of art depicting mostly inanimate subject matter, typically commonplace objects which may be either natural or man-made...

 of flowers in contrasting containers, one of glazed pottery and the other of glass. The glass vase alone was enough to excite attention. But the most influential aspect of the triptych was the extremely natural and lifelike quality of the three shepherds with stubbly beards, workworn hands and expressions ranging from adoration to wonder to incomprehension. Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio was an Italian Renaissance painter from Florence. Among his many apprentices was Michelangelo.-Early years:Ghirlandaio's full name is given as Domenico di Tommaso di Currado di Doffo Bigordi...

 promptly painted his own version, with a beautiful Italian Madonna in place of the long-faced Flemish one, and himself, gesturing theatrically, as one of the shepherds.

The Papal commission


In 1477 Pope Sixtus IV
Pope Sixtus IV
Pope Sixtus IV , born Francesco della Rovere, was Pope from 1471 to 1484. His accomplishments as Pope included the establishment of the Sistine Chapel; the group of artists that he brought together introduced the Early Renaissance into Rome with the first masterpiece of the city's new artistic age,...

 replaced the derelict old chapel at the Vatican
Apostolic Palace
The Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope, which is located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Sacred Palace, the Papal Palace and the Palace of the Vatican...

 in which many of the Papal services were held. The interior of the new chapel, named the Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel is the best-known chapel in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope in Vatican City. It is famous for its architecture and its decoration that was frescoed throughout by Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio...

 in his honour, appears to have been planned from the start to have a series of 16 large frescoes between its pilasters on the middle level, with a series of painted portraits of popes above them.

In 1480, a group of artists from Florence was commissioned with the work: Botticelli, Pietro Perugino
Pietro Perugino
Pietro Perugino , born Pietro Vannucci, was an Italian Renaissance painter of the Umbrian school, who developed some of the qualities that found classic expression in the High Renaissance...

, Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio
Domenico Ghirlandaio was an Italian Renaissance painter from Florence. Among his many apprentices was Michelangelo.-Early years:Ghirlandaio's full name is given as Domenico di Tommaso di Currado di Doffo Bigordi...

 and Cosimo Rosselli
Cosimo Rosselli
Cosimo Rosselli was an Italian painter of the Quattrocento, active mainly in his birthplace of Florence.-Biography:Born in Florence, at the age of fourteen he became a pupil of Neri di Bicci, and in 1460 he worked as assistant to his cousin Bernardo di Stefano Rosselli...

. This fresco cycle was to depict Stories of the Life of Moses on one side of the chapel, and Stories of the Life of Christ on the other with the frescoes complementing each other in theme. The Nativity of Jesus and the Finding of Moses were adjacent on the wall behind the altar, with an altarpiece
Altarpiece
An altarpiece is a picture or relief representing a religious subject and suspended in a frame behind the altar of a church. The altarpiece is often made up of two or more separate panels created using a technique known as panel painting. It is then called a diptych, triptych or polyptych for two,...

 of the Assumption of the Virgin between them. These paintings, all by Perugino, were later destroyed to paint Michelangelo's Last Judgement.

The remaining 12 pictures indicate the virtuosity that these artists had attained, and the obvious cooperation between individuals who normally employed very different styles and who had very different skills. The paintings gave full range to their capabilities as they included a great number of figures of men, women and children and characters ranging from guiding angels to enraged Pharaoh
Pharaoh
Pharaoh is a title used in many modern discussions of the ancient Egyptian rulers of all periods. The title originates in the term "pr-aa" which means "great house" and describes the royal palace...

s and the devil himself. Each painting required a landscape
Landscape
Landscape comprises the visible features of an area of land, including the physical elements of landforms such as mountains, hills, water bodies such as rivers, lakes, ponds and the sea, living elements of land cover including indigenous vegetation, human elements including different forms of...

. Because of the scale of the figures that the artists agreed upon, in each picture, the landscape and sky take up the whole upper half of the scene. Sometimes, as in Botticelli's scene of The Purification of the Leper, there are additional small narratives taking place in the landscape, in this case The Temptations of Christ.

