The Renaissance was preceded by International Gothic, a style of art and architecture that continued into the first decades of the asses. In Gothic art figures appear static, lacking depth, volume and pictorial realism. Artists favored backgrounds of gold-leaf that embellished the image and accentuated its flatness. Figures become more three- dimensional, their movement fluid and natural. Detailed landscapes or Classical architectural settings demonstrate new theories of perspective. Sacred imagery-? Jesus, Mary and saints-?was no longer the only subject for art.
Spurred on by humanist concepts derived through the revival of Greece-Roman texts, Renaissance artists made humans central to their paintings. However, the shift from Gothic to Renaissance ideas was slow and, as a result, many paintings from the first half of the fifteenth century remain rooted in the older tradition. The principal members of the first generation of Renaissance artists–DONATED in sculpture, Fillips BRUCELLOSIS in architecture, and MOSAIC in painting–shared many important characteristics.
Central to their thinking was a faith in the theoretical foundations of art and the conviction that development and progress were not only possible but essential to the life and significance of the arts. Ancient art was revered, not only as an inspiring model but also as a record of trial and error that could reveal the successes of former great artists. Intending to retrace the creative process rather than to merely imitate the final achievements of antiquity, Early Renaissance artists sought to create art forms consistent with the appearance of the natural world and tit their experience of human personality and behavior.
The challenge of accurate representation as it concerned mass sculptural form, or the pictorial considerations of measurable space and the effects of light and color, was addressed in the spirit of intense and methodical inquiry. Rational inquiry was believed to be the key to success; therefore, efforts were made to discover the correct laws of proportion for architecture and for the representation of the human body and to systematize the rendering of pictorial space. Although these artists were keenly observant of natural phenomena, they also tended to extrapolate general rules from specific appearances.
Similarly, they made an effort to go beyond straightforward transcription of nature, to instill the work of art with ideal, intangible qualities, endowing it with a beauty and significance greater and more permanent than that actually found in nature. These characteristics–the rendering of ideal forms rather than literal appearance and the concept of the physical world as the vehicle or imperfect embodiment of monumental spiritual beauty–were to remain fundamental to the nature and development of Italian Renaissance art.
The art of the High Renaissance, however, sought a general, unified effect of pictorial representation or architectural composition, increasing the dramatic force and physical presence of a work of art and gathering its energies and forming a controlled equilibrium. Because the essential characteristic of High Renaissance art was its unity–a balance achieved as a matter of intuition, beyond the reach of rational knowledge or technical skill–the
High Renaissance style was destined to break up as soon as emphasis was shifted to favor any one element in the composition. The High Renaissance style endured for them Leonardo dad Vinci, Donate Aberrant, Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. Leonardo dad Vine’s unfinished Adoration of the Magi (1481; Fizz Gallery, Florence) is regarded as a landmark of unified pictorial composition, later realized fully in his fresco The Last Supper (1495-97; Santa Maria dell Gracie, Milan).
Leonardo is considered the paragon of Renaissance thinkers, engaged as he was in experiments f all kinds and having brought to his art a spirit of restless inquiry that sought to discover the laws governing diverse natural phenomena. A major watershed in the development of Italian Renaissance art was the sack of Rome in 1527, which temporarily ended the city’s role as a source of patronage and compelled artists to travel to other centers in Italy, France, and Spain. Even before the death of Raphael, in 1520, anticlimactic tendencies had begun to manifest themselves in Roman art.