In art history, the High Renaissance is a short period of the most exceptional artistic production in the Italian states, particularly Rome, capital of the Papal States, and in Florence, during the Italian Renaissance. Most art historians state that the High Renaissance started around 1495 or 1500 and ended in 1520 with the death of Raphael, although some say the High Renaissance ended about 1525, or in 1527 with the Sack of Rome by the army of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, or about 1530 (see next section for specific art historians’ positions). The best-known exponents of painting, sculpture and architecture of the High Renaissance include Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Bramante. In recent years, the use of the term has been frequently criticized by some academic art historians for oversimplifying artistic developments, ignoring historical context, and focusing only on a few iconic works.
The term "High Renaissance" was first used by Jacob Burckhardt in German (Hochrenaissance) in 1855 and has its origins in the "High Style" of painting and sculpture of the time period around the early 16th century described by Johann Joachim Winckelmann in 1764. Extending the general rubric of Renaissance culture, the visual arts of the High Renaissance were marked by a renewed emphasis upon the classical tradition, the expansion of networks of patronage, and a gradual attenuation of figural forms into the style later termed Mannerism.
Alexander Raunch in "The Art of the High Renaissance and Mannerism in Rome and Central Italy", 2007, states the High Renaissance began in 1490, while Marilyn Stokstad in Art History, 2008, states it began in the 1490s. Frederick Hartt states that da Vinci's the Last Supper, the painting of which began in 1495 and concluded in 1498, makes a complete break with the Early Renaissance and created the world in which Michelangelo and Raphael worked while Christoph Luitpold Frommel, in his 2012 article "Bramante and the Origins of the High Renaissance," states the Last Supper is the first High Renaissance work but adds that the peak period of the High Renaissance was actually 1505 to 1513. David Piper in The Illustrated History of Art, 1991, also cites the Last Supper writing the work announced the High Renaissance and was one of the most influential paintings of the High Renaissance, but contradictorily states that the High Renaissance began just after 1500. Burchkardt stated the High Renaissance started at the close of the 15th century, while Franz Kugler, who wrote the first "modern" survey text, Handbook of Art History in 1841, and Hugh Honour and John Fleming in The Visual Arts: A History, 2009, state the High Renaissance started at the beginning of the 16th century. Another seminal work of art which was created in the 1495-1500 timeframe was Michelangelo's the Pietà, housed in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, which was executed in 1498-99.
In contrast to most of the other art historians, Manfred Wurdram, in Masterpieces of Western Art, 2007, actually states that the dawn of the High Renaissance was heralded by da Vinci's Adoration of the Magi of 1481, for which only the underpainting was completed.
As far as the end of the High Renaissance is concerned Hartt, Frommel, Piper, Wundrum and Winkelman all state that the High Renaissance ended in 1520 with the death of Raphael. Honour and Fleming stated the High Renaissance was the first quarter of the 16th century meaning it would have ended in 1525. By contrast, Luigi Lanzi, in his History of Italian Painting, 1795–96, stated it ended with the Sack of Rome in 1527. when several artists were killed and many other dispersed from Rome, and Stokstad agrees. Raunch asserts that 1530 has been considered to be the end of the High Renaissance. Hartt adds that 1520 to 1530 was a transition period between the High Renaissance and Mannerism.
High Renaissance style in architecture conventionally begins with Donato Bramante, whose Tempietto at S. Pietro in Montorio at Rome was begun in 1510. The Tempietto, signifies a full-scale revival of ancient Roman commemorative architecture. David Watkin writes that the Tempietto, like Raphael's works in the Vatican (1509–11), "is an attempt at reconciling Christian and humanist ideals".