Perugino's scene of Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter is remarkable for the clarity and simplicity of its composition, the beauty of the figurative painting, which includes a self-portrait among the onlookers, and especially the perspective cityscape which includes reference to Peter's ministry to Rome by the presence of two triumphal arch
Triumphal arch
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...

es, and centrally placed an octagonal building which might be a Christian baptistry or a Roman Mausoleum
Mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

.

Leonardo da Vinci


Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, because of the scope of his interests and the extraordinary degree of talent that he demonstrated in so many diverse areas, is regarded as the archetypal "Renaissance man
Polymath
A polymath is a person whose expertise spans a significant number of different subject areas. In less formal terms, a polymath may simply be someone who is very knowledgeable...

". But it was first and foremost as a painter that he was admired within his own time, and as a painter, he drew on the knowledge that he gained from all his other interests.

Leonardo was a scientific observer. He learned by looking at things. He studied and drew the flowers of the fields, the eddies of the river, the form of the rocks and mountains, the way light reflected from foliage and sparkled in a jewel. In particular, he studied the human form, dissecting thirty or more unclaimed cadaver
Cadaver
A cadaver is a dead human body.Cadaver may also refer to:* Cadaver tomb, tomb featuring an effigy in the form of a decomposing body* Cadaver , a video game* cadaver A command-line WebDAV client for Unix....

s from a hospital in order to understand muscles and sinews.

More than any other artist, he advanced the study of "atmosphere". In his paintings such as the Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa
Mona Lisa is a portrait by the Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci. It is a painting in oil on a poplar panel, completed circa 1503–1519...

and Virgin of the Rocks
Virgin of the Rocks
The Virgin of the Rocks is the name used for both of two paintings by Leonardo da Vinci, of the same subject, and of a composition which is identical except for two significant details...

, he used light and shade with such subtlety that, for want of a better word, it became known as Leonardo's "sfumato" or "smoke".

Simultaneous to inviting the viewer into a mysterious world of shifting shadows, chaotic mountains and whirling torrents, Leonardo achieved a degree of realism in the expression of human emotion, prefigured by Giotto but unknown since Masaccio's Adam and Eve. Leonardo's Last Supper, painted in the refectory of a monastery in Milan, became the benchmark for religious narrative painting for the next half millennium. Many other Renaissance artists painted versions of the Last Supper, but only Leonardo's was destined to be reproduced countless times in wood, alabaster, plaster, lithograph, tapestry, crochet and table-carpets.

Apart from the direct impact of the works themselves, Leonardo's studies of light, anatomy, landscape, and human expression were disseminated in part through his generosity to a retinue of students.

Michelangelo



In 1508 Pope Julius II
Pope Julius II
Pope Julius II , nicknamed "The Fearsome Pope" and "The Warrior Pope" , born Giuliano della Rovere, was Pope from 1503 to 1513...

 succeeded in getting the sculptor Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 to agree to continue the decorative scheme of the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel ceiling
Sistine Chapel ceiling
The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, at the commission of Pope Julius II, is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling is that of the large Papal Chapel built within the Vatican between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV after whom it is named...

 was constructed in such a way that there were twelve sloping pendentives supporting the vault that formed ideal surfaces on which to paint the Twelve Apostles. Michelangelo, who had yielded to the Pope's demands with little grace, soon devised an entirely different scheme, far more complex both in design and in iconography. The scale of the work, which he executed single handed except for manual assistance, was titanic and took nearly five years to complete.

The Pope's plan for the Apostles would thematically have formed a pictorial link between the Old Testament
Old Testament
The Old Testament, of which Christians hold different views, is a Christian term for the religious writings of ancient Israel held sacred and inspired by Christians which overlaps with the 24-book canon of the Masoretic Text of Judaism...

 and New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

 narratives on the walls, and the popes in the gallery of portraits. It is the twelve apostles, and their leader Peter as first Bishop of Rome, that make that bridge. But Michelangelo's scheme went the opposite direction. The theme of Michelangelo's ceiling is not God's grand plan for humanity's salvation. The theme is about humanity's disgrace. It is about why humanity needed, and in the terms of the faith, needs Jesus.

