Passion For Art


MASACCIO c.1401-1428 'The Tribute Money', 1426 (fresco)
MASACCIO (c.1401-1428)
‘The Tribute Money’, 1426 (fresco)

The Early Renaissance was the period of artistic development in Italy when art broke away from the rigid Byzantine and Gothic traditions to develop a more naturalistic approach to drawing and the organization of figures within a landscape. The roots of these changes lay in the more solid rendering of form and the gestural narratives of Giotto’s painting. A more precise way of rendering depth was gradually developed through the creative application of perspective drawing in the work of artists such as Masaccio, Uccello, Fra Angelico and Piero della Francesca.


LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519 ) 'The Madonna of the Rocks', 1483-86 (oil on panel)
‘The Madonna of the Rocks’, 1483-86 (oil on panel)

The High Renaissance marks the pinnacle of artistic development in Italian art of the late 14th, 15th and early 16th centuries. The word ‘Renaissance’ means ‘rebirth’ – a rebirth of the classical ideals from Ancient Rome and Greece.

The great artists of the High Renaissance were Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti from Florence, Raphael Sanzio from Umbria, and Titian (Tiziano Vecellio) and Tintoretto (Jacopo Robusti) from Venice. They painted artworks of unprecedented skill and beauty and were responsible for raising the status of the artist in society from the level of artisan to an intellectual plane on a par with writers, philosophers and scientists. These great masters achieved what artists had aspired to since the Early Renaissance: a revival of the classical ideals of beauty and form; an anatomical and scientific accuracy in drawing; a sensual and psychological response to color and composition, and an acceptance and appreciation of classical content as the subject matter for art.


ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528) 'Self Portrait', 1500 (oil on wood panel)
ALBRECHT DÜRER (1471-1528)
‘Self Portrait’, 1500 (oil on wood panel)

The Northern Renaissance is the term given to the art of north and west Europe during the Italian Renaissance.

In the 15th century, art in the north was still linked to the Gothic tradition but rendered with an exquisite naturalistic detail in the new medium of oil paints. Flanders was the main focus of artistic activity with artists such as Robert Campin, Rogier van der Weyden, Hugo van der Goes and Jan van Eyck.

In the 16th century the Gothic influence had its final say in the art of Hieronymus Bosch and Matthias Grünewald. Gradually the influence of the Italian Renaissance took hold, particularly in the work of Albrecht Dürer which offered a Protestant challenge to the authority of the Catholic Church.

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