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.
In Italy in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, the sculpture of Nicola Pisano and his son Giovanni Pisano, working at Pisa, Siena and Pistoia shows markedly classicising tendencies, probably influenced by the familiarity of these artists with ancient Roman sarcophagi. Their masterpieces are the pulpits of the Baptistery and Cathedral of Pisa.
Contemporary with Giovanni Pisano, the Florentine painter Giotto developed a manner of figurative painting that was unprecedentedly naturalistic, three-dimensional, lifelike and classicist, when compared with that of his contemporaries and teacher Cimabue. Giotto, whose greatest work is the cycle of the Life of Christ at the Arena Chapel in Padua, was seen by the 16th century biographer Giorgio Vasari as "rescuing and restoring art" from the "crude, traditional, Byzantine style" prevalent in Italy in the 13th century.
The painters of the Low Countries in this period included Jan van Eyck, his brother Hubert van Eyck, Robert Campin, Hans Memling, Rogier van der Weyden and Hugo van der Goes. Their painting developed partly independently of Early Italian Renaissance painting, and without the influence of a deliberate and conscious striving to revive antiquity.
The style of painting grew directly out of medieval painting in tempera, on panels and illuminated manuscripts, and other forms such as stained glass; the medium of fresco was less common in northern Europe. The medium used was oil paint, which had long been utilised for painting leather ceremonial shields and accoutrements, because it was flexible and relatively durable. The earliest Netherlandish oil paintings are meticulous and detailed like tempera paintings. The material lent itself to the depiction of tonal variations and texture, so facilitating the observation of nature in great detail.
The Netherlandish painters did not approach the creation of a picture through a framework of linear perspective and correct proportion. They maintained a medieval view of hierarchical proportion and religious symbolism, while delighting in a realistic treatment of material elements, both natural and man-made. Jan van Eyck, with his brother Hubert, painted The Altarpiece of the Mystical Lamb. It is probable that Antonello da Messina became familiar with Van Eyck's work, while in Naples or Sicily. In 1475, Hugo van der Goes' Portinari Altarpiece arrived in Florence where it was to have a profound influence on many painters, most immediately Domenico Ghirlandaio who painted an altarpiece imitating its elements.
A very significant Netherlandish painter towards the end of the period was Hieronymus Bosch, who employed the type of fanciful forms that were often utilized to decorate borders and letters in illuminated manuscripts, combining plant and animal forms with architectonic ones. When taken from the context of the illumination and peopled with humans, these forms give Bosch's paintings a surreal quality which have no parallel in the work of any other Renaissance painter. His masterpiece is the triptych The Garden of Earthly Delights.
Although both the Pisanos and Giotto had students and followers, the first truly Renaissance artists were not to emerge in Florence until 1401 with the competition to sculpt a set of bronze doors of the Baptistery of Florence Cathedral which drew entries from seven young sculptors including Brunelleschi, Donatello and the winner, Lorenzo Ghiberti. Brunelleschi, most famous as the architect of the dome of Florence Cathedral and the Church of San Lorenzo, created a number of sculptural works, including a lifesized Crucifix in Santa Maria Novella, renowned for its naturalism. His studies of perspective are thought to have influenced the painter Masaccio. Donatello became renowned as the greatest sculptor of the Early Renaissance, his masterpieces being his Humanist and unusually erotic statue of David, one of the icons of the Florentine republic, and his great monument to Gattamelata, the first large equestrian bronze to be created since Roman times.
The contemporary of Donatello, Masaccio, was the painterly descendant of Giotto and began the Early Renaissance in Italian Painting in 1425, furthering the trend towards solidity of form and naturalism of face and gesture that Giotto had begun a century earlier. From 1425-28, Masaccio completed several panel paintings but is best known for the fresco cycle that he began in the Brancacci Chapel with the older artist Masolino and which had profound influence on later painters, including Michelangelo. Masaccio's developments were carried forward in the paintings of Fra Angelico, particularly in his frescos at the Convent of San Marco in Florence.