Superficially, the ceiling is a Humanist
Humanism
Humanism is an approach in study, philosophy, world view or practice that focuses on human values and concerns. In philosophy and social science, humanism is a perspective which affirms some notion of human nature, and is contrasted with anti-humanism....

 construction. The figures are of superhuman dimension and, in the case of Adam
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

, of such beauty that according to the biographer Vasari, it really looks as if God himself had designed the figure, rather than Michelangelo. But despite the beauty of the individual figures, Michelangelo has not glorified the human state, and he certainly has not presented the Humanist ideal of platonic love
Platonic love
Platonic love is a chaste and strong type of love that is non-sexual.-Amor Platonicus:The term amor platonicus was coined as early as the 15th century by the Florentine scholar Marsilio Ficino. Platonic love in this original sense of the term is examined in Plato's dialogue the Symposium, which has...

. In fact, the ancestors of Christ, which he painted around the upper section of the wall, demonstrate all the worst aspects of family relationships, displaying disfunction in as many different forms as there are families.

Vasari praised Michelangelo's seemingly infinite powers of invention in creating postures for the figures. Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

, who was given a preview by Bramante after Michelangelo had downed his brush and stormed off to Bologna in a temper, painted at least two figures in imitation of Michelangelo's prophets, one at the church of Sant' Agostino and the other in the Vatican
Apostolic Palace
The Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope, which is located in Vatican City. It is also known as the Sacred Palace, the Papal Palace and the Palace of the Vatican...

, his portrait of Michelangelo himself in The School of Athens
The School of Athens
The School of Athens, or in Italian, is one of the most famous paintings by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted between 1510 and 1511 as a part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms now known as the , in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican...

.

Raphael


With Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 and Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

, Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

's name is synonymous with the High Renaissance. However, he was younger than Michelangelo by 18 years and Leonardo by nearly 30. It cannot be said of him that he greatly advanced the state of painting as his two famous contemporaries did. Rather, his work was the culmination of all the developments of the High Renaissance.

Raphael had the good luck to be born the son of a painter, so his career path, unlike that of Michelangelo who was the son of minor nobility, was decided without a quarrel. Some years after his father's death he worked in the Umbria
Umbria
Umbria is a region of modern central Italy. It is one of the smallest Italian regions and the only peninsular region that is landlocked.Its capital is Perugia.Assisi and Norcia are historical towns associated with St. Francis of Assisi, and St...

n workshop of Perugino, an excellent painter and a superb technician. His first signed and dated painting, executed at the age of 21, is the Betrothal of the Virgin, which immediately reveals its origins in Perugino's Christ giving the Keys to Peter.

Raphael was a carefree character who unashamedly drew on the skills of the renowned painters whose lifespans encompassed his. In his works the individual qualities of numerous different painters are drawn together. The rounded forms and luminous colours of Perugino, the lifelike portraiture of Ghirlandaio, the realism and lighting of Leonardo and the powerful draughtsmanship of Michelangelo became unified in the paintings of Raphael. In his short life he executed a number of large altarpieces, an impressive Classical fresco of the sea nymph, Galatea, outstanding portraits with two popes and a famous writer among them, and, while Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling
Sistine Chapel ceiling
The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, at the commission of Pope Julius II, is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling is that of the large Papal Chapel built within the Vatican between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV after whom it is named...

, a series of wall frescoes in the Vatican chambers nearby, of which the School of Athens is uniquely significant.

This fresco depicts a meeting of all the most learned ancient Athenians, gathered in a grand classical setting around the central figure of Plato
Plato
Plato , was a Classical Greek philosopher, mathematician, student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. Along with his mentor, Socrates, and his student, Aristotle, Plato helped to lay the...

, whom Raphael has famously modelled upon Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

. The brooding figure of Heraclitus
Heraclitus
Heraclitus of Ephesus was a pre-Socratic Greek philosopher, a native of the Greek city Ephesus, Ionia, on the coast of Asia Minor. He was of distinguished parentage. Little is known about his early life and education, but he regarded himself as self-taught and a pioneer of wisdom...

 who sits by a large block of stone, is a portrait of Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

, and is a reference to the latter's painting of the Prophet Jeremiah
Jeremiah
Jeremiah Hebrew:יִרְמְיָה , Modern Hebrew:Yirməyāhū, IPA: jirməˈjaːhu, Tiberian:Yirmĭyahu, Greek:Ἰερεμίας), meaning "Yahweh exalts", or called the "Weeping prophet" was one of the main prophets of the Hebrew Bible...

 in the Sistine Chapel. His own portrait is to the right, beside his teacher, Perugino.

