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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hans 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.
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.
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.