1.3.1.2 – Early Renaissance 1280-1450

Forward to 1.3.1.3 Renaissance 1400-1600
Back to 1.3.1.1 Sienese School – Back to 1.3.1 Renaissance Index

QUICK LINKS
Dijon Altarpiece. Broederlam
Wilton Diptych, unknown
Saint Mark, Donatello
Holy Trinity, Rublev
Gates of Paradise, Ghiberti
Expulsion Eden, Masaccio
Holy Trinity, Masaccio
Tribute Money, Masaccio
A Poet Reading, Master
Coronation of the Virgin, Fra Angelico
Battle of San Romano, Uccello
Battle of San Romano, Uccello
Battle of San Romano, Uccello

David, Donatello
Annuciation, Fra Angelico
Pietà, Quarton
Flagellation, della Francesca
Adoration Magi, Mantegna
Young Girl, Petrus
Christ Crowned, Messina
Last Judgment, Memling
Donne Triptych, Memling
Christ Keys, Perugino
Lamentation over the Dead Christ, Mantegna
Marriage of the Virgin, Perugino

The Early Renaissance in Art (aka Proto-Renaissance) refers to the shift away from Gothic and Romanesque. This had been presaged to some extent by Nicola and Giovanni Pisano, and Giotto in the Medieval Period [Link]. But it was primarily led by artists in Florence. One significant spark was the competition to sculpt a set of doors for the Baptistery of Florence Cathedral. This drew entries from seven young sculptors, among these was Brunelleschi and Donatello, though the ultimate winner proved to be Ghiberti Masaccio.


The movement sought a return to the classical approach, using a more figurative approach to reflect the general trends towards individualism and humanism. The period adopted a more three-dimensional approach to bodies and a more natural form to faces. It was the period when better perspectives were sought, with Uccello’s three Battle of San Romano paintings and would later inspire the scientific approach of Piero della Francesca.

[1312-10]


Image source: Wikimedia commons
  Ypres-born Melchior Broederlam was an important pioneer of the Netherlandish Renaissance. He became known for his stained glass art and goldsmithing, as well as his religious artworks.

The altarpiece was commissioned by Philip the Bold, Duke of Normandy, for the abbey of Champmol near Dijon. It was carved in wood by the Flemish sculptor Jacques de Baerze. Broederlam decorated the wings with panel paintings. The left-hand panel has The Annunciation and The Visitation, the right-hand panel has The Presentation of Christ and The Flight into Egypt.

Broederlam combined Gothic art with Italian pre-Renaissance, in the 15th c his trend-setting was expanded upon by Jan van Eyck, .
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Dijon Altarpiece1394-99Tempera/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Broederlam, Melchior1350-1409, aged 59Netherlands painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):[1312-11]

Musée des Beaux-Arts, Dijon France167 x 125  

Image source: joyofmuseums.com
 The Wilton Diptych is a small portable diptych of two hinged panels, painted on both sides.

It was painted for King Richard II of England, who is shown in the piece, kneeling before the Virgin and Child making this a donor portrait. He is supported by his patron saint, John the Baptist, and by King Edward the Confessor and King Edmund the Martyr. The Virgin is pictured with eleven angels.

The two panels are hinged so they can be closed to protect the paintings.

It is believed that Shakespeare might have seen the Diptych, and referenced it in his play Richard II.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Wilton Diptych1395-99Tempera/Baltic Oak woodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
unclear  Early Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-12]

National Gallery, London UK53 x 37 each  
Donatello was commissioned by the linen weavers’ guild to complete three pieces for the Orsanmichele church, Florence.

St. Mark was the first of his contributions and was originally to be placed in an exterior niche at the church. The niche was created by two stone carvers, Perfetto di Giovanni and Albizzo di Pietro. Today the marble statue is inside the museum of the church and a copy sits in the niche.

St Mark stands contraposto and is created with great realism and naturalism, for example the veins on his left hand are clearly defined. The draping of his clothing is also different to what went before it. However, the linen weavers guild rejected the statue because it felt his apparel looked unnatural. This was due to Donatello creatiing the head and torso disproportionately, mindful that the niche was set high above street level. Donatello said he would make adjustments, but simply placed it under a drape into the niche, he made no changes. A fortnight later he removed the drape and the guild, seeing it in situ in the niche, now accepted the statue.
Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Saint Mark1411-13MarbleSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi)c1386-1466, aged 80Italian sculptorEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-13]

Orsanmichele Church and Museum, Florence Italy263 (h)  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
This is considered to be the most famous of all Russian icons It is certainly Rublev’s most famous work, though some suggest his authorship is in doubt.

The icon is based upon the story from the Book of Genesis when the three angels depicted visited Abraham to advise that Sarah would soon deliver them of a son. But it applied symbolism to link it with the Holy Trinity.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Holy Trinity Icon
(aka The Hospitality of Abraham)
1411-25TemperaHistory painting / Icon
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Rublev, Andrei1360-c1430, aged 70Russian painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-14]

Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow Russia142 x 113  

Image source: florenceinferno.com
These bronze doors were produced for the Florence Baptistery by Lorenzo Ghiberti. It was Michelangelo who called them the Gates of Paradise. Ghiberti was trained as a goldsmith and sculptor, and established a workshop for sculpture in metal. His book, Commentarii, may be the earliest surviving autobiography by any artist.

The ten panels depict various Old Testament