The Italian Renaissance took place between the 14th and 16th centuries and was a period of significant cultural change across Europe.
Artistic masters who displayed an interest in the beauty of nature and human body emerged from this period and here we take a look at the 8 most prominent and prolific of the Italian Renaissance painters.
1. Raffaello Sanzio
Born in Urbino to a painter in the town’s court, Raffaello Sanzio – known simply as Raphael to most – began his training at a young age and worked in central Italy between 1500 and 1508.
Called upon by Pope Julius II to adorn the papal rooms of the Vatican, Raphael created some of his best works here, including The School of Athens.
2. Leonardo da Vinci
Considered by many to be the embodiment of the Renaissance humanist ideals, Leonardo da Vinci was a master of many different art forms, but is largely celebrated for his painted works.
Born in Florence, da Vinci mentored under Andrea del Verrocchio and only approximately 15 of his paintings have survived, including the world-renowned Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.
Michelangelo painted two of the most notable frescoes in the history of Western art in the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel – scenes from Genesis on the ceiling and The Last Judgment on the altar wall.
Completed in just 4 years, the frescoes span over 500m2 and include more than 300 figures.
4. Sandro Botticelli
Much like how Australia is influenced by Melbourne Cup betting, Sandro Botticelli was said to be influenced by Masaccio’s immense paintings. Botticelli’s paintings were incredibly popular during his time, particularly his paintings of Madonna and child, his altarpieces, and his life-sized works.
His 2 most notable works are now housed in Florence’s Uffizi Gallery – The Birth of Venus and Primavera.
Titian, born Tiziano Vecellio, was the greatest Venetian artist of the 16th century, known for his masterful use of colour and his versatility.
Adepts at portraits, landscapes, and mythological and religious depictions, Titian painted portraits of many important historical figures throughout his career including King Philip II of Spain, Pope Paul III, and Roman Emperor Charles V.
The works of Tintoretto were typically large-scale narratives, characterised by their use of dramatic lighting and gestures, and he was largely influenced by Titian’s use of colour and the figures of Michelangelo.
Masaccio may have died at just 26 years old, but he still had an enduring effect on the world of art through his impeccable skill of recreating lifelike figures and movements, and his scientific approach to his artistic works.
Influenced by sculptor Donatello and architect Brunelleschi, unfortunately just 4 of his works have survived.
8. Giovanni Bellini
Giovanni Bellini’s innovative use of colour dramatically influenced other painters, such as Titian, and through his use of clear, slow-drying oil paints was able to create detailed shading and deep hues.
Born into a family of artists, Bellini also typically added disguised symbolism to many of his works, a trait more common in Northern Renaissance art.