Most Influential Renaissance Painters and Their Artwork

The Renaissance is a movement which spanned throughout the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Many aspects of intellectualism encountered changes, but this article will not deal with all of those. Instead, only major representatives (such as Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian, Botticelli, Dürer and others) of the artwork from the Renaissance will be examined more closely.

Painters In The Early Renaissance

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Early Renaissance refers to the early 1400s, and during that period the classical world was rediscovered. As a result, the art of painting (among others) was completely altered. Furthermore, it was widely believed that artistic greatness could be achieved through the study of Greco-Roman antiquity, particularly its artistic period.

Until the end of an early renaissance period, many ancient forms and content were revived. Furthermore, many antiquity principles were borrowed, such as a realistic expression and harmonious proportion. An overview of some notable painters of this era follows:

  • Sandro Botticelli (1445 – 1510): an Italian painter, he spent almost his entire painting career working for the great Florence families (such as Medici). His works often had religious content, drawing mostly panels of Madonna. Some of his notable works are The Birth of Venus and Primavera.
  • Masaccio (1401 – 1428): an Italian painter, Masaccio had a rather brief career, but despite this, he is seen as a great influence on other artists. Some of his notable works (mostly frescoes) are Brancacci Chapel, Holy Trinity and Virgin and Child with St. Anne.
  • Fra Angelico (1387 – 1455): an Italian painter, he was a member of an early Renaissance Florentine School and Dominican monk. Known for his altarpieces and frescoes with religious subjects, he is known as a painter who decorated the Dominican Monastery of San Marco in Florence (among others).
  • Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528): a German painter, print-maker, theorist and a wood carver. Some of his notable works include Adam and Eve, Assumption of the Virgin and The Madonna With the Iris.
  • Hieronymus Bosch (1450 – 1516): an Early Netherlandish painter, known for his use of fantastic imagery. His notable works include The Garden of Earthly Delights and The Temptation of St. Anthony.

Painters Of The High Renaissance

During The High Renaissance (which spanned from 1450 to 1520) painting reached its peak, especially in terms of technical competence, composition and artistic imagination. During that time, some of the greatest artists ever known lived and some of the most known works date from the period.

  • Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519): widely considered as one of the greatest minds who ever lived. In addition to painting, he was a sculptor, architect, scientist and an engineer. Although he was not an agile painter, his most famous work is the most recognizable painting of all time; as expected, the Mona Lisa.
  • Michelangelo (1475 – 1564): an Italian sculptor, painter, engineer, poet and an architect. He was one of the most diverse and talented artists who ever lived. He is known for his sculptures David and Pieta, but is equally known as the artist who painted The Sistine Chapel's ceiling.
  • Titian (1488/1490 – 1576): an Italian painter, known as the most important member of the Venetian school of 16th century. Extremely versatile, Titian is known for his portraits, religious subjects, landscape backgrounds and other works. Some of his notable works include Assumption of the Virgin, Pesaro Altarpiece and Venus of Urbino.
  • Raphael (1483-1520): an Italian painter and architect, alongside with da Vinci and Michelangelo, formed the "trinity“ of great masters of the Renaissance. Many of his works exist in the Apostolic Palace of The Vatican. Some of his notable works include The School of Athens, Wedding of the Virgin, The Mond Crucifixion, The Parnassus and other.

An Inspiration to Many

Artwork from the Renaissance had, and still has immense importance. Thankfully, despite the fact that almost 500 years have passed since the Renaissance, and considering the many historical events during that span, many of these works still exist in their original state and are used as an inspiration to many contemporary artists.

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