Styles & Periods

Styles & Periods

Early Renaissance

Art of the Early Renaissance in Italy, or the Quattrocento, represents a profound break from the vision of medieval art. There was extreme wealth and papal power to fund the rise of talented artists. A resurgence of interest in Classical texts and models made the time appear to be a rebirth of classicism, thereby coining the French word for rebirth, Renaissance. Florence was the undisputed center of the Quattrocento was from 1400-1450. Filippo Brunelleschi perfected his system for representing three-dimensional space in a painting or relief, one-point perspective. Masaccio's frescoes in the Santa Mari Novella demonstrate the Early Renaissance interest in perspective. Other artists such as Sandro Botticelli used humanism to inspire classical and mythological subjects. Sculptor Donatello embodied a fervent approach to perspective, realism and classical subject, and his figures seem fully capable of natural human movement, rather than appearing flat and weightless. In northern Italy, Giovanni Bellini perfected his use of color and light that would become the signature of Venetian painters. The work of these artists paved the way for the masters of the High Renaissance, who would create some of the most moving art of the west.

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