The Renaissance is a turning point when Western Europe made transition from the Middle Ages to modern times.
The first harbingers of Renaissance art appeared in Italy in the XIV century. The artists of this time were Pietro Cavallini (1259-1344), Simone Martini (1284-1344), and (above all) Giotto (1267-1337). In the creation of traditional paintings of religious subjects, they pushed away from the tradition of international gothic and started using new artistic techniques: construction of bulk composition and using landscape in the background, which allowed them to make the images more realistic and animated. This contrasts sharply with the previous works of iconographic tradition full of conventions in the image. To refer to their work, the term Proto-Renaissance is being used.
At the beginning of the XV century, Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), the Florentine scholar and architect, discovered and described the laws of linear perspective in painting. This allowed artists to get a completely three-dimensional image on flat canvas paintings.
Another important step was the emergence of a non-religious, secular art. Portrait and landscape have established themselves as a distinct genre. Even religious subjects acquired a different interpretation – the Renaissance artists began to view their characters as characters with distinct personality traits and motivation of human behavior.
The use of sculpture was quite widespread at that time. In the work of sculptors, there have been developed many forms: a statue, relief, bust, etc. They have achieved new heights in the depiction of the human body in sculpture: emotions, body movements, complex scenes in multi-faceted, long-term relief. The most famous sculptors of this period are Donatello (1386-1466) and Lorenzo Ghiberti (1381-1455).
The heyday of Renaissance art came in the first quarter of the XVI century, which was called “the High Renaissance.” The works of Jacopo Sansovino (1486-1570), Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Raphael (1483-1520), and Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) are the golden fund of European art.
If we will look at art from the point of view of a scientist, Leonardo da Vinci achieved the highest mastery in transferring facial expressions and expressions of the human body on the canvas. However, his works create a harmonious image of a person congruent to humanistic ideals. In the future, these innovations were developed by Raphael Sanzio.
Paintings and sculptures by Michelangelo Buonarroti are full of heroic pathos and tragic sense of crisis of humanism. His paintings celebrate the strength and power of man and the beauty of his body while emphasizing his loneliness in the world.
Creative work of Giorgione and Titian distinguishes the interest to the landscape. Both artists have achieved great mastery in the art of portraiture by which they transmitted the nature and the rich inner world of their characters.
After the looting of Rome by imperial troops in 1527, the Italian Renaissance entered the period of crisis. Already in the works of the late Raphael, we can see a new art line called Mannerism. This era is characterized with overexcitement and sharp bend lines, extending or even deformed figures, often nude, tension and unnatural postures, unusual or bizarre effects associated with the size, lighting or perspective, the use of caustic chromatic scale, congestion of composition, etc. The first masters of Mannerism were Parmigianino, Pontormo and Bronzin, who lived and worked with the Medici dukes in Florence. In 1590s, Mannerism was replaced with the Baroque art (transitional figure – Tintoretto and El Greco).