Early Renaissance Art

509 artworks, 18 artists
The Early Renaissance (also called Quattrocento) is a period of development of the Italian painting, which took place in the 15th century. While back in the days of the Duecento (the 13th century) and the Trecento (the 14th century) it was mainly the Siena school with its flat two-dimensional images and subjects on biblical themes that dominated the art scene, the era of the Early Renaissance is a period when new painting techniques were applied along the traditional ones.

The principle of perspective, described at the beginning of the 15th century by the Florentine scientist Filippo Brunelleschi, became a great discovery for early Renaissance artists: their paintings became voluminous. As a background, painters used a detailed landscape, thanks to which the image looked more vivid and realistic. The first artist of the Quattrocento era, who applied the principle of perspective in his works, was Masaccio. Today he is called the reformer of Italian painting.

Religious subjects were replaced by the genres of landscape and portrait painting. Characters of biblical stories and ancient myths acquired their own individual traits, and their actions – motivation that was understandable to the viewer. Earlier, painters worked intuitively, but in the era of the Early Renaissance, scientific knowledge came to the fore: anatomy, geometry, mathematics and other sciences helped them create multifaceted three-dimensional compositions and depict the human body considering proportions. The main criteria for evaluating the beautiful were proportionality and naturalism.

Paintings by the early Renaissance artists are characterized by realistic images, harmony of composition and its emotionality. The main subject of the art of that period is a human who was considered a hero. Characters of portraits and genre paintings are striking personalities, each with their own nature. Painters skillfully combined the background of the picture (landscape or city view) with the characters of the plot, which allowed them to more fully convey the meaning of what was happening, without resorting to the language of symbols and allegories.

Ideas and principles that appeared during the Quattrocento era had a great influence on the further development of art. The painters of that era became a model for the next generation of artists: works of Masaccio, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Donatello, PinturicchioBrunelleschi and other masters of the Early Renaissance inspired those who came next – Raphael, da VinciMichelangelo and others.

The art portal Arthive has prepared a selection of works by early Renaissance artists – in this section you will find the best paintings created in the 15th century. Sign up to our website to examine the masterpieces in great detail, add them to your virtual collection and share with your friends.