Italian Reniassance Art

From World History Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search

Essential Question

How did art during the Italian Renaissance influence comtemporary religion?


The Renaissance was a time of creativity and change in Euope. The word Renaissance means "rebirth". It began in Italy and spread north to the rest of Europe. There were many discoveries during the time of the Renaissance: Columbus sailed to the Americas, Copernicus changed the way people viewed the universe. Many people contirbuted to the rebirth of the world.

Before the Renaissance, most artists held the same position in society as did other lower class workers, such as craftsmen. In the Renaissance, that changed. Artists made their living by painting religious scenes and scenes of nature. Their knowledege of the human anatomy grew and they painted pictures of humans with more detail.

There were quite a few influencial artists during this era. Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael were just a few. Although each artist painted many religious scenes, each artist saw things differently; which makes each artists's work truly unique.


The ceiling of the Basilica, painted by Michelangelo

Michelangelo was born on March 26, 1475, and died on February 18, 1564. Michelangelo was one of the most popular sculptors of his time. He sculpted La Pieta (1492-1493), The David (1501-1504), and the tomb of Pope Julius II. It included the famous portrayal of Moses. It took him 30 years to complete the tomb (1505-1535). He was called to Rome to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in 1508. It took him 4 years to paint the whole ceiling. In 1533, he was called back to Rome to paint the alter of the chapel; The Last Judgement is a painting to behold! Michelangelo also designed the dome of St. Peter's Basilica. He was chief architect of the building of it.

Leonadro da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452. For the first few years of his life, he lived with his mother, Caterina. In 1457, he moved to Florence and lived there with his father. When he was 15 years old, he became an apprentice painter to Andrea del Verrochio. Not only was he interested in art, he was also interested in the anatomy of humans and animals, sciences, and nature. His interest in the human anatomy is what helped him become a successful artist. His first known work was The Baptism of Christ. He always carried a notebook around with him in case he became inspired. It was filled with drawings, sketches, plans of churches, and many more things that inspired his artwork. Not too much else is known about his early life. Leonardo da Vinci was a legendary artist. His Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are what he is most known for. Another famous work of his is of the Annunciation. The Uffizi is said to be his earliest work.


Raffaelo Sanzio, or Raphael as he was known throughout Italy, was born on April 6, 1483. At the age of eight, his mother died and he lived with his father. He received training in painting and many forms of art by his father, Giovanni Santi. At the age of eleven, both of his parents died, leaving him to live with his uncle Bartolomeo. In his teens, he showed love for art by drawing self-portraits. Raphael was younger than both da Vinci and Michelangelo, so he was inspired by both of the famous artists. He made more tranquil paintings and used the idea of the Mona Lisa and painted a three-quarter length portrait of a young woman, Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Another famous painting is the Mond Crucifixion. In 1508, Raphael moved to Rome. Pope Julius II invited Raphael to paint his private library; this was one of the most important commissions that he had received. The first room to have been painted was the Stanza della Segnatura, which made a huge impact on Roman art. Raphael died at the very young age of 37 due to an untreated illness.

The Success of the Artists

Lorenzo de'Medici

The success of these painters didn't come easy. First the painter had to be sent to work as an apprentice and learn the trade of the master. The apprentice would start off with menial jobs such as sweeping the floor or running errands. Eventually the apprentice would learn from his master to draw sketches of many things, copy paintings, and casting sculptures. The apprentices who showed a lot of skill went on to become a painter, but the ones who didnt weren't as successful as their masters. When a student finally became a master, he could open up his own shop and be involved with his own styles of art. He could even hire apprentices himself!

Art was not just a hobby. It was a job. Artists were paid to paint, not only portraits or making sculptors, but to paint tapistries in churchs and other places. Patrons would help fund the artists paintings, give them a room to stay, and even money if the patron was very wealthy. Some of the most famopus patrons of the Renaissance were Isabela d'Este of Mantua and the Medici family. The Medici family was a big part of helping art flourish in the Renaissance. A lot of their money went towards supplying artists, such as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael, with their work.


Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael were three of the most influencial artists during the Renaissance. Most of the art during the Renaissance was religious art, including sculptures of Davd and the madonna holding Jesus, and paintings depicting the artists perspective of how the Judgement will be. Since most of the art was influenced by religion, it helped shape religion, more specifically Christianity.

Each artist had his own perspective on how he would depict religious events. Michelangelo is most famous for painting the Sistine Chapel ceiling and altar. He painted the most famous biblical stories on the ceiling, such as God's creation of Adam, the story of Adam and Eve, and many more. The Last Judgement, on of the most famous paintings around the world, is painted on the altar of the Sistine Chapel. He depicted the way he thought the Judgement would be. Leonardo da Vinci is most famous for painting is the Mona Lisa. Many people interpret her smile in many different ways, which makes the paintibg spectacular. Rahael was famous for painting the Mond Cricifixion.


In the Renaissance, art was mostly based on religious events. the Judgement, the Crucifiction, and the first sin. Now, we can go to the places where this art is held and see its beauty. The art helped influence religion in that it can now help people see what the events looked like back in the Bible, through the artists eyes of course. It can also help us now to see different depictions of Christ and the Virgin Mary and many other Biblical figures. Now when we go to church and hear about the Judgement, you can turn to the The Judgement painting, by Michelangelo, and see what we may have set before us.

Today, we can use the paintings and sculptures to help us understand what, for example, the Virgin must have gone through to see her Son dead. We see that in La Pieta, by Michelangelo. The paintings and sculptures have a religious origin and help people today to visualize what was, is, and will come.


The Renaissance was a significant time of rebirth. Art was one of the most known areas of the Renaissance. Three of the most influencial artists of that time were Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Each artist made many contributions to Italian art. They each painted and scultpted masterpieces that helped shape religion in the Renaissance. Their success came from the help of patrons. One of the most famous and well known patrons was Lorenzo de' Medici. He helped fund artists work and helped make them successful.


"Annunciation" 4-16-08 [1]

di Cagno, Gabriella. "Masters of Art, Michelangelo" New York, New York. Peter Bedrick Books, 1996

Gaynor Ellis, Elisabeth, Esler, Anthony. "World History Connections to Today". Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2005

Greenblatt, Miriam. "Lorenzi de'Medici and Renaissance Italy. New York, New York. Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2003.

"Medici" 4-21-08 [2]

McLanthan, Richard. "First Impressions Leonardo da Vinci". New York, New York. A Times Mirror Company, 1990.

McLanathan, Richard. "First Impressions Michelangelo". New York, New York. A Times Minor Company. 1993

"Michelangelo" 4-14-08 [3]

"Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael: The premier artists of the Italian High Renaissance" Jamie Sue Austin. 4-17-08 [4]

"Mona Lisa" 4-14-08 [5]

"Mond Crucifixion". 4-17-08. [6]

Ottmann, Klaus. "The Essential Michelangelo". New York, New York. The Wonderland Press, 2000. "Raphael" 4-15-08 [7]

"Raphael (Raffaelo Sanzio)" 4-15-08 [8]

"Renaissance Connection: The Artists Life". Allentown Art Museum. 4-21-08 [9]

"The David" 4-14-08 [10]

"The Last Judgement". Vatican Museums. 4-14-08 [11]

"The Last Supper" 4-15-08 [12]