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The High Renaissance

The term Renaissance means “rebirth”

1450-1550

Artists were elevated in social standing and their art was looked upon not as simple crafts, but as divinely inspired creations. Renaissance historian, Walter Pater, wrote "There is a spirit of general elevation and enlightenment in which all alike communicate. The unity of this spirit gives unity to all the various products of the Renaissance; and it is to this intimate alliance with the mind, this participation in the best thoughts which that age produced, that the art of Italy in the fifteenth century owes much of its grave dignity and influence." 

Classical humanism, was a key dynamic of the Italian Renaissance. This philosophical movement was based on the idea that every persons life had value and dignity. Humanism also stressed  man's position in the natural world. The Humanists  believed modern man should look to the classical writings and art of the ancient Greeks and Romans as exemplary guides for ethical living and scholarship. John Donne, famous Renaissance poet and writer stated, "No man is an island. entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as if a manor of thy friend's or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind, and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee. ."

The spirit of an era awoke from the Middle Ages, invigorated with knowledge and innovation. Paintings of the High Renaissance are intensely passionate and luxuriously luminescent. The highly valued synthesis of science, art, geometry and the natural world.  The techniques used by painters of the High Renaissance were quite innovative in themselves. Their use of incandescent colors created with newly developed oil mediums gave a unique vividness to their paintings. Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci would not hesitate to fish a rotting corpse out of a cannel and directly sketch the reeking cadaver for the purpose of painting the human body realistically.

The Greatest Artists of the High Renaissance

Andrea del Sarto
Mariotto Albertinelli
Fra Bartolommeo
Jacopo Bassano
Giovanni Bellini 
Domenico Brusasorci
Giulio Campi
Domenico Di Michelino
Lorenzo Costa
Dosso Dossi
Francesco Francia
Garofalo
Ridolfo Ghirlandaio
Giorgione
Leonardo da Vinci
Lorenzo Lotto
Bernardino Luini
Michelangelo Buonarroti
Baldassare Peruzzi
Piero di Cosimo
Jacob Tintoretto
Marcantonio Raimondi
Raphael
Titian
Ercole de’Roberti

 
   
 

 

 

Key Descriptive Words  and Phrases associated with the Renaissance Movement rebirth, rediscovery of the classical world,  publication of Della Pittura, a book about the laws of mathematical perspective for artists,  sfumato, chiaroscuro, Savonarola, spiritually significant,  illuminated manuscript,  idealized biblical themes, scriptorium, illuminator, plague, Age of Discovery, curiosity about the natural world,  realistic use of colours and  light,  Bonfire of the Vanities, Old Testament stories, ethereal and foggy backgrounds, Gospel parables, romanticized landscapes,  Christian symbolism.

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References The Story of Mankind by Hendrik van Loon