The High Renaissance of painting was the culmination of the varied means of expression and various advances in painting technique, such as linear perspective, the realistic depiction of both physical and psychological features, and the manipulation of light and darkness, including tone contrast, sfumato (softening the transition between colours) and chiaroscuro (contrast between light and dark), in a single unifying style which expressed total compositional order, balance and harmony. In particular, the individual parts of the painting had a complex but balanced and well-knit relationship to the whole. Painting of the High Renaissance is considered to be the absolute zenith of western painting and achieved the balancing and reconciliation, in harmony, of contradictory and seemingly mutually exclusive artistic positions, such as real versus ideal, movement versus rest, freedom versus law, space versus plane, and line versus colour. The High Renaissance was traditionally viewed as a great explosion of creative genius, following a model of art history first proposed by the Florentine Giorgio Vasari.
The paintings in the Vatican by Michelangelo and Raphael are said by some scholars such as Stephen Freedberg to represent the culmination of High Renaissance style in painting, because of the ambitious scale of these works, coupled with the complexity of their composition, closely observed human figures, and pointed iconographic and decorative references to classical antiquity, can be viewed as emblematic of the High Renaissance.
Even relatively minor painters of the period, such as Fra Bartolomeo and Mariotto Albertinelli, produced works that are still lauded for the harmony of their design and their technique. The elongated proportions and exaggerated poses in the late works of Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto and Correggio prefigure so-called Mannerism, as the style of the later Renaissance is referred to in art history.
The serene mood and luminous colours of paintings by Giorgione and early Titian exemplify High Renaissance style as practiced in Venice. Other recognizable pieces of this period include Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa and Raphael's The School of Athens. Raphael's fresco, set beneath an arch, is a virtuoso work of perspective, composition and disegno.
In more recent years, art historians have characterised the High Renaissance as a movement as opposed to a period, one amongst several different experimental attitudes towards art in the late fifteenth and early sixteenth century. This movement is variously characterised as conservative; as reflecting new attitudes towards beauty; a deliberate process of synthesising eclectic models, linked to fashions in literary culture; and reflecting new preoccupations with interpretation and meaning .
High Renaissance sculpture, as exemplified by Michelangelo's Pietà and the iconic David, is characterized by an "ideal" balance between stillness and movement. High Renaissance sculpture was normally commissioned by the public and the state, this becoming more popular for sculpture is an expensive art form. Sculpture was often used to decorate or embellish architecture, normally within courtyards where others were able to study and admire the commissioned art work. Wealthy individuals like cardinals, rulers and bankers were the more likely private patrons along with very wealthy families; Pope Julius II also patronized many artists. During the High Renaissance there was the development of small scale statuettes for private patrons, the creation of busts and tombs also developing. The subject matter related to sculpture was mostly religious but also with a significant strand of classical individuals in the form of tomb sculpture and paintings as well as ceilings of cathedrals.
The Baronci Altarpiece was a painting by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael. His first recorded commission, it was made for Andrea Baronci's chapel in the church of Sant'Agostino in Città di Castello, near Urbino. The altarpiece was seriously damaged during an earthquake in 1789, and since 1849 fragments of the original painting have been part of different collections.Baroque painting
Baroque painting is the painting associated with the Baroque cultural movement. The movement is often identified with Absolutism, the Counter Reformation and Catholic Revival, but the existence of important Baroque art and architecture in non-absolutist and Protestant states throughout Western Europe underscores its widespread popularity.Baroque painting encompasses a great range of styles, as most important and major painting during the period beginning around 1600 and continuing throughout the 17th century, and into the early 18th century is identified today as Baroque painting. In its most typical manifestations, Baroque art is characterized by great drama, rich, deep colour, and intense light and dark shadows, but the classicism of French Baroque painters like Poussin and Dutch genre painters such as Vermeer are also covered by the term, at least in English. As opposed to Renaissance art, which usually showed the moment before an event took place, Baroque artists chose the most dramatic point, the moment when the action was occurring: Michelangelo, working in the High Renaissance, shows his David composed and still before he battles Goliath; Bernini's Baroque David is caught in the act of hurling the stone at the giant. Baroque art was meant to evoke emotion and passion instead of the calm rationality that had been prized during the Renaissance.
