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Renaissance Art

Sandro Botticelli
Birth of Venus, 1484-1486
Temper on canvas
172.5 x 278.5 cm (67.9 x 109.6 in.)
Uffizi Gallery, Florence, Italy

The term "Renaissance Art" refers to European art created between the 14th and 16th centuries which drew inspiration from ancient Greek and Roman cultures. While the Renaissance is typically associated with the 15th and 16th centuries, the seeds of this movement can be traced back to the 14th century and even earlier in some cases. It signaled a radical departure from the art and architecture of the Middle Ages, and was characterized by exact representations of nature and idealized forms of the human body. The period saw the rise of prominent artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, whose works are still celebrated today.

The Renaissance was a time of great artistic and cultural innovation, and its impact can still be felt today. Renaissance artists began turning to other areas of study, such as the sciences, which experienced a resurgence of enthusiasm due to scientific ideas on perspective. This led to the use of linear perspective in painting, which allowed artists to create a sense of depth and realism in their work. For example, Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper (1495-1498) and Sandro Botticelli's The Birth of Venus (1484-1486) both use linear perspective to create a sense of spatial depth in their respective scenes.

The School of Athens, 1510-1511
500 x 770 cm (196.9 x 118.1 in.)
Vatican Museum, Rome

The emergence of humanism, a philosophical and cultural movement that emphasized the importance of human values and individuality, also played a key role in the development of Renaissance art. One of the defining characteristics of this period is the idealized portrayal of the human body. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo sought to create a sense of perfection and beauty in their depictions of the human form. Another important aspect of Renaissance art was the emphasis on nature and the natural world. Many artists sought to create exact representations of the world around them, often using mathematical principles to achieve accuracy. The use of chiaroscuro, or the contrast between light and dark, was also an important technique, as it allowed artists to add even more depth and create a sense of drama in their work. The fresco paintings The School of Athens (1510-1511) by Raphael and The Tribute Money (1425) by Masaccio are excellent examples of how chiaroscuro can be used to create depth and drama in painting.

Overall, Renaissance art was a period of great artistic and cultural innovation, and its legacy can still be felt today. The movement brought about a renewed interest in classical learning and humanism, and its impact can be seen in everything from the works of the great Renaissance masters to contemporary art and design.

Related categories






Face/Body (Human Figures)

Symbolic Images/Objects


Human Nature/Existence

Reality and Fantasy / Illusion / Imagination


(Inspired by) Old Masters

Figurative Painting


Textile Art

(Inspired by) Religion


16th Century Art

15th Century Art

Artists of All Time