But the main source of Raphael's popularity was not his major works, but his small Florentine pictures of the Madonna and Christ Child. Over and over he painted the same plump calm-faced blonde woman and her succession of chubby babies, the most famous probably being La Belle Jardinière ("The Madonna of the Beautiful Garden"), now in the Louvre
Louvre
The Musée du Louvre – in English, the Louvre Museum or simply the Louvre – is one of the world's largest museums, the most visited art museum in the world and a historic monument. A central landmark of Paris, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the 1st arrondissement...

. His larger work, the Sistine Madonna
Sistine Madonna
Sistine Madonna, also called La Madonna di San Sisto, is an oil painting by the Italian artist Raphael. Finished shortly before his death, ca. 1513–1514, as a commissioned altarpiece, it was the last of the painter's Madonnas and the last painting he completed with his own hands...

, used as a design for countless stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

 windows, has come, in the 21st century, to provide the iconic image of two small cherubs which has been reproduced on everything from paper table napkins to umbrellas.

Giovanni Bellini



Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. His father was Jacopo Bellini, his brother was Gentile Bellini, and his brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna. He is considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it...

 was the exact contemporary of his brother Gentile
Gentile Bellini
Gentile Bellini was an Italian painter. From 1474 he was the official portrait artist for the Doges of Venice.- Biography :...

, his brother-in-law Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son in law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g., by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality...

 and Antonello da Messina
Antonello da Messina
Antonello da Messina, properly Antonello di Giovanni di Antonio was an Italian painter from Messina, Sicily, active during the Italian Renaissance...

. Working most of his life in the studio of his brother, and strongly influenced by the crisp style of Mantegna, he does not appear to have produced an independently signed painting until he was in his late 50s. During the last 30 years of his life he was both extraordinarily productive and influential, having the guidance of both Giorgione
Giorgione
Giorgione was a Venetian painter of the High Renaissance in Venice, whose career was cut off by his death at a little over thirty. Giorgione is known for the elusive poetic quality of his work, though only about six surviving paintings are acknowledged for certain to be his work...

 and Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

.
Bellini, like his much younger contemporary, Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

, produced numerous small Madonnas in rich glowing colour, usually of more intense tonality than his Florentine counterpart. These Madonnas multiplied prolifically as they were reproduced by other members of the large Bellini studio, one tiny picture, The Circumcision of Christ existing in four or five almost identical versions.

Traditionally, in the painting of altarpieces of the Madonna and Child, the enthroned figure of the Virgin is accompanied by saints, who stand in defined spaces, separated physically in the form of a polytych or defined by painted architectural boundaries. Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca
Piero della Francesca was a painter of the Early Renaissance. As testified by Giorgio Vasari in his Lives of the Artists, to contemporaries he was also known as a mathematician and geometer. Nowadays Piero della Francesca is chiefly appreciated for his art. His painting was characterized by its...

 used the Classical niche as a setting for his enthroned Madonnas, as Masaccio
Masaccio
Masaccio , born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was the first great painter of the Quattrocento period of the Italian Renaissance. According to Vasari, Masaccio was the best painter of his generation because of his skill at recreating lifelike figures and movements as well as a convincing sense...

 had used it as the setting for his Holy Trinity
Holy Trinity (Masaccio)
The Holy Trinity, with the Virgin and Saint John and donors is a fresco by the Early Italian Renaissance painter Masaccio. It is located in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella, in Florence.-Description:...

at Santa Maria Novella. Piero grouped saints around the throne, in the architectural space.