Among the greatest painters of the Baroque period are Velázquez, Caravaggio, Rembrandt, Rubens, Poussin, and Vermeer. Caravaggio is an heir of the humanist painting of the High Renaissance. His realistic approach to the human figure, painted directly from life and dramatically spotlit against a dark background, shocked his contemporaries and opened a new chapter in the history of painting. Baroque painting often dramatizes scenes using chiaroscuro light effects; this can be seen in works by Rembrandt, Vermeer, Le Nain and La Tour.
The Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck developed a graceful but imposing portrait style that was very influential, especially in England.
The prosperity of 17th century Holland led to an enormous production of art by large numbers of painters who were mostly highly specialized and painted only genre scenes, landscapes, still lifes, portraits or history paintings. Technical standards were very high, and Dutch Golden Age painting established a new repertoire of subjects that was very influential until the arrival of Modernism.Boston College High School
Boston College High School (also known as BC High) is an all-male, Jesuit, Roman Catholic, college preparatory secondary school founded in 1863 with historical ties to Boston College. It has an enrollment in grades 7-12 of approximately 1,600 students and is located on a 40-acre (160,000 m2) campus on Morrissey Boulevard in the Dorchester section of Boston, Massachusetts, United States.Donato Bramante
Donato Bramante (1444 – 11 April 1514), born as Donato di Pascuccio d'Antonio and also known as Bramante Lazzari, was an Italian architect. He introduced Renaissance architecture to Milan and the High Renaissance style to Rome, where his plan for St. Peter's Basilica formed the basis of design executed by Michelangelo. His Tempietto (San Pietro in Montorio) marked the beginning of the High Renaissance in Rome (1502) when Pope Julius II appointed him to build a sanctuary over the spot where Peter was allegedly crucified.Italian Renaissance painting
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 in the Italian peninsula, which was at that time divided into many political states, some independent but others controlled by external powers. 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 artistic and philosophical ideas.The city of Florence in Tuscany is renowned as the birthplace of the Renaissance, and in particular of Renaissance painting, although later in the era Rome and Venice assumed increasing importance in painting. A detailed background is given in the companion articles Renaissance and Renaissance architecture.
Italian Renaissance painting is most often be divided into four periods: the Proto-Renaissance (1300–1425), the Early Renaissance (1425–1495), the High Renaissance (1495–1520), and Mannerism (1520–1600). The dates for these periods represent the overall trend in Italian painting and do not cover all painters as the lives of individual artists and their personal styles overlapped these periods.
The Proto-Renaissance begins with the professional life of the painter Giotto and includes Taddeo Gaddi, Orcagna and Altichiero.
The Early Renaissance style was started by Masaccio and then further developed by Fra Angelico, Paolo Uccello, Piero della Francesca, Sandro Botticelli, Verrocchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Giovanni Bellini. The High Renaissance period was that of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Coreggio, Giorgione, the latter works of Giovanni Bellini, and Titian. The Mannerist period, dealt with in a separate article, included the latter works of Michelangelo, as well as Pontormo, Parmigianino, Bronzino and Tintoretto.La belle jardinière
La Belle Jardinière, also known as Madonna and Child with Saint John the Baptist, is a painting started by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael and finished by Ridolfo del Ghirlandaio that depicts the Madonna, a young Christ, and a young John the Baptist. It is believed to have been commissioned by the Sienese patrician Fabrizio Sergardi in approximately 1507-1508. It is currently displayed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.Madonna and Child with the Book
The Madonna and Child is a painting finished c. 1503 by the Italian High Renaissance painter Raphael. It is housed in the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena, California.Mannerism
Mannerism, also known as Late Renaissance, is a style in European art that emerged in the later years of the Italian High Renaissance around 1520, spreading by about 1530 and lasting until about the end of the 16th century in Italy, when the Baroque style largely replaced it. Northern Mannerism continued into the early 17th century.Stylistically, Mannerism encompasses a variety of approaches influenced by, and reacting to, the harmonious ideals associated with artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and early Michelangelo. Where High Renaissance art emphasizes proportion, balance, and ideal beauty, Mannerism exaggerates such qualities, often resulting in compositions that are asymmetrical or unnaturally elegant. The style is notable for its intellectual sophistication as well as its artificial (as opposed to naturalistic) qualities. This artistic style privileges compositional tension and instability rather than the balance and clarity of earlier Renaissance painting. Mannerism in literature and music is notable for its highly florid style and intellectual sophistication.The definition of Mannerism and the phases within it continue to be a subject of debate among art historians. For example, some scholars have applied the label to certain early modern forms of literature (especially poetry) and music of the 16th and 17th centuries. The term is also used to refer to some late Gothic painters working in northern Europe from about 1500 to 1530, especially the Antwerp Mannerists—a group unrelated to the Italian movement. Mannerism has also been applied by analogy to the Silver Age of Latin literature.Old Master
In art history, "Old Master" (or "old master") refers to any painter of skill who worked in Europe before about 1800, or a painting by such an artist. An "old master print" is an original print (for example an engraving or etching) made by an artist in the same period. The term "old master drawing" is used in the same way.
