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Early Renaissance Collage

Early Renaissance

Started: 1401

Ended: 1490

Early Renaissance Timeline

Quotes

"We must always take from nature what we paint and choose the most beautiful and worthy things."
Leon Battista Alberti
"A man can do all things if he will."
Leon Battista Alberti
"Beauty is the adjustment of all parts proportionately so one cannot add or subtract or change without impairing the harmony of the whole."
Leon Battista Alberti
"Every painter paints himself."
Cosimo de' Medici

KEY ARTISTS

MasaccioMasaccio
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DonatelloDonatello
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Fra AngelicoFra Angelico
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Piero della FrancescaPiero della Francesca
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Andrea de MantegnaAndrea de Mantegna
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Sandro BotticelliSandro Botticelli
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"I propose to build for eternity."

Filippo Brunelleschi

Synopsis

At the beginning of the 15th century, Italy experienced a cultural rebirth, a renaissance that would massively affect all sectors of society. Turning away from the preceding Gothic and Romanesque periods' iconography, Florentine artists spurred a rejuvenation of the glories of classical art in line with a more humanistic and individualistic emerging contemporary era. Based in this flourishing new environment that empowered people to fully immerse themselves in studies of the humanities, Early Renaissance artists began to create work intensified by knowledge of architecture, philosophy, theology, mathematics, science, and design. The innovations that emerged in art during this period would go on to cause reverberations, which continue to influence creative and cultural arenas today.

This Early Renaissance is also known as the Quattrocento, derived from the Italian mille quattrocento, meaning 1400, and refers primarily to the period dominating the 15th century in Italian art. It was the forebear to the following High Renaissance, North European Renaissance, Mannerism, and Baroque periods that followed.

Key Ideas

An evolution of radically fresh artistic techniques came into practice, departing from the flat-planed and two-dimensional icon artworks that were popular prior. This included the introduction of revolutionary methods such as one point linear perspective, derived from an understanding of math and architecture, relieve schiacciato, a new style of shallow carving to create atmospheric effect, foreshortening, naturalistic and anatomical detail, proportion, and the use of chiaroscuro and trompe l'oeil to create illusionary realities.
New subject matter evolved beyond the traditional religious stories that had historically dominated art. This included battle scenes, portraits, and depictions of ordinary people. Art was no longer a way to solely elevate the devotional, but became a way to document the people and events of contemporary times, alongside the historical.
Early Renaissance artists were highly influenced by the Humanist philosophy that emphasized that man's relationship with the world, the universe, and God was no longer the exclusive province of the Church. This resulted in work that emphasized the emotionally expressive and individualistic characteristics of its subjects in fresh new ways, leading to a more intimate way for viewers to experience art.
A new standard of patronage in the arts arose during this time, separate from the church or monarchy, the most notable of which was supported by the prominent Medici family. Artists were suddenly in demand to produce work that expressed historical, and often religious, narratives in bold new ways for a community that fostered the arts and nurtured its artists like never before.

Predecessors

Early Renaissance Image

Proto-Renaissance, the 1300s

The term Proto-Renaissance refers to artists of the 14th century who developed the naturalistic approach that came to fruition in the Early Renaissance. The early art historian and painter Giorgio Vasari felt that during the Middle Ages the artists Cimabue and Giotto had kept alive the aesthetic principles of classical art with works, which laid the groundwork for the following Renaissance.

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Early Renaissance Overview Continues

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Cite this page

Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle

Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols

" Movement Overview and Analysis". [Internet]. . TheArtStory.org
Content compiled and written by Rebecca Seiferle
Edited and revised, with Synopsis and Key Ideas added by Kimberly Nichols
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