Bellini used this same form, known as Sacred conversations, in several of his later altarpieces such as that
San Zaccaria Altarpiece
The San Zaccaria Altarpiece is a painting by the Italian Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini, executed in 1505 and located in the church of San Zaccaria, Venice....

 for the Venetian church of San Zaccaria. It is a masterful composition which extends the real architecture of the building into the illusionistic architecture of the painting, making the niche a sort of loggia
Loggia
Loggia is the name given to an architectural feature, originally of Minoan design. They are often a gallery or corridor at ground level, sometimes higher, on the facade of a building and open to the air on one side, where it is supported by columns or pierced openings in the wall...

 opened up to the landscape and to daylight which streams across the figures of the Virgin and Child, the two female saints and the little angel who plays a viola
Viola
The viola is a bowed string instrument. It is the middle voice of the violin family, between the violin and the cello.- Form :The viola is similar in material and construction to the violin. A full-size viola's body is between and longer than the body of a full-size violin , with an average...

 making them brighter than the two elderly male saints who stand to the fore in the picture, Peter
Saint Peter
Saint Peter or Simon Peter was an early Christian leader, who is featured prominently in the New Testament Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. The son of John or of Jonah and from the village of Bethsaida in the province of Galilee, his brother Andrew was also an apostle...

 deep in thought and Jerome
Saint Jerome
Saint Jerome is a Christian church father, best known for translating the Bible into Latin.Saint Jerome may also refer to:*Jerome of Pavia , Bishop of Pavia...

 immersed in a book.

Giorgione and Titian


Whilst the style of Giorgione
Giorgione
Giorgione was a Venetian painter of the High Renaissance in Venice, whose career was cut off by his death at a little over thirty. Giorgione is known for the elusive poetic quality of his work, though only about six surviving paintings are acknowledged for certain to be his work...

's painting clearly relates to that of his presumed master, Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. His father was Jacopo Bellini, his brother was Gentile Bellini, and his brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna. He is considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it...

, his subject matter makes him one of the most original and abstruse artists of the Renaissance. One of his paintings, of a landscape known as The Tempest, with a semi-naked woman feeding a baby, a clothed man, some classical columns and a flash of lightning, perhaps represents Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve
Adam and Eve were, according to the Genesis creation narratives, the first human couple to inhabit Earth, created by YHWH, the God of the ancient Hebrews...

 in their post-Eden days, or perhaps it does not. Another painting attributed to him and traditionally known as The Three Philosophers
The Three Philosophers
The Three Philosophers is an oil painting on canvas attributed to the Italian High Renaissance artist Giorgione. The work was commissioned by the Venetian noble Taddeo Contarini, a Venetian merchant with an interest for occult and alchemy....

, may represent the Magi
Magi
Magi is a term, used since at least the 4th century BC, to denote a follower of Zoroaster, or rather, a follower of what the Hellenistic world associated Zoroaster with, which...

 planning their journey in search of the infant Christ, but this is not certain either. One thing that appears to be certain is that Giorgione painted a female nude, the very first female nude that stands, or rather, lies, as a subject to be portrayed and admired for beauty alone.


There are no need for Classical references in this painting, although in later nudes Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

, Velazquez
Diego Velázquez
Diego Rodríguez de Silva y Velázquez was a Spanish painter who was the leading artist in the court of King Philip IV. He was an individualistic artist of the contemporary Baroque period, important as a portrait artist...

, Veronese
Paolo Veronese
Paolo Veronese was an Italian painter of the Renaissance in Venice, famous for paintings such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi...

, Rembrandt, Rubens and even Manet
Édouard Manet
Édouard Manet was a French painter. One of the first 19th-century artists to approach modern-life subjects, he was a pivotal figure in the transition from Realism to Impressionism....

 saw fit to add some. They are the artistic heirs of Giorgione's nude.