In theory, "Old Master" applies only to artists who were fully trained, were Masters of their local artists' guild, and worked independently, but in practice, paintings produced by pupils or workshops are often included in the scope of the term. Therefore, beyond a certain level of competence, date rather than quality is the criterion for using the term.Renaissance architecture
Renaissance architecture is the European architecture of the period between the early 14th and early 16th centuries in different regions, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance architecture followed Gothic architecture and was succeeded by Baroque architecture. Developed first in Florence, with Filippo Brunelleschi as one of its innovators, the Renaissance style quickly spread to other Italian cities. In particular Venetian Renaissance architecture had a very distinct character. The style was carried to France, Germany, England, Russia and other parts of Europe at different dates and with varying degrees of impact.
Renaissance style places emphasis on symmetry, proportion, geometry and the regularity of parts, as they are demonstrated in the architecture of classical antiquity and in particular ancient Roman architecture, of which many examples remained. Orderly arrangements of columns, pilasters and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches, hemispherical domes, niches and aedicula replaced the more complex proportional systems and irregular profiles of medieval buildings.Renaissance art
Renaissance art is the painting, sculpture and decorative arts of the period of European history, emerging as a distinct style in Italy in about 1400, in parallel with developments which occurred in philosophy, literature, music, and science. Renaissance art, perceived as the noblest of ancient traditions, took as its foundation the art of Classical antiquity, but transformed that tradition by absorbing recent developments in the art of Northern Europe and by applying contemporary scientific knowledge. Renaissance art, with Renaissance Humanist philosophy, spread throughout Europe, affecting both artists and their patrons with the development of new techniques and new artistic sensibilities. Renaissance art marks the transition of Europe from the medieval period to the Early Modern age.
In many parts of Europe, Early Renaissance art was created in parallel with Late Medieval art.
Renaissance art, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and literature produced during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries in Europe under the combined influences of an increased awareness of nature, a revival of classical learning, and a more individualistic view of man. Scholars no longer believe that the Renaissance marked an abrupt break with medieval values, as is suggested by the French word renaissance, literally “rebirth.” Rather, historical sources suggest that interest in nature, humanistic learning, and individualism were already present in the late medieval period and became dominant in 15th- and 16th-century Italy concurrently with social and economic changes such as the secularization of daily life, the rise of a rational money-credit economy, and greatly increased social mobility.
The influences upon the development of Renaissance men and women in the early 15th century are those that also affected Philosophy, Literature, Architecture, Theology, Science, Government, and other aspects of society. The following list presents a summary, dealt with more fully in the main articles that are cited above.
Classical texts, lost to European scholars for centuries, became available. These included Philosophy, Prose, Poetry, Drama, Science, a thesis on the Arts, and Early Christian Theology.
Simultaneously, Europe gained access to advanced mathematics which had its provenance in the works of Islamic scholars.
The advent of movable type 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 establishment of the Medici Bank and the subsequent trade it generated brought unprecedented wealth to a single Italian city, Florence.
