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Art, Painters, and the History of Renaissance Paintings

Updated on May 16, 2017
Renaissance Painting Showing Naturalism
Renaissance Painting Showing Naturalism | Source

To the average person, an interest in paintings and other forms of pictures stems from the artwork's literary aspect or subject matter, but as his/her expertise in the art of paintings progresses, the interest shifts to its composition, form, structure, design, colour and rhythm, plus its deeper meaning will be much more appreciated.

History of Renaissance Painting

In the earlier periods of classic art, most "art paintings" were in forms of mural decorations and mosaic works, and these were applied extensively.

In ancient Rome (and Greece), during the commencement of Renaissance art in Italy, paintings and other forms of pictorial decorations were made as wall hangings. It was at this time, according to art history sources; that the origin of all art of graphic representation evolved.

With the invention of printing, pictorial decorations were produced using many printing methods that soon made wall hangings objects of interior décor that was produced in large quantities and not too long after, the science of photography was added, with each medium (printing and photography) having both its merits and deficiencies.

Today's modern efforts in the art of paint can't be evaluated without historical information concerning the works of artists of the renaissance who have in no small way influenced the activities, lifestyle, and thoughts of mankind over time.

Early Renaissance Art

Early Renaissance Art of painting is the classic art produced by renaissance artists during the era beginning in the late 13th century. It began to flourish in the early 15th century to the late 16th century in the present day Italy which at that time was split into a number of political regions.

During the Middle Ages, Italy's wealth was largely derived from trade with the Far East, and one of the objects of high trade were works of art, as the elite and political leaders competed fiercely in expressing their tastes, grandeur, and power.

This created numerous opportunities for local renaissance artists who reflected in their works the religion, philosophy, and requirements of their patrons.

The painters though often attached to particular courts and loyal to specific towns, they nonetheless wandered through cities in Italy disseminating both artistic and philosophical ideas, and they were often accorded diplomatic status.

The early art painters of Renaissance Italy include:

  • Duccio (1255 to 1319)
  • Cimabue of Florence (born around 1240)
  • Simone Martini of Siena

Artists of the Renaissance

During The Italian Renaissance, art painters in the cities competed with each other, and citizens of each region extolled the relative merits of their artists and masters. Even the church used artists and their paintings to explain its doctrine, views, and history to its people.

Each locality developed its own group of artists with the development in the different localities known as schools of painting. The major centers were these schools of painting was sited is Venice and Florence, with other large cities having minor schools of painting.

At the time, many of the artists lacked enough knowledge of foreshortening and anatomy, and these painters were generally referred to as "primitives".

In the earlier examples of works of Italian painters of the 13th century, the artists’ works showed flat symbolic figures in bright colours painted on gold backgrounds with emphasis placed more on the expression of "religious emotions" than any other subject.

Duccio was the first of the Italian painters to enlarge biblical manuscript sketches and illustrations. He made them suitable to use as hanging wall decorations.

Cimabue, born around 1240 is known as the first of the “modern art painters” in Italy, but no genuine paintings he made are known of.

Simone Martini, like Duccio, painted in a style similar to that of the Byzantine mosaic works and Gothic illuminated manuscripts. It is suspected but not proven that both Simone and Duccio were tutored by Byzantine artists who visited Florence around the year 1260.

© 2012 artsofthetimes

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