The treatment of the elements of perspective and light in painting was of particular concern to 15th-century Florentine painters. Uccello was so obsessed with trying to achieve an appearance of perspective that, according to Vasari, it disturbed his sleep. His solutions can be seen in his masterpiece set of three paintings, the Battle of San Romano which is believed to have been completed by 1460. Piero della Francesca made systematic and scientific studies of both light and linear perspective, the results of which can be seen in his fresco cycle of The History of the True Cross in San Francesco, Arezzo.
In Naples, the painter Antonello da Messina began using oil paints for portraits and religious paintings at a date that preceded other Italian painters, possibly about 1450. He carried this technique north and influenced the painters of Venice. One of the most significant painters of Northern Italy was Andrea Mantegna, who decorated the interior of a room, the Camera degli Sposi for his patron Ludovico Gonzaga, setting portraits of the family and court into an illusionistic architectural space.
The end period of the Early Renaissance in Italian art is marked, like its beginning, by a particular commission that drew artists together, this time in cooperation rather than competition. Pope Sixtus IV had rebuilt the Papal Chapel, named the Sistine Chapel in his honour, and commissioned a group of artists, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Cosimo Rosselli to decorate its wall with fresco cycles depicting the Life of Christ and the Life of Moses. In the sixteen large paintings, the artists, although each working in his individual style, agreed on principles of format, and utilised the techniques of lighting, linear and atmospheric perspective, anatomy, foreshortening and characterisation that had been carried to a high point in the large Florentine studios of Ghiberti, Verrocchio, Ghirlandaio and Perugino.
The artists of France, (including duchies such as Burgundy) were often associated with courts, providing illuminated manuscripts and portraits for the nobility as well as devotional paintings and altarpieces. Among the most famous were the Limbourg brothers, Flemish illuminators and creators of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry. Jean Fouquet, painter of the royal court, visited Italy in 1437 and reflects the influence of Florentine painters such as Paolo Uccello. Although best known for his portraits such as that of Charles VII of France Fouquet also created illuminations, and is thought to be the inventor of the portrait miniature. There were a number of artists at this date who painted famed altarpieces, that are stylistically quite distinct from both the Italian and the Flemish. These include two enigmatic figures, Enguerrand Quarton to whom is ascribed the Pieta of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, and Jean Hey, otherwise known as "the Master of Moulins" after his most famous work, the Moulins Altarpiece. In these works realism and close observation of the human figure, emotions and lighting are combined with a Medieval formality, which includes gilt backgrounds.
The "universal genius" Leonardo da Vinci was to further perfect the aspects of pictorial art (lighting, linear and atmospheric perspective, anatomy, foreshortening and characterisation) that had preoccupied artists of the Early Renaissance, in a lifetime of studying and meticulously recording his observations of the natural world. His adoption of oil paint as his primary media meant that he could depict light and its effects on the landscape and objects more naturally and with greater dramatic effect than had ever been done before, as demonstrated in the Mona Lisa. His dissection of cadavers carried forward the understanding of skeletal and muscular anatomy, as seen in the unfinished St Jerome. His depiction of human emotion in The Last Supper, completed 1495-1498, set the benchmark for religious painting.
The art of Leonardo's younger contemporary Michelangelo took a very different direction. Michelangelo, in neither his painting nor his sculpture demonstrates any interest in the observation of any natural object except the human body. He perfected his technique in depicting it, while in his early twenties, by the creation of the enormous marble statue of David and the group the Pieta, in St Peter's Basilica, Rome. He then set about an exploration of the expressive possibilities of the human anatomy. His commission by Pope Julius II to paint the Sistine Chapel ceiling resulted in the supreme masterpiece of figurative composition, which was to have profound effect on every subsequent generation of European artists. His later work, The Last Judgement, painted on the altar wall of the Sistine Chapel between 1534 and 1541 shows a Mannerist (also called Late Renaissance) style with generally elongated bodies which took over from the High Renaissance style between 1520 and 1530.
