Renaissance Art Movement

Italy 1400 - 1600

Renaissance Art Movement, History, Renaissance Paintings & Artists.

The Renaissance art movement has many sub-categories, broken into Early Renaissance, Northern Renaissance, High Renaissance art. It all started in Italy, the large number of artistic centers in Italy during the fifteenth century was unmatched by any other country, during this period Italy boasted five major states, Milan, Florence, Rome, Venice, and Naples, as well as other smaller ones. The lords of the smaller towns and the dynasties that established themselves in the larger cities all vied for prestige through wide-ranging artistic and cultural initiatives. The phenomenon peaked during the second half of the century, when many courts developed their own artistic schools, thanks to the constant exchange of artists from other cities. In Urbino, the leading artist, Piero Della Francesca, his work achieved a consummate balance between the laws of geometry and a serene, monumental tone. In Ferrara, an international group of famous artists could be found, including Rogier van der Weyden who spent time there. In Mantua, Andrea Mantegna, a court painter, single-handed transformed the small Lombard court into a groundbreaking workshop of Renaissance painting over a period of fifty years. Mantegna succeeded in changing the artistic style of the court, from the ornate fantasy of late Gothic to humanism, which emphasized archaeology and perspective in the oil paintings.

The Early Renaissance.

At the end of the fifteenth century, the Venetian Republic came into possession of Cyprus, which marked the height of its territorial expansion. During this period it was one of the great powers of the Mediterranean and a leader in political and commercial organizations. Until the middle of the century, the art of Venice drew inspiration from Byzantine models, such as mosaics in the St. Marks Basilica, and the fanciful form of the ornate Gothic style, but an original renewal in painting, led by Giovanni Bellini, soon transformed the Venetian School. This new style is characterized by a use of atmospheric effects, where light, color, and the details of landscape blend, and outlines are only defined. Thanks to the unparalleled generation of Giorgione, Lotto, Titian, and Sebastiano del Piombo, Venetian painting perfected the pictorial technique of tonal color (sfumato). With this technique, the paint was applied in thin, superimposed layers to create the soft diffused effect of color blending with natural atmosphere. The Schools (corporations with thousands of members) played a major role in the development of Venetian painting, by commissioning entire cycles of large narrative canvases depicting scenes from the lives of patron saints.


The word Renaissance signifies “rebirth”. Following the Dark and Middle Ages and their related turmoil and stagnation, not to mention the Black Death, Europe encountered a rebirth of sorts with a rediscovery of math, philosophy, astrology, astronomy, science, and literature. A restored energy for learning and for human accomplishment led to the influence of all these new studies in the development of greater art.

How to easily identify Renaissance art movement paintings.

1. 3-D at last: Artists utilized a mix of exact and believable proportions and spaces to create, without precedent for the first time in the history of art.

2. Look for geometric divisions of floors or ceilings: The geometric pattern in a painting accomplishes more than giving the illusion of deep space, it's likewise the reference point for the artist while composing the painting.

3. Foreshortening is another important technique utilized by artists. It's the point at which an object is compacted to give the illusion of depth.

4. Look for people with symbolic hand gestures, dressed in flowing, swirling robes, all in bright colors, and unprecedented level of detail.

5. Continuous narrative: It's the illustration of many events at different moments from the same story within a single frame.

6. That period also observed the ascent of non-religious individual portraits, of people who were rich and famous.

7. Oil Painting on canvases became conspicuous during the Renaissance.

Other Renaissance artists: Carlo Crivelli, Jean Fouquet, Masaccio, Pietro Perugino, Luca Signorelli, Paolo Uccello, Tintoretto, Paolo Veronese

Partly from: Identify This Art and

Famous Renaissance Art Movement Oil Painting Reproductions.

Renaissance Art Movement Painters Biography & Painting Reproductions.

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