The Period of Renaissance: A Revival of Art

The world of Western art is boundless and imaginative; it is the result of years of experimenting and various movements that have broken the traditional barriers of art and allowed people to express their feelings through art and paintings. Today, The Bimba gives you an introduction to the renaissance, one of the most important periods in history that facilitated the revival of art, ideology, culture, literature, architecture, and beliefs. Renaissance history is interesting and gives a peek into the formation of some of the most iconic paintings of all times; read to know about the renaissance summary and educate your artsy brain:

What is Renaissance?

Renaissance was a critical period in the history of Europe which saw major developments in the socio-political atmosphere between the 13th and 15th century. The Renaissance history finds its root in Italy from where the movement initially began and affected the rest of Europe; the word means the rebirth and revival of something and in this case art, literature, beliefs, and architecture. This entire period was a transition from the Middle ages towards modernity; a society that was run on the Church’s beliefs slowly started believing in the individuality and secularity of ‘man’. This period saw emphasis on ‘humanism’ and ‘naturalism’ which made the artists more aware of their ‘natural’ surroundings which were reflected in their work as well.

The origins of Rennaisance - an introduction to the Renassaince

Let’s understand the introduction to the Renaissance; the origins of Renaissance art can be traced back to the 13th-14th century in Italy. This period is referred to as the proto-Renaissance period. A number of changes in the social and political atmosphere created a path towards Renaissance art. The proto-Renaissance period, which was also known as the pre-Renaissance period was influenced by artists and scholars like Giovanni Pisano, Giotto di Bondone, Dante, Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, etc.

The Renaissance history has a touch of humanism and so does all the work from this particular period. The roots of the revival of Renaissance art lay in the ancient Rome and Greek texts, through which artists revived languages and traditions. The period of the Early Renaissance started in 1401 when Lorenzo Ghiberti won a competition that required them to design a set of bronze doors for the Baptistery of the Cathedral, which was held in Florence. He defeated his contemporaries Filippo Brunelleschi and Donatello, who soon went to Rome to study the ancient techniques of architecture and sculpture. They later emerged to be one of the most influential artists who put their knowledge to work and revived classical sculpture and architecture. On the other hand, another artist who is considered to be the founder of Renaissance painting is Masaccio who portrayed a high degree of Naturalism in his work.

Moving to High Renassaince, this period in Florence was considered to be the ‘golden period’ in Renaissance history and has an important place in the Renaissance summary. Art in Florence was being encouraged and funded by the church and other religious institutions but also wealthy individuals and private organizations, especially the Medici family.

Famous artists during the High Renaissance period

Understanding the introduction to the Renaissance will be incomplete without mentioning the artists who made it what it is; the High Renaissance period which lasted from the early 1490s to 1527 saw the works of three major artists - Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and Raphael.

Leonardo da Vinci

In Renaissance history, Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is known as the Renaissance man; his best works which have lasted till date are the ‘Mona Lisa’, ‘Virgin of the Rocks’, and the famous fresco ‘The Last Supper’. Leonardo’s creativity lay in portraying light on his subject naturally and dramatically. He was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect amongst many other talents; he was known as a polymath who delved into various subjects in order to solve problems and infused scientific technicalities to study his subjects.

Michelangelo Buonarroti

In the Renaissance summary, one of the major names that pop up is Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475 - 1564). He was primarily a sculptor and is known as the most documented artist of the 16th century. An Italian painter, sculptor, and architect, he is known to have a major influence on Western Art. His best-known painting adorns the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and his flawless sculptors of Pietà and David are easily the most recognizable sculptures. He was known as one of the foremost sculptors of the High Renaissance period as all his sculptures showed the human body in the most natural and realistic form.

Raphael Sanzio

The youngest of the lot in the introduction to the Renaissance, Raphael Sanzio (1483 - 1520), produced paintings that were inspired by both Leonardo and Michelangelo. One of his famous works is known as ‘The School of Athens’ while the other is ‘Sistine Madonna’. The School of Athens’ is especially famous as this painting depicts various artists and philosophers that are carefully placed in a large court by Raphael. His work is known for the clarity while expressing beauty and serenity; his work also brings together elements from the Aristotelian and Platonic schools. In a short span during his lifetime he created a great number of paintings and portraits.

Apart from these three artists, the others that have made a mark in Rennaisance history are artist like Sandro Botticelli, Donatello, Filippo Brunelleschi, Caravaggio, Titian, Masaccio, Giorgio Vasari, Giovanni Bellini, Tintoretto and many more.

The Decline of Renaissance Art

With the fall of Rome in 1527, the seemingly famous and expanding form of Renaissance art started to get obscure. The Mannerist style emerged in the late 1500s as a replacement for Renaissance art; its main emphasis was on the artificiality of the art as opposed to the humanism and naturalism that was portrayed in Renaissance art. This Mannerism style spread from Florence to Rome and eventually became a dominant style all over Europe. Nonetheless, Renaissance art continued to be celebrated by artists like Titian and Corregio who added the element of oil in paintings and started the era of oil paintings. Renaissance art continues to be loved to date by people and has an important place in Renaissance history.

As we end this class on introduction to Renaissance and Renaissance summary, we’ll also tell you the top 10 Renaissance paintings which continue to bestow their presence upon us. Some of the most famous paintings of the Renaissance period are ‘Mona Lisa’ by Leonardo Da Vinci, ‘Primavera’ by Sandro Botticelli, ‘The Creation of Adam’ by Michelangelo, ‘The Last Judgement’ by Michelangelo, ‘The Last Supper’ by Da Vinci, ‘The School of Athens’ by Raphael, ‘Sistine Madonna’ by Raphael, ‘The Birth of Venus’ by Sandro Botticelli, ‘The Assumption of the Virgin’ by Titian and ‘The Kiss of Judas’ by Giotto di Bondone.

May 05, 2021 — Team Bimba