Standing alongside Leonardo and Michelangelo as the third great painter of the High Renaissance was the younger Raphael, who in a short life span painted a great number of lifelike and engaging portraits, including those of Pope Julius II and his successor Pope Leo X, and numerous portrayals of the Madonna and Christ Child, including the Sistine Madonna. His death in 1520 at age 37 is considered by many art historians to be the end of the High Renaissance period, although some individual artists continued working in the High Renaissance style for many years thereafter.
In Northern Italy the High Renaissance is represented by the latter works of Giovanni Bellini, especially religious paintings, which include several large altarpieces of a type known as "Sacred Conversation" which show a group of saints around the enthroned Madonna. His contemporary Giorgione, who died at about the age of 32 in 1510, left a small number of enigmatic works, including The Tempest, the subject of which has remained a matter of speculation. The earliest works of Titian date from the era of the High Renaissance, including a massive altarpiece The Assumption of the Virgin which combines human action and drama with spectacular colour and atmosphere. Titian continued painting in a generally High Renaissance style until near the end of his career in the 1570s, although he increasingly used colour and light over line to define his figures.
German Renaissance art falls into the broader category of the Renaissance in Northern Europe, also known as the Northern Renaissance. Renaissance influences began to appear in German art in the 15th century, but this trend was not widespread. Gardner's Art Through the Ages identifies Michael Pacher, a painter and sculptor, as the first German artist whose work begins to show Italian Renaissance influences. According to that source, Pacher's painting, St. Wolfgang Forces the Devil to Hold His Prayerbook (c.1481), is Late Gothic in style, but also shows the influence of the Italian artist, Mantegna. Artisans, such as engravers, became more concerned with aesthetics rather than just perfecting their craft. Germany had master engravers, such as Martin Schongauer, who did metal engravings in the late 1400s. Gardner relates this mastery of the graphic arts to advances in printing which occurred in Germany, and says that metal engraving began to replace the woodcut during the Renaissance. However, some artists, such as Albrecht Dürer, continued to do woodcuts. Both Gardner and Russell describe the fine quality of Dürer's woodcuts, with Russell stating, in The World of Dürer, that Dürer "elevated them into high works of art."
In the 1500s, Renaissance art in Germany became more common as, according to Gardner, "The art of northern Europe during the sixteenth century is characterized by a sudden awareness of the advances made by the Italian Renaissance and by a desire to assimilate this new style as rapidly as possible." One of the best known practitioners of German Renaissance art was Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528). Dürer's fascination with classical ideas led him to Italy to study art. Both Gardner and Russell recognized the importance of Durer's contribution to German art in bringing Italian Renaissance styles and ideas to Germany. Russell calls this "Opening the Gothic windows of German art," while Gardner calls it Dürer's "life mission." Importantly, as Gardner points out, Dürer "was the first northern artist who fully understood the basic aims of the southern Renaissance," although his style did not always reflect that. The same source says that Hans Holbein the Younger (1497–1543) successfully assimilated Italian ideas while also keeping "northern traditions of close realism." This is contrasted against Dürer's tendency to work in "his own native German style" instead of combining German and Italian styles. Other important artists of the German Renaissance were Grünewald, Albrecht Altdorfer, and Lucas Cranach the Elder.
Britain was very late to develop a Renaissance style and most artists of the Tudor court were imported foreigners, usually from the Low countries, including Hans Holbein the Younger, who died in England. One exception was the portrait miniature, which artists including Nicholas Hilliard developed into a distinct genre, well before it became popular in the rest of Europe. Renaissance art in Scotland was similarly dependent on imported artists, and largely restricted to the court.
Renaissance artists painted a wide variety of themes. Religious altarpieces, fresco cycles, and small works for private devotion were very popular. For inspiration, painters in both Italy and northern Europe frequently turned to Jacobus de Voragine's Golden Legend (1260), a highly influential source book for the lives of saints that had already had a strong influence on Medieval artists. The rebirth of classical antiquity and Renaissance humanism also resulted in many Mythological and history paintings. Ovidian stories, for example, were very popular. Decorative ornament, often used in painted architectural elements, was especially influenced by classical Roman motifs.