On his premature death, Titian completed the painting and went on to paint a great more naked women, most frequently, as Botticelli did, disguising them as goddesses and surrounding them with sylvan woods and starry skies to make perfect decoration for the walls of rich clientele. But it was as a painter of portraits that Titian excelled, his longevity allowing him to achieve far more, both in the way of production and in stylistic development than either Giorgione or his Florentine contemporary Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

 were able to. Titian gave the world images of Pietro Aretino
Pietro Aretino
Pietro Aretino was an Italian author, playwright, poet and satirist who wielded immense influence on contemporary art and politics and invented modern literate pornography.- Life :...

 and Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III
Pope Paul III , born Alessandro Farnese, was Pope of the Roman Catholic Church from 1534 to his death in 1549. He came to the papal throne in an era following the sack of Rome in 1527 and rife with uncertainties in the Catholic Church following the Protestant Reformation...

 and many other people of his day, perhaps his most powerful portrait being that of Doge Andrea Gritti
Andrea Gritti
Andrea Gritti was the Doge of Venice from 1523 to 1538, following a distinguished diplomatic and military career.Gritti was born in Bardolino, near Verona. He spent much of his early life in Constantinople as a grain merchant, looking after Venetian interests...

, ruler of Venice, who looms large in the picture space, one huge hand clasping his heavily-buttoned robe in a dynamic Expressionistic
Expressionism
Expressionism was a modernist movement, initially in poetry and painting, originating in Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. Its typical trait is to present the world solely from a subjective perspective, distorting it radically for emotional effect in order to evoke moods or ideas...

 gesture. Titian is also renowned for his religious painting, his last work being a turbulent and abstracted Pietà.

Influence of Italian Renaissance painting


Michelangelo
Michelangelo
Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni , commonly known as Michelangelo, was an Italian Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect, poet, and engineer who exerted an unparalleled influence on the development of Western art...

 and Titian
Titian
Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio Tiziano Vecelli or Tiziano Vecellio (c. 1488/1490 – 27 August 1576 better known as Titian was an Italian painter, the most important member of the 16th-century Venetian school. He was born in Pieve di Cadore, near...

 both lived into the second half of the 16th century. Both saw their styles and those of Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna
Andrea Mantegna was an Italian painter, a student of Roman archeology, and son in law of Jacopo Bellini. Like other artists of the time, Mantegna experimented with perspective, e.g., by lowering the horizon in order to create a sense of greater monumentality...

, Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini was an Italian Renaissance painter, probably the best known of the Bellini family of Venetian painters. His father was Jacopo Bellini, his brother was Gentile Bellini, and his brother-in-law was Andrea Mantegna. He is considered to have revolutionized Venetian painting, moving it...

, Antonello da Messina
Antonello da Messina
Antonello da Messina, properly Antonello di Giovanni di Antonio was an Italian painter from Messina, Sicily, active during the Italian Renaissance...

 and Raphael
Raphael
Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino , better known simply as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form and ease of composition and for its visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur...

  adapted by later painters to form a disparate style known as Mannerism
Mannerism
Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

, and move steadily towards the great outpouring of imagination and painterly virtuosity of the Baroque period.

The artist who most extended the trends in Titian's large figurative compositions is Tintoretto
Tintoretto
Tintoretto , real name Jacopo Comin, was a Venetian painter and a notable exponent of the Renaissance school. For his phenomenal energy in painting he was termed Il Furioso...

, although his personal manner was such that he only lasted nine days as Titian's apprentice. Rembrandt's knowledge of the works of both Titian and Raphael is apparent in his portraits. The direct influences of Leonardo and Raphael upon their own pupils was to effect generations of artists including Poussin
Poussin
Poussin refers to:*Charles Jean de la Vallée-Poussin Belgian mathematician*Charles-Louis-Joseph-Xavier de la Vallée-Poussin Belgian geologist and mineralogist, father of Charles Jean*Nicolas Poussin , French painter...

 and schools of Classical painters of the 18th and 19th centuries. Antonello da Messina's work had a direct influence on Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since...

 and Martin Schongauer
Martin Schongauer
Martin Schongauer was a German engraver and painter. He was the most important German printmaker before Albrecht Dürer....

 and through the latter's engravings, countless artists including the German, Dutch and English schools of stained glass
Stained glass
The term stained glass can refer to coloured glass as a material or to works produced from it. Throughout its thousand-year history, the term has been applied almost exclusively to the windows of churches and other significant buildings...

 makers extending into the early 20th century.

Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling
Sistine Chapel ceiling
The Sistine Chapel ceiling, painted by Michelangelo between 1508 and 1512, at the commission of Pope Julius II, is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling is that of the large Papal Chapel built within the Vatican between 1477 and 1480 by Pope Sixtus IV after whom it is named...

 and later The Last Judgment
The Last Judgment (Michelangelo)
The Last Judgment is a canonical fresco by the Italian Renaissance master Michelangelo executed on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City...

had direct influence on the figurative compositions firstly of Raphael and his pupils and then almost every subsequent 16th century painter who looked for new and interesting ways to depict the human form. It is possible to trace his style of figurative composition through Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto
Andrea del Sarto was an Italian painter from Florence, whose career flourished during the High Renaissance and early Mannerism. Though highly regarded during his lifetime as an artist senza errori , his renown was eclipsed after his death by that of his contemporaries, Leonardo da Vinci,...

, Pontormo
Pontormo
Jacopo Carucci , usually known as Jacopo da Pontormo, Jacopo Pontormo or simply Pontormo, was an Italian Mannerist painter and portraitist from the Florentine school. His work represents a profound stylistic shift from the calm perspectival regularity that characterized the art of the Florentine...

, Bronzino, Parmigianino
Parmigianino
Girolamo Francesco Maria Mazzola , also known as Francesco Mazzola or more commonly as Parmigianino or sometimes "Parmigiano", was an Italian Mannerist painter and printmaker active in Florence, Rome, Bologna, and his native city of Parma...

, Veronese
Paolo Veronese
Paolo Veronese was an Italian painter of the Renaissance in Venice, famous for paintings such as The Wedding at Cana and The Feast in the House of Levi...

, to el Greco
El Greco
El Greco was a painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance. "El Greco" was a nickname, a reference to his ethnic Greek origin, and the artist normally signed his paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, Δομήνικος Θεοτοκόπουλος .El Greco was born on Crete, which was at...

, Carracci, Caravaggio
Caravaggio
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio was an Italian artist active in Rome, Naples, Malta, and Sicily between 1593 and 1610. His paintings, which combine a realistic observation of the human state, both physical and emotional, with a dramatic use of lighting, had a formative influence on the Baroque...

, Rubens
Rubens
Rubens is often used to refer to Peter Paul Rubens , the Flemish artist.Rubens may also refer to:- People :Family name* Paul Rubens Rubens is often used to refer to Peter Paul Rubens (1577-1640), the Flemish artist.Rubens may also refer to:- People :Family name* Paul Rubens (composer) Rubens is...

, Poussin
Poussin
Poussin refers to:*Charles Jean de la Vallée-Poussin Belgian mathematician*Charles-Louis-Joseph-Xavier de la Vallée-Poussin Belgian geologist and mineralogist, father of Charles Jean*Nicolas Poussin , French painter...

 and Tiepolo
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo , also known as Gianbattista or Giambattista Tiepolo, was an Italian painter and printmaker from the Republic of Venice...

 to both the Classical and the Romantic painters of the 19th century such as Jacques Louis David and Delacroix
Eugène Delacroix
Ferdinand Victor Eugène Delacroix was a French Romantic artist regarded from the outset of his career as the leader of the French Romantic school...

.

Under the influence of the Italian Renaissance painting, many modern academies of art, such as the Royal Academy
Royal Academy
The Royal Academy of Arts is an art institution based in Burlington House on Piccadilly, London. The Royal Academy of Arts has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to promote the creation, enjoyment and...

, were founded, and it was specifically to collect the works of the Italian Renaissance that some of the world's best known art collections, such as the National Gallery, London
National Gallery, London
The National Gallery is an art museum on Trafalgar Square, London, United Kingdom. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The gallery is an exempt charity, and a non-departmental public body of the Department for Culture, Media...

, were formed.

See also

  • Thematic development of Italian Renaissance painting
    Thematic development of Italian Renaissance painting
    This article about the development of themes in Italian Renaissance painting is an extension to the article Italian Renaissance painting, for which it provides additional pictures with commentary...

  • Renaissance
    Renaissance
    The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

  • Renaissance architecture
    Renaissance architecture
    Renaissance architecture is the architecture of the period between the early 15th and early 17th centuries in different regions of Europe, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance...