Cosimo de' Medici set a new standard for patronage of the arts, not associated with the church or monarchy.
Humanist 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 remains by the architect Brunelleschi and sculptor Donatello. The revival of a style of architecture based on classical precedents inspired a corresponding classicism in painting and sculpture, which manifested itself as early as the 1420s in the paintings of Masaccio and Uccello.
The improvement of oil paint and developments in oil-painting technique by Dutch artists such as Robert Campin, Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and Hugo van der Goes led to its adoption in Italy from about 1475 and had ultimately lasting effects on painting practices, worldwide.
The serendipitous presence within the region of Florence in the early 15th century of certain individuals of artistic genius, most notably Masaccio, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Piero della Francesca, Donatello and Michelozzo formed an ethos out of which sprang the great masters of the High Renaissance, as well as supporting and encouraging many lesser artists to achieve work of extraordinary quality.
A similar heritage of artistic achievement occurred in Venice through the talented Bellini family, their influential in-law Mantegna, Giorgione, Titian and Tintoretto.
The publication of two treatises by Leone Battista Alberti, De Pitura (On Painting), 1435, and De re aedificatoria (Ten Books on Architecture), 1452.Roholte Church
Roholte Church (Danish: Roholte Kirke) is a church located in the village of Roholte, between Faxe and Præstø in Roholte Parish, Faxe Municipality, Region Zealand, Denmark. From 1441 to 1677, the church belonged to the king. In 1737, it became the property of Otto Thott. It remained in the Thott family until 1953.
The original architecture is in the Late Gothic style, with additions in 1500 and renovations in 1884. The interior is a mix of Gothic and High Renaissance styles. The crucifix once had an inscription, now lost, that was among the oldest of its kind.Self-Portrait with a Friend
The Self-Portrait with a friend (also known as Double Portrait) is a painting by Italian High Renaissance painter Raphael. It dates to 1518–1520, and is in the Louvre Museum of Paris, France. Whether the figure on the left is actually a self-portrait by Raphael is uncertain, although it was already identified as such in a 16th-century print.Sfumato
Sfumato (Italian: [sfuˈmaːto], English: ) is a painting technique for softening the transition between colours, mimicking an area beyond what the human eye is focusing on, or the out-of-focus plane. Leonardo da Vinci was the most prominent practitioner of sfumato, based on his research in optics and human vision, and his experimentation with the camera obscura. He used it in many works, including the Virgin of the Rocks and in his famous painting of the Mona Lisa. He described sfumato as "without lines or borders, in the manner of smoke or beyond the focus plane".According to the theory of the art historian Marcia B. Hall, which has gained considerable acceptance, sfumato is one of four modes of painting colours available to Italian High Renaissance painters, along with cangiante, chiaroscuro and unione.Small Cowper Madonna
The Small Cowper Madonna is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael, depicting Mary and Child, in a typical Italian countryside. It has been dated to around 1505, the middle of the High Renaissance.St. John the Baptist (Leonardo)
St. John the Baptist is a High Renaissance oil painting on walnut wood by Leonardo da Vinci. Probably completed from 1513 to 1516, it is believed to be his final painting. The original size of the painting was 69 x 57 cm. It is now exhibited at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, France.St. Michael Vanquishing Satan
St. Michael Vanquishing Satan is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael.
It is a large-scale and mature version of a subject he had earlier treated in the youthful miniature called St. Michael. Both works are located in the Louvre in Paris.St. Sebastian (Raphael)
St. Sebastian is a painting by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael, c. 1501-1502. Part of his early works, it is housed in the Accademia Carrara of Bergamo, Italy.Tempi Madonna (Raphael)
The Tempi Madonna is an oil painting by the Italian High Renaissance painter Raphael. Painted for the Tempi family, it was bought by Ludwig I of Bavaria in 1829. It is housed in the Alte Pinakothek in Munich. It is thought to have been made in 1508, at the end of the artist's Florentine period.