The applied arts are all the arts that apply design and decoration to everyday and essentially practical objects in order to make them aesthetically pleasing. The term is used in distinction to the fine arts, which are those that produce objects with no practical use, whose only purpose is to be beautiful or stimulate the intellect in some way. In practice, the two often overlap. Applied arts largely overlaps with decorative arts, and the modern making of applied art is usually called design.
Example of applied arts are:
Architecture - also counted as a fine art.
Goldsmithing and artistic forms of metalworking - until the Renaissance art in metal was often the most prestigous, but subsequently it has lost ground.
Artistic glass and enamel
The fashion industry
Paper marbling applied to booksArcadia (utopia)
Arcadia (Greek: Αρκάδια) refers to a vision of pastoralism and harmony with nature. The term is derived from the Greek province of the same name which dates to antiquity; the province's mountainous topography and sparse population of pastoralists later caused the word Arcadia to develop into a poetic byword for an idyllic vision of unspoiled wilderness. Arcadia is a poetic shaped space associated with bountiful natural splendor and harmony. The 'Garden' is often inhabited by shepherds. The concept also figures in Renaissance mythology. Although commonly thought of as being in line with Utopian ideals, Arcadia differs from that tradition in that it is more often specifically regarded as unattainable. Furthermore, it is seen as a lost, Edenic form of life, contrasting to the progressive nature of Utopian desires.
The inhabitants were often regarded as having continued to live after the manner of the Golden Age, without the pride and avarice that corrupted other regions. It is also sometimes referred to in English poetry as Arcady. The inhabitants of this region bear an obvious connection to the figure of the noble savage, both being regarded as living close to nature, uncorrupted by civilization, and virtuous.Art of the Low Countries
The art of the Low Countries consists of painting, sculpture, architecture, printmaking, pottery and other forms of visual art produced in the Low Countries, and since the 19th century in Belgium in the southern Netherlands and the Netherlands in the north.
From the late Middle Ages until about 1700 the Low Countries were a leading force in the art of northern Europe, thereafter becoming less important. In the earlier High Middle Ages Mosan art, from an area partly in the Low Countries, had had a similar role.
The art of the Low Countries includes the traditions of Early Netherlandish painting and the Renaissance in the Low Countries, before the political separation of the region. After the separation, a protracted process lasting between 1568 and 1648, Dutch Golden Age painting in the north and Flemish Baroque painting, especially the art of Peter Paul Rubens, were the cornerstones of art.Bengali Renaissance
The Bengali Renaissance or simply Bengal Renaissance, (Bengali: বাংলার নবজাগরণ; Banglār Nobojāgoroṇ) was a cultural, social, intellectual and artistic movement in Bengal region in the eastern part of the Indian subcontinent during the period of the British Indian Empire, from the nineteenth century to the early twentieth century dominated by Bengalis.Historian Nitish Sengupta describes the Bengal Renaissance as taking place from Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1775–1833) through Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941). Nineteenth-century Bengal was a unique blend of religious and social reformers, scholars, literary giants, journalists, patriotic orators and scientists, all merging to form the image of a renaissance, and marked the transition from the 'medieval' to the 'modern'.Cinquecento
The cultural and artistic events of Italy during the period 1500 to 1599 are collectively referred to as the Cinquecento (Italian pronunciation: [ˌtʃiŋkweˈtʃɛnto]), from the Italian for the number 500, in turn from millecinquecento, which is Italian for the year 1500. Cinquecento encompasses the styles and events of the High Italian Renaissance, Mannerism and some early exponents of the Baroque-style.Codex Urbinas
A Treatise on Painting is a collection of Leonardo da Vinci's writings entered in his notebooks under the general heading "On Painting". The manuscripts were gathered together by Francesco Melzi some time before 1542 and first printed in French and Italian as Trattato della pittura by Raffaelo du Fresne in 1651. The main aim of the treatise was to argue that painting was a science. Leonardo's keen observation of expression and character is evidenced in his comparison of laughing and weeping, about which he notes that the only difference between the two emotions in terms of the "motion of the [facial] features" is "the ruffling of the brows, which is added in weeping, but more elevated and extended in laughing."Danube school