  • Mannerism
    Mannerism
    Mannerism is a period of European art that emerged from the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520. It lasted until about 1580 in Italy, when a more Baroque style began to replace it, but Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century throughout much of Europe...

  • Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects
    Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects
    The Lives of the Most Excellent Italian Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, from Cimabue to Our Times, or Le Vite de' più eccellenti pittori, scultori, e architettori da Cimabue insino a' tempi nostri, as it was originally known in Italian, is a series of artist biographies written by 16th century...

  • Timeline of Italian painters to 1800

General

  • Giorgio Vasari, Lives of the Artists, (1568), 1965 edition, trans George Bull, Penguin, ISBN 0140441646
  • Frederick Hartt, A History of Italian Renaissance Art, (1970) Thames and Hudson, ISBN 0500231362
  • R.E. Wolf and R. Millen, Renaissance and Mannerist Art, (1968) Abrams, ISBN unknown
  • Keith Christiansen, Italian Painting, (1992) Hugh Lauter Levin/Macmillan, ISBN

0883639718
  • Helen Gardner, Art through the Ages, (1970) Harcourt, Brace and World, ISBN 155037628
  • Michael Baxandall, Painting and Experience in Fifteenth Century Italy, (1974) Oxford University Press, ISBN 0198813295
  • Margaret Aston, The Fifteenth Century, the Prospect of Europe, (1979) Thames and Hudson, ISBN 0500330093
  • Ilan Rachum, The Renaissance, an Illustrated Encyclopedia, (1979) Octopus, ISBN 0706408578
  • Diana Davies, Harrap's Illustrated Dictionary of Art and Artists, (1990) Harrap Books, ISBN 0245546928
  • Luciano Berti, Florence: the city and its art, (1971) Scala, ISBN unknown
  • Luciano Berti, The Ufizzi, (1971) Scala, Florence. ISBN unknown
  • Michael Wilson, The National Gallery, London, (1977) Scala, ISBN 0850972574
  • Hugh Ross Williamson, Lorenzo the Magnificent, (1974) Michael Joseph, ISBN 0718112040

Painters

  • John White, Duccio, (1979) Thames and Hudson, ISBN 0500091358
  • Cecilia Jannella, Duccio di Buoninsegna, (1991) Scala/Riverside, ISBN 1878351184
  • Sarel Eimerl, The World of Giotto, (1967) Time/Life, ISBN 0900658150
  • Mgr. Giovanni Foffani, Frescoes by Giusto de' Menabuoi, (1988) G. Deganello, ISBN unknown
  • Ornella Casazza, Masaccio and the Brancacci Chapel, (1990) Scala/Riverside, ISBN 1878351117
  • Annarita Paolieri, Paolo Uccello, Domenico Veneziano, Andrea del Castagno, (1991) Scala/Riverside, ISBN 1878351206
  • Alessandro Angelini, Piero della Francesca, (1985) Scala/Riverside, ISBN 1878351044
  • Peter Murray and Pier Luigi Vecchi, Piero della Francesca, (1967) Penguin, ISBN 0140086471
  • Umberto Baldini, Primavera, (1984) Abrams, ISBN 0810923149
  • Ranieri Varese, Il Palazzo di Schifanoia, (1980) Specimen/Scala, ISBN unknown
  • Angela Ottino della Chiesa, Leonardo da Vinci, (1967) Penguin, ISBN 0140086498
  • Jack Wasserman, Leonardo da Vinci, (1975) Abrams, ISBN 0810902621
  • Massimo Giacometti, The Sistine Chapel, (1986) Harmony Books, ISBN 051756274X
  • Ludwig Goldschieder, Michelangelo, (1962) Phaidon, ISBN unknown
  • Gabriel Bartz and Eberhard König, Michelangelo, (1998) Könemann, ISBN 382900253X
  • David Thompson, Raphael, the Life and Legacy, (1983) BBC, ISBN 0563201495
  • Jean-Pierre Cuzin, Raphael, his Life and Works, (1985) Chartwell, ISBN 0890098417
  • Mariolina Olivari, Giovanni Bellini, (1990) Scala. ISBN unknown
  • Cecil Gould, Titian, (1969) Hamlyn, ISBN unknown