is the painting, sculpture and decorative arts of the period of European history, emerging as a distinct style in Italy in about 1400, in parallel with developments which occurred in philosophy
, and science
. Renaissance art, perceived as the noblest of ancient traditions, took as its foundation the art of Classical antiquity
, but transformed that tradition by absorbing recent developments in the art of Northern Europe and by applying contemporary scientific knowledge. Renaissance art, with Renaissance Humanist philosophy
, spread throughout Europe, affecting both artists and their patrons with the development of new techniques and new artistic sensibilities. Renaissance art marks the transition of Europe from the medieval period to the Early Modern
In many parts of Europe, Early Renaissance art was created in parallel with Late Medieval art
Renaissance art, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and literature produced during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries in Europe under the combined influences of an increased awareness of nature, a revival of classical learning, and a more individualistic view of man. Scholars no longer believe that the Renaissance marked an abrupt break with medieval values, as is suggested by the French word renaissance, literally “rebirth.” Rather, historical sources suggest that interest in nature, humanistic learning, and individualism were already present in the late medieval period and became dominant in 15th- and 16th-century Italy concurrently with social and economic changes such as the secularization of daily life, the rise of a rational money-credit economy, and greatly increased social mobility.
The influences upon the development of Renaissance men and women in the early 15th century are those that also affected Philosophy, Literature, Architecture, Theology, Science, Government, and other aspects of society. The following list presents a summary, dealt with more fully in the main articles that are cited above.
- Classical texts, lost to European scholars for centuries, became available. These included Philosophy, Prose, Poetry, Drama, Science, a thesis on the Arts, and Early Christian Theology.
- Simultaneously, Europe gained access to advanced mathematics which had its provenance in the works of Islamic scholars.
- The advent of movable type printing in the 15th century meant that ideas could be disseminated easily, and an increasing number of books were written for a broad public.
- The establishment of the Medici Bank and the subsequent trade it generated brought unprecedented wealth to a single Italian city, Florence.
- Cosimo de' Medici set a new standard for patronage of the arts, not associated with the church or monarchy.
- Humanist philosophy meant that man's relationship with humanity, the universe and with God was no longer the exclusive province of the Church.
- A revived interest in the Classics brought about the first archaeological study of Roman remains by the architect Brunelleschi and sculptor Donatello. The revival of a style of architecture based on classical precedents inspired a corresponding classicism in painting and sculpture, which manifested itself as early as the 1420s in the paintings of Masaccio and Uccello.
- The improvement of oil paint and developments in oil-painting technique by Dutch artists such as Robert Campin, Jan van Eyck, Rogier van der Weyden and Hugo van der Goes led to its adoption in Italy from about 1475 and had ultimately lasting effects on painting practices, worldwide.
- The serendipitous presence within the region of Florence in the early 15th century of certain individuals of artistic genius, most notably Masaccio, Brunelleschi, Ghiberti, Piero della Francesca, Donatello and Michelozzo formed an ethos out of which sprang the great masters of the High Renaissance, as well as supporting and encouraging many lesser artists to achieve work of extraordinary quality.
- A similar heritage of artistic achievement occurred in Venice through the talented Bellini family, their influential in-law Mantegna, Giorgione, Titian and Tintoretto.
- The publication of two treatises by Leone Battista Alberti, De Pitura (On Painting), 1435, and De re aedificatoria (Ten Books on Architecture), 1452.