The Danube School or Donau School (German: Donauschule or Donaustil) was a circle of painters of the first third of the 16th century in Bavaria and Austria (mainly along the Danube valley). Many were also innovative printmakers, usually in etching. They were among the first painters to regularly use pure landscape painting, and their figures, influenced by Matthias Grünewald, are often highly expressive, if not expressionist. They show little Italian influence and represent a decisive break with the high finish of Northern Renaissance painting, using a more painterly style that was in many ways ahead of its time. According to Alfred Stange, Albrecht Altdorfer and Wolfgang Huber were two of the central most figures within the Danube School. Altdofer was the artist that created most of the artworks associated with the Danube School. The term "Danube School was most likely not what these groups of artist called themselves but a name that derived hundreds of years after a man by the name of Theodore von Frimmel was observing a painting in 1892 in the Danube region around Regensburg, Germany. When artist Lucas Cranach's art work was recognized to have stylistic elements of the "Danube" the name "The Danube School" began to take a deeper meaning. "The river valleys of Austria and western Bavaria have often been praised as the land of the 'Beautiful Danube' and not in just song but in the pictorial arts as well." (Snyder, James)Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting
Dutch and Flemish Renaissance painting represents the 16th-century response to Italian Renaissance art in the Low Countries. These artists, who span from the Antwerp Mannerists and Hieronymus Bosch at the start of the 16th century to the late Northern Mannerists such as Hendrik Goltzius and Joachim Wtewael at the end, drew on both the recent innovations of Italian painting and the local traditions of the Early Netherlandish artists. Antwerp was the most important artistic centre in the region. Many artists worked for European courts, including Bosch, whose fantastic painted images left a long legacy. Jan Mabuse, Maarten van Heemskerck and Frans Floris were all instrumental in adopting Italian models and incorporating them into their own artistic language. Pieter Brueghel the Elder, with Bosch the only artist from the period to remain widely familiar, may seem atypical, but in fact his many innovations drew on the fertile artistic scene in Antwerp.
Dutch and Flemish painters were also instrumental in establishing new subjects such as landscape painting and genre painting. Joachim Patinir, for example, played an important role in developing landscape painting, inventing the compositional type of the world landscape, which was perfected by Pieter Bruegel the Elder who, followed by Pieter Aertsen, also helped popularise genre painting. From the mid-century Pieter Aertsen, later followed by his nephew Joachim Beuckelaer, established a type of "monumental still life" featuring large spreads of food with genre figures, and in the background small religious of moral scenes. Like the world landscapes, these represented a typically "Mannerist inversion" of the normal decorum of the hierarchy of genres, giving the "lower" subject matter more space than the "higher". Anthonis Mor was the leading portraitist of the mid-century, in demand in courts all over Europe for his reliable portraits in a style that combined Netherlandish precision with the lessons of Titian and other Italian painters.Engineering an Empire
Engineering an Empire is a program on The History Channel that explores the engineering and/or architectural feats that were characteristic of some of the greatest societies on this planet. It is hosted by Peter Weller, famous for his acting role as RoboCop but also a lecturer at Syracuse University, where he completed his Master's in Roman and Renaissance Art. The executive producer is Delores Gavin. The show started as a documentary about the engineering feats of Ancient Rome and later evolved into a series. It originally ran for one full season of weekly episodes.Genre painting
Genre painting, also called petit genre, depicts aspects of everyday life by portraying ordinary people engaged in common activities. One common definition of a genre scene is that it shows figures to whom no identity can be attached either individually or collectively—thus distinguishing petit genre from history paintings (also called grand genre) and portraits. A work would often be considered as a genre work even if it could be shown that the artist had used a known person—a member of his family, say—as a model. In this case it would depend on whether the work was likely to have been intended by the artist to be perceived as a portrait—sometimes a subjective question. The depictions can be realistic, imagined, or romanticized by the artist. Because of their familiar and frequently sentimental subject matter, genre paintings have often proven popular with the bourgeoisie, or middle class.
Genre subjects appear in many traditions of art. Painted decorations in ancient Egyptian tombs often depict banquets, recreation, and agrarian scenes, and Peiraikos is mentioned by Pliny the Elder as a Hellenistic panel painter of "low" subjects, such as survive in mosaic versions and provincial wall-paintings at Pompeii: "barbers' shops, cobblers' stalls, asses, eatables and similar subjects". Medieval illuminated manuscripts often illustrated scenes of everyday peasant life, especially in the Labours of the Months in the calendar section of books of hours, most famously the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.Grisaille
A grisaille ( or ; French: gris [ɡʁizaj] 'grey') is a painting executed entirely in shades of grey or of another neutral greyish colour. It is particularly used in large decorative schemes in imitation of sculpture. Many grisailles include a slightly wider colour range, like the Andrea del Sarto fresco illustrated. Paintings executed in brown are referred to as brunaille, and paintings executed in green are called verdaille.A grisaille may be executed for its own sake, as underpainting for an oil painting (in preparation for glazing layers of colour over it), or as a model for an engraver to work from. "Rubens and his school sometimes use monochrome techniques in sketching compositions for engravers." Full colouring of a subject makes many more demands of an artist, and working in grisaille was often chosen as being quicker and cheaper, although the effect was sometimes deliberately chosen for aesthetic reasons. Grisaille paintings resemble the drawings, normally in monochrome, that artists from the Renaissance on were trained to produce; like drawings they can also betray the hand of a less talented assistant more easily than a fully coloured painting.High Renaissance
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.Northern Renaissance
The Northern Renaissance was the Renaissance that occurred in Europe north of the Alps. Before 1497, Italian Renaissance humanism had little influence outside Italy. From the late 15th century, its ideas spread around Europe. This influenced the German Renaissance, French Renaissance, English Renaissance, Renaissance in the Low Countries, Polish Renaissance and other national and localized movements, each with different characteristics and strengths.
In France, King Francis I imported Italian art, commissioned Italian artists (including Leonardo da Vinci), and built grand palaces at great expense, starting the French Renaissance. Trade and commerce in cities like Bruges in the 15th century and Antwerp in the 16th increased cultural exchange between Italy and the Low Countries, however in art, and especially architecture, late Gothic influences remained present until the arrival of Baroque even as painters increasingly drew on Italian models.Universities and the printed book helped spread the spirit of the age through France, the Low Countries and the Holy Roman Empire, and then to Scandinavia and finally Britain by the late 16th century. Writers and humanists such as Rabelais, Pierre de Ronsard and Desiderius Erasmus were greatly influenced by the Italian Renaissance model and were part of the same intellectual movement. During the English Renaissance (which overlapped with the Elizabethan era) writers such as William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe composed works of lasting influence. The Renaissance was brought to Poland directly from Italy by artists from Florence and the Low Countries, starting the Polish Renaissance.
In some areas the Northern Renaissance was distinct from the Italian Renaissance in its centralization of political power. While Italy and Germany were dominated by independent city-states, most of Europe began emerging as nation-states or even unions of countries. The Northern Renaissance was also closely linked to the Protestant Reformation with the resulting long series of internal and external conflicts between various Protestant groups and the Roman Catholic Church having lasting effects.Oil painting
Oil painting is the process of painting with pigments with a medium of drying oil as the binder. Commonly used drying oils include linseed oil, poppy seed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil. The choice of oil imparts a range of properties to the oil paint, such as the amount of yellowing or drying time. Certain differences, depending on the oil, are also visible in the sheen of the paints. An artist might use several different oils in the same painting depending on specific pigments and effects desired. The paints themselves also develop a particular consistency depending on the medium. The oil may be boiled with a resin, such as pine resin or frankincense, to create a varnish prized for its body and gloss.
Although oil paint was first used for Buddhist paintings by painters in central and western Afghanistan sometime between the fifth and tenth centuries, it did not gain popularity until the 15th century. Its practice may have migrated westward during the Middle Ages. Oil paint eventually became the principal medium used for creating artworks as its advantages became widely known. The transition began with Early Netherlandish painting in Northern Europe, and by the height of the Renaissance oil painting techniques had almost completely replaced the use of tempera paints in the majority of Europe.
In recent years, water miscible oil paint has become available. Water-soluble paints are either engineered or an emulsifier has been added that allows them to be thinned with water rather than paint thinner, and allows, when sufficiently diluted, very fast drying times (1–3 days) when compared with traditional oils (1–3 weeks).Putto
A putto (Italian: [ˈputto]; plural putti [ˈputti]) is a figure in a work of art depicted as a chubby male child, usually naked and sometimes winged. Originally limited to profane passions in symbolism, the putto came to represent the sacred cherub (plural cherubs) (plural cherubim); and in the Baroque period of art, the putto came to represent the omnipresence of God. A putto representing a cupid is also called an amorino (plural amorini) or amoretto (plural amoretti).Quattrocento
The cultural and artistic events of Italy during the period 1400 to 1499 are collectively referred to as the Quattrocento (Italian pronunciation: [ˌkwattroˈtʃɛnto]) from the Italian for the number 400, in turn from millequattrocento, which is Italian for the year 1400. The Quattrocento encompasses the artistic styles of the late Middle Ages (most notably International Gothic), the early Renaissance (beginning around 1425), and the start of the High Renaissance, generally asserted to begin between 1495 and 1500.Raphael Rooms
The four Raphael Rooms (Italian: Stanze di Raffaello) form a suite of reception rooms in the palace, the public part of the papal apartments in the Palace of the Vatican. They are famous for their frescoes, painted by Raphael and his workshop. Together with Michelangelo's ceiling frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, they are the grand fresco sequences that mark the High Renaissance in Rome.
The Stanze, as they are commonly called, were originally intended as a suite of apartments for Pope Julius II. He commissioned Raphael, then a relatively young artist from Urbino, and his studio in 1508 or 1509 to redecorate the existing interiors of the rooms entirely. It was possibly Julius' intent to outshine the apartments of his predecessor (and rival) Pope Alexander VI, as the Stanze are directly above Alexander's Borgia Apartment. They are on the third floor, overlooking the south side of the Belvedere Courtyard.
Running from east to west, as a visitor would have entered the apartment, but not following the sequence in which the Stanze were frescoed, the rooms are the Sala di Costantino ("Hall of Constantine"), the Stanza di Eliodoro ("Room of Heliodorus"), the Stanza della Segnatura ("Room of the Signatura") and the Stanza dell'Incendio del Borgo ("The Room of the Fire in the Borgo").
After the death of Julius in 1513, with two rooms frescoed, Pope Leo X continued the program. Following Raphael's death in 1520, his assistants Gianfrancesco Penni, Giulio Romano and Raffaellino del Colle finished the project with the frescoes in the Sala di Costantino.Trecento
The Trecento (Italian pronunciation: [treˈtʃɛnto]; Italian for 300, short for "mille trecento," 1300) refers to the 14th century in Italian cultural history.Vitruvian Man
The Vitruvian Man (Italian: Le proporzioni del corpo umano secondo Vitruvio, which is translated to "The proportions of the human body according to Vitruvius"), or simply L'Uomo Vitruviano (Italian pronunciation: [ˈlwɔːmo vitruˈvjaːno]), is a drawing made by the Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci around 1490. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the architect Vitruvius. The drawing, which is in ink on paper, depicts a man in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man. It is kept in the Gabinetto dei disegni e stampe of the Gallerie dell'Accademia, in Venice, Italy, under reference 228. Like most works on paper, it is displayed to the public only occasionally, so it is not part of the normal exhibition of the museum.The drawing is based on the correlations of ideal human body proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise De architectura. Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the classical orders of architecture. Vitruvius determined that the ideal body should be eight heads high. Leonardo's drawing is traditionally named in honor of the architect.