Renaissance Art History

Towards the end of the Dark Ages, a revolution began that fuelled the revival of intellectual discourse, fine art, painting and architecture in Europe with its epicentre in Italy. These two hundred years (1400 to 1600) are known as the Renaissance.
The Renaissance incorporated the fundamental aspects of Greek art, particularly, painting, sculpting and architecture.  The main driving force of renaissance was the concept of Humanism.  It placed great emphasis on human dignity and individuals as opposed to religious dogma. 

Renaissance art in Italy: One of the largest collections of links on renaissance art history on the internet.
Art history: Learn About Renaissance Art, View Artists and their Famous Paintings.
Renaissance art: A detailed and authoritative discussion of renaissance art from the Encyclopaedia Britannica.
Renaissance artists: A collection of information on all of the renaissance artists and their works.
Early Italian renaissance art: The "Early Renaissance" was all about Florence.
The Collection: A tour of the early renaissance art in Florence.
Renaissance art history: A video featuring the historical Italian Renaissance paintings, sculptures, etc.
Art and cultural rebirth: The cross-cultural history of renaissance art.

Phases of Renaissance

There were three phases of renaissance:
Early renaissance (1400-1474): During this period, the primary focus of artists was on humanism.  This promoted inclusion of common people along side religious figures and the nobility in the works of art. Artists like Giotto, Masaccio, and Donatello paid close attention to symmetry while creating the perfect form.  The artists of this era created perspective by using imaginary lines thus highlighted depth and distance in the paintings.
High renaissance (1475-1525): Realism was the key idea during high renaissance.  Great artists like Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Rafael showed off their knowledge of classical art and architecture in their works.  Due to increased traveling, art and artists became known beyond their local regions.
Late renaissance (1500-1600): This was the time when renaissance art started moving beyond the borders of Italy and instead of Florence, Vatican became the center of renaissance art and artists.  One of the most famous paintings of all times, '€œThe Last Supper' was created during this period.

Renaissance art: Very comprehensive description of renaissance art.
The early renaissance artists: A chronological listing of early renaissance artists and their works.
Renaissance art: A video by
Italian Paintings of the 15th Century: Explore works of the Early Renaissance by artists like Filippo Lippi, Fra Angelico, Fra Carnevale, Giovanni Bellini, Botticelli, Domenico Ghirlandaio, and Vittore Carpaccio at this site from the National Gallery of Art.
Italian Paintings of the 16th Century: Explore works of the High Renaissance by artists like Raphael, Agnolo Bronzino, Andrea Del Sarto, Jacopo Tintoretto, Jacopo Bassano, Giovanni Battista Moroni, and Titian.
Renaissance art and architecture: A scholarly article discussing several aspects of renaissance art and architecture.

Famous Renaissance Artists



Leonardo Da Vinci

His most famous art works include '€œMona Lisa', and the '€œVitruvian Man'.€


His best known works include '€œPieta', '€œDavid'€ and the fresco work on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel


“The Madonna of the Meadow', '€œStanza della Segnatura'€, '€œIl Spasimo'€ etc.


'€œJudith€', €œ'Asunta€', '€œDana' etc


He is known for 'Birth of Venus'€ and 'Primavera'€


His famous works include '€œDavid' and "Virgin and Child with Four Angels"


'€œDome of the Cathedral of Florence', '€œBasilica di San Lorenzo di Firenze' etc.


'The Life of Christ'€, '€œFranciscan Allegories'€ and the Maddalena Chapel, drawing on stories from the Golden Legend


'Paradise' and 'Miracle of the Slave'€

Italian renaissance art: This site explores all the major masterpieces of Italian Renaissance Art.

Renaissance Art Resources: An excellent resource for the world of Renaissance art in Italy.

Northern Renaissance Art Resources: An excellent resource for the world of Renaissance art in Northern Europe.

Art History Resources on the Web: Renaissance Art in Italy: A gateway to images and information on Italian Renaissance art and artists.
ITER: Gateway to the Middle Ages & Renaissance: An index to journal articles, books, bibliographies, and book reviews concerning Europe during the middle Ages and Renaissance, 400 - 1700.
Art History Resources on the Web: Professor Chris Witcombe of Sweet Briar College presents links that are divided into two sections, 15th-Century Renaissance Art and 16th-Century Renaissance.

Interesting Facts

  • Michelangelo'€™s immortal '€˜Fresco'€™ on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel consists of more than 300 figures and it took four years to complete this work;
  • Some of the prevalent techniques and styles during renaissance were perspective, balance and proportion, foreshortening, use of light and darkness and Sfumato;
  • The origins of renaissance are traced to Florence, where arts flourished to unprecedented heights under the patronage of the Medici family;
  • During the renaissance, Italy was not a unified country; instead, it was composed of about 250 states with the smallest city having a population of only 5000 people;
  • The word Renaissance was coined by French historian Jules Michelet and it refers to two movements in that era. First is the rebirth of classical learning and knowledge through the rediscovery of ancient knowledge and texts and the second is a rebirth of European culture;
  • According to the eminent historian Paul Oscar Kristeller, Humanism is the product of three Renaissance terms.These terms include Studia humanitatis, meaning humanistic studies such as poetry, history, grammar and moral philosophy, which was based on the works of the ancient authors of Rome and Greece;
  • Michelangelo was also an accomplished poet with over 300 poems to his credit
  • Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward and left about 6000 pages of notes that can be read by holding them up to a mirror;
  • Leonardo'€™s most famous painting, Mona Lisa, does not have eye lashes or eye brows;
  • Filippo Brunelleschi is considered by many as the father of the Italian renaissance art.  He was an architect by profession, who introduced the concept of perspective that moved the Italian artists' paintings to a new level;

Renaissance facts and trivia: Interesting facts and trivia about renaissance.
Leonardo da Vinci: 12 interesting facts about Leonardo da Vinci.
Renaissance art facts: Interesting facts about renaissance art and artists.
Renaissance art: an interesting video by


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