Renaissance Artists

THE RENAISSANCE

The Renaissance may have been sparked through ideas expressed in the 14th Century by the Italian author, Petrarch, regarding a desire to see a revival of classical learning.  Renaissance artists led the way to this emergence from the Dark Ages.  The Renaissance Era gave birth to modernity.  Italy played a leading role in art during the Renaissance.  We are going to take a brief look at famous Renaissance artists and Renaissance Era Art. 

ROBERT CAMPIN

Robert Campin 1375-1444) was a common fellow from Tournai, Flanders, who became an extraordinary Renaissance artist.  The painting we shall view is the first to honor Joseph, the carpenter step-father of Jesus; and the first to show the interior of a home.  There is much symbolism here as the artist blends the physical world with the supernatural. 

ROBERT CAMPIN "MERODE ALTARPIECE" 1430 (METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK)
ROBERT CAMPIN "MERODE ALTARPIECE" 1430 (METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK)

JAN VAN EYCK

Jan Van Eyck (1390-1441), long considered the father of oil painting, was also Flemish. We will view one panel of the Ghent Altarpiece, on which he had the assistance of his brother Hubert, widely considered the masterpiece of early Flemish painting. The scene is of an orderly, blissful Heaven above and a nightmarish, terrifying Hell below.

VAN EYCK "THE LAST JUDGMENT" 1425 (METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK)
VAN EYCK "THE LAST JUDGMENT" 1425 (METROPOLITAN MUSEUM OF ART, NEW YORK)

ROGIER VAN DER WEYDEN

Rogier Van Der Weyden (1399-1464), also from Tournai, is an expressive, emotional painter of incredible precision—reminding one of sculpture—and rich colors.  He was eventually named the painter of the City of Brussels and would greatly influence later Renaissance artists.  The painting I will present is a spiritual account of pain, grief and tragedy. 

ROGER VAN DER WEYDEN "DESCENT FROM THE CROSS" 1435 (PRADO, MADRID)
ROGER VAN DER WEYDEN "DESCENT FROM THE CROSS" 1435 (PRADO, MADRID)

BOTTICELLI

Botticelli (1444-1510) was from Florence, Italy, and the favorite painter of the ruling family of that city-state, the Medici.  He was a highly stylized painter, with an emphasis on outline, whose voluptuous figures seem to float in space.  We will take a look at his most famous painting, which is an ethereal depiction of classical pagan mythology. 

BOTTICELLI "THE BIRTH OF VENUS" 1480 (UFFIZI, FLORENCE)
BOTTICELLI "THE BIRTH OF VENUS" 1480 (UFFIZI, FLORENCE)

LEONARDO DA VINCI

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is the master artist of the High Renaissance, an era of graceful, harmonious grandeur.    The painting we will review is an altar panel created in Milan.  We will observe a mysterious, dreamlike warmth and tenderness in this poetic vision.  Our artist was the first to express this particular scene, which is based on legend. 

LEONARDO DA VINCI "THE VIRGIN OF THE ROCKS" 1485 (LOUVRE, PARIS)
LEONARDO DA VINCI "THE VIRGIN OF THE ROCKS" 1485 (LOUVRE, PARIS)

RAPHAEL

Raphael of Urbino, Italy (1483-1520) is known as an artist of effortless grace and style by art historians.  The painting we shall review is his masterpiece.  Its subject is famous Greek philosophers gathered around Plato and Aristotle; and all members are wonderfully portrayed in their roles.  We will note the great symmetrical precision, and emphasis on architecture. 

RAPHAEL "THE SCHOOL OF ATHENS" 1511 (VATICAN, ROME)
RAPHAEL "THE SCHOOL OF ATHENS" 1511 (VATICAN, ROME)

GRUNEWALD

Matthias Grunewald (1470-1528) was a German artist, engineer and architect. Only ten paintings of his paintings survive; and he has achieved fame just during the last 100 years. We will focus on one part of the Isenheim Altarpiece—his largest and most famous work. The artist shows an unprecedented range of color and movement for his day.

MATTHIAS GRUNEWALD "THE RESURRECTION" 1515 (MUSEE UNTERLINDEN, COLMAR, GERMANY)
MATTHIAS GRUNEWALD "THE RESURRECTION" 1515 (MUSEE UNTERLINDEN, COLMAR, GERMANY)

TITIAN

Titian (1489-1576) is the most famous of the Venetian painters and an artist of inimitable skill, who could seemingly paint nearly any subject with wonderful clarity.  Veronese and El Greco served as apprentices to the master early in their careers.  The work we will view features a beautiful landscape and active, muscular figures; painted with polychromatic modulations. 

TITIAN "BACCHANAL" 1518 (PRADO, MADRID)
TITIAN "BACCHANAL" 1518 (PRADO, MADRID)

ALTDORFER

Albrecht Altdorfer (1480-1538) was a pioneer of landscape art from Regensberg, Germany. I will present his impressive painting labeled Alexander the Great's victory over Darius, King of Persia; which at the same time it is actually about the defeat of the Turks at the gates of Vienna in 1529. It is unique in its birds-eye view in which the humans are nearly incidental.

ALBRECHT ALTDORFER "THE BATTLE OF ISSUS" 1529 (ALTE PINAKOTHEK, MUNICH)
ALBRECHT ALTDORFER "THE BATTLE OF ISSUS" 1529 (ALTE PINAKOTHEK, MUNICH)

HANS HOLBEIN

Han Holbein (1497-1543) was from Augsburg, Germany and is known as a master painter of the human image.  His father was also an accomplished artist.  After learning his craft in Switzerland, he lived most of his later life in England.  I will present a portrait that shows the artist's expression of divine authority in an absolute ruler. 

HANS HOLBEIN THE YOUNGER "HENRY VIII" 1540 (NATIONAL GALLERY, ROME)
HANS HOLBEIN THE YOUNGER "HENRY VIII" 1540 (NATIONAL GALLERY, ROME)

PETER BRUEGEL

Peter Bruegel (1527-1569) was a highly educated, artistic genius from The Netherlands, who was very interested in landscapes and the daily life and customs of humble peasants. We will view what appears to be the first depiction of a winter scene in art. Here we see the seasonal tasks of men and women in the annual cycle of birth and death.

PIETER BRUEGEL THE ELDER "THE RETURN OF THE HUNTERS" 1565 (KUNSTHISTORISCHES, VIENNA)
PIETER BRUEGEL THE ELDER "THE RETURN OF THE HUNTERS" 1565 (KUNSTHISTORISCHES, VIENNA)

MICHELANGELO

Michelangelo (1475-1564) might be the greatest artist in the history of the world.  He seems to have possessed a supernatural genius of divine inspiration.  We will take a look at his painting in the Sistine Chapel, in which we see the blessed and the damned pleading for mercy before God.  Note that the artist used his own face on the flayed skin of St. Bartholomew. 

MICHELANGELO "THE LAST JUDGMENT" 1541 (VATICAN, ROME)
MICHELANGELO "THE LAST JUDGMENT" 1541 (VATICAN, ROME)

RENAISSANCE ARTISTS

I have previously published many Hubs about Art such as:

The Art of Rembrandt

Photographic Art

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Comments 71 comments

Paraglider profile image

Paraglider 6 years ago from Kyle, Scotland

Hi James - that's a good representative collection, quite a few of which I've been privileged to see 'live'. But Grunewald is a new name for me. It's good to learn more.

As an aside, I played the part of Hans Holbein in a primary school play about Anne of Cleves (Henry's wife no 4, I think). I was 9 years old at the time. Memories...


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Paraglider— Thank you for being my first visitor. I find it amazing that you played Hans in a school play. I didn't know he was THAT well known. I always enjoy hearing from from you, my erudite friend.


dohn121 profile image

dohn121 6 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

I have not heard of some of the amazing artists of the Renaissance Period, but am no enamored by their work. Thanks, James for sharing such an extraordinary masterpiece :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

dohn121— You are welcome, kind sir. It is my pleasure to share these masterworks of art. Thank you for checking out my gallery and leaving your comments. Ciao


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 6 years ago from London, UK

This was a real joy to read about these painters and there masterpieces. Thank you so much to put it together.


jill of alltrades profile image

jill of alltrades 6 years ago from Philippines

Your knowledge about art and art history is really amazing! I like this collection because I highly admire most of them.

Thank you very much for sharing!


Wild cherry 6 years ago

Great hub!! What I would also like to see is some paintings of Dürer. Again, great hub! :)


ethel smith profile image

ethel smith 6 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

Ithink my favourite is Bruegel, although they were all so talented


paulgc 6 years ago

Thanks james, my favourite has always been the Birth Of Venus after watching a documentary about painting a while ago.

Good work.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Hello, hello,— You are most welcome. Thank you so much for taking the time to come by and review my article. I'm so glad you enjoyed it. :-)


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 6 years ago from Moundsville, WV

James,

Thank you for the beautiful paintings and your insightful commentary. I think Da Vinci may have been the first example of a man for all seasons. His art, philosphy, and contributions to science were ahead of his time.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

jill of alltrades— Hello, my artistic friend! You are welcome. Thank you very much for your kind compliments. I know you know beauty when you see it!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Wild Cherry— I did review my favorite Durer in this Hub:

http://hubpages.com/art/Renaissance-Paintings

Thank you much for your kind compliments. Welcome to HubPages!


Scott.Life 6 years ago

What a great collection of art, this was like a walk down memory lane and art history.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

ethel smith— That Bruegel stands out from the others, doesn't it? It has sort of a modern look about it. And he's keeping it real. :)

Thanks for chiming in.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

paulgc— You are welcome. The Botticelli is surely a masterpiece. I'm well pleased that you came by and let me know you enjoyed these works of art.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Tom Whitworth— You are surely welcome, my friend. Leonardo may have been the most brilliant person ever. And there have been quite a few. :) I also love this particular painting. Thanks!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Scott.Life— Thank you so much, my friend. How glad I am that you enjoyed it. I appreciate you for letting me know.


itakins profile image

itakins 6 years ago from Irl

Beautiful Sunday morning hub.I love Bruegel's 'The Return Of The Hunters'.

Great work ,James.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins— Good morning! That is a special work of art, to be sure. Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed it. :)


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

I like this. I have seen a few Ranaissance works. I have been to Germany and visted the many Cathedrals and Castles there. I have been to the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and a few others that I can't really recall right now. Thanks! Tammy (there must not have been enough room for the other part to the Jan Van Eyck work)


"Quill" 6 years ago

A true artist is one that can display the subject through his heart and his work. The old masters we see here were able to inspire to this day as you have shown in your hub James. Very well done, an ispiration and a valuable lesson in the works of these humble artists and the lasting footprint they have left behind.

Blessings


smarleygrl7 profile image

smarleygrl7 6 years ago

I think it is amazing what people can paint. I am an artist of sorts, but not oil paintings or anything near as magnificent as these renissance artists! I think an artist is much like a great poetry writer their true character is reflected with every stroke of their brush as a writer and his pencil.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Tammy Lochman— Come to think of it, there was room for the entire Van Eyck triptych. I think I wanted to send a certain message with just this section of it. :D

I love visiting museums. I love art. I can't imagine having the skills to produce such works, though. I can't draw a good stick figure. :0

Thanks for coming by and leaving your comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

"Quill"— I love your definition of a true artist. Your comments are inspiring in themselves. Thank you for your wise words. I appreciate the visitation.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

smarleygrl7— I am amazed by great painters (and sculptors). I am curious what type of art you produce. Nice description of an artist you provided. Thank you for that and for visiting. :)

Welcome to the Hub Pages Community.


ArchDynamics profile image

ArchDynamics 6 years ago from Orlando, FL

King James:

Another delightful Hub. I’ve always been a fan of Raphael luminescent style. The ‘School of Athens’ was commissioned at the same time he was instructed to paint the ‘Disputa’, portraying the secular sciences of philosophy.

Fun facts about the painting:

Aristotle and Plato can be seen walking in conversation in the center engaged in scholarly discourse. Aristotle (in red-orange) is symbolically pointing upward, indicating the source of his ideas is heavenward, his source of divine inspiration.

Plato (in blue), conversely, is pointing downward, indicating the starting point of the natural sciences.

Raphael, as did many other artists, also incorporates a number of his contemporaries into this fresco. His Plato is believed to be a portrait of Leonardo, with Archimedes (bald head, lower right, drawing on a slate tablet with a pair of dividers), may be recognized as Bramante.

Raphael also looks out towards the viewer (white with cap) from beside the pillar at the extreme right-hand edge of the picture.

Knowing a bit more about the 'back-story' always makes this more fun. IMHO.


Tammy Lochmann profile image

Tammy Lochmann 6 years ago

I thought so :) -Tammy


Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 6 years ago from United States

James, I so enjoyed your beautiful display art and your comments as well. The Atlanta High Museum of Art has a Leonardo de Vinci's exhibition at the present time. I am traveling there next weekend and hoping I have time to visit. I too love Raphael's work. Very nice hub.


Kebennett1 profile image

Kebennett1 6 years ago from San Bernardino County, California

James, you always pick a wonderful, diverse collection of masterpiece artwork. ROBERT CAMPIN's "MERODE ALTARPIECE" is a magnificent piece. It offers such wonderful lines and dimensions as well as beauty. BOTTICELLI's "THE BIRTH OF VENUS" offers a Statuesque Venus with such movement around her. HANS HOLBEIN's THE YOUNGER "HENRY VIII" is a handsome presentation of Renaissance expressionism. They are my favorite pieces in this collection. Thank you as always for your artist prowess.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

ArchDynamics— Thank you, brother. I sincerely appreciate that filled in the backstory for my readers. You are a good man. And your analysis is spot on, as always.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Tammy Lochmann— You thought right, missy! Thanks for coming back.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Pamela99— I'm so glad you enjoyed it. If Leonardo was being exhibited here, I wouldn't miss it for the world. You are lucky and you should go. Thank you for your nice comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Kebennett1— It is always nice to read your comments. Thanks for pointing out your favorites and why they are the same. You are surely welcome, dear.


dusanotes profile image

dusanotes 6 years ago from Windermere, FL

Very nice Hub, James. You never disappoint. Of all the painters, the one - or the work - I enjoyed most was the Returning Hunter scene by Peter Bruegel. I know, Michelangelo's famous paintings are fantastic in scope and perhaps in meaning, too, but right now - and I think we as an audience change our degrees of enjoyment from time to time - I appreciate still-life scenes most. Good work.

Don White


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

dusanotes— Thank you, Don. You are right in that our tastes evolve. I didn't appreciate master painters when I was young. All I cared about in the Arts was music. So, this represents growth for me. I like the Bruegel, too. It is an interesting piece. Very different. Thanks for coming by, my friend.


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California

James! Thank you for this wonderful and informative hub! The work here is so beautiful that it would be impossible to pick a favorite! "The Last Judgement" is stunning and stands out to me the most.....a bit intense I guess! ha

I always learn a lot from your hubs! Best, G


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

GPAGE— Well, hello there. You are welcome. I saved the "Last Judgment" for last as the climax of the piece. I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for coming.


GPAGE profile image

GPAGE 6 years ago from California

James! I meant "The Last Judgement" 1425 by Van Eyck! I like the last one too! ; Best, G


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

GPAGE— Oh! My goof. I forgot I had two of those in there. That Van Eyck is kinda scary. That's why I like it. It was meant to scare the bejesus out of those folks in the Middle Ages who hadn't seen horror movies yet. :D


Duchess OBlunt 6 years ago

My education in the arts is sadly lacking. One of the reasons I so enjoy your Hubs on art. Thanks James.


RTalloni profile image

RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

Thanks for putting this together so well with such nice photos of the paintings.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Duchess OBlunt— It is a joy to hear from you again, Duchess. I am pleased that you have expressed your enjoyment. Thank you! And you're welcome, too.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

RTalloni— You're most welcome. Thank you for reviewing my gallery. I do appreciate it.


Hxprof 6 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

James, have made two attempts to email you. Not seeing 'sent' result for either. Did you receive?


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Hxprof— Yes, I did receive. I haven't studied them yet but I will soon. Thank you very much for them.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 years ago from Houston, Texas

We saw a couple of these in the Prado. You always choose good examples to portray the various artist's works. Most enjoyable hub.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Peggy W— You did a hub about the Prado, didn't you? Thanks for the compliments.


knell63 profile image

knell63 6 years ago from Umbria, Italy

Hi James, a good representative spread of painters there. A little for all to enjoy. you have to love the intensity of the colours the managed to get even back then. Enjoyed reading it.


knell63 profile image

knell63 6 years ago from Umbria, Italy

Hi James, a good representative spread of painters there. A little for all to enjoy. you have to love the intensity of the colours the managed to get even back then. Enjoyed reading it.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

knell63— Nice to hear from you again. Thank you for your compliments. They surely did have expressive colors and not the advantages of modern paints. I'm pleased that you enjoyed this and I appreciate the visit.


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 6 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you for a very enlightening hub of the Renaissance artist, I enjoyed them thank yo for sharing them. Godspeed. creativeone59


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

creativeone59— You are welcome. I am pleased that you enjoyed this gallery. Thanks for coming!


dara 6 years ago

Hello, I apologize for not visiting this Hub earlier. These are all incredibly moving paintings and I love all these too. Your hubs of art are truly beautiful. I have not looked at these artist for quite some time and never viewed the originals of these paintings. Although I have seen paintings that just made me cry because of their beauty and spiritual impact. It would be lovely to have that experience again.

I also feel like a flake not getting back to you about your offer to help me with a Hub for my paintings(not that I am comparing my stuff to these Masters). It just seems like an appropriate time to mention that I would be honored. I have been working on my most recent statement and feel I am getting close to raping it up. I think this would be helpful.


dara 6 years ago

That Jan Van Eyck painting is very disturbing and very effective in scaring people...don't you think?

Definitely my least favorite.

I do not see death this way. I see death more like an acid trip I experienced at a frighteningly early age when I lived in Florida Death for me will be a sense of release of all physical being and a feeling of oneness with the Creator of life itself. A oneness that can not be described(at least I can not in my present being). But, it is something that is known when one dies. I am not afraid of death. Jan Van Eyck is kind of like a really scary movie...thrilling... not unlike our own fears that have been instilled in us throughout generations. I feel for Jan Van because, my guess is, he did not get much sleep.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

dara— Hey! I'm glad you made it, kid. No apology necessary. I'll always be here waiting when you get the time to come by. I have seen five of these in person, those in New York, Paris and the Vatican. They are far more impressive when the actual painting is right there in front of you.

It's great that you would like me to exhibit your work on HubPages. How many pieces of art would you like to show?

Thanks for coming and for your compliments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

dara— It surely has some sort of message. :)

You're funny. He didn't get much sleep, huh?

I hope your version of death is the true one. It sounds nice. I'll quote Woody Allen: "I don't mind dying. I just don't want to be there when it happens."


dara 6 years ago

I do say the craziest things some time. I was just thinking if I had to paint hell or whatever I would have nightmares.

James you are always so gracious it is no wonder that you are popular.

I like that quote.

Talk to ya later.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

dara— I am always happy to see your name in my inbox. Thank you for maintaining our friendship.


blaise25 profile image

blaise25 6 years ago from close to you...

Renaissance has always been so interesting for me. thanks for sharing! ;p


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

blaise25— Why, thank you for coming by and leaving your remarks. You are welcome. I enjoyed your poetry, too.


stars439 profile image

stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

The art and the details in your words are astounding and a pleasurable experience to savor . God Bless You.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

stars439--- Thank you for the accolades. You surely know how to make a man feel good about his work. I'll be coming over to read several of your Hubs soon.


Zj 6 years ago

You are all losers. Get a life and a girl.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 6 years ago from Chicago Author

Zj— Thank you! Thank you very much.


reversecharles profile image

reversecharles 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

I love Bruegel's work. Great read!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

reversecharles— Me too! Thank you for your compliments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!


anita vincent 5 years ago

ilove your paintings


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

anita vincent— Thank you for saying so! I am glad you do. :)


stessily 4 years ago

James, Robert Campin's Annunciation Triptych is one of my favorites; I always have such a sense of tenderness in it.

I've loved Botticelli's "Birth of Venus" forever! Venus' face reminds me of my paternal grandmother, my beloved Grandma Rose, also known as Grandma Blue Eyes, as my maternal grandmother, Laura, was affectionately referred to us by my mother as Grandma Brown Eyes.

The dream-like atmosphere of Leonardo's "Virgin on the Rocks" has also enchanted me forever. He was such a master of subtle nuances.

My dear paternal Uncle Phil loved Pieter Bruegel the Elder and had a number of reproductions in his living room.

Thank you for this artistic journey which reminded me of painters who have colored my imagination with their paintings.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

stessily— Oh, I agree with you about the Campin Triptych. How beautiful it is!

So "Grandma Blues Eyes" resembles the Venus of Botticelli! She must be some looker. :-)

I am well pleased that you took the time to review this gallery of Renaissance Artists I assembled. I love this art and this period of art in general. Thank you for your insightful remarks. And you are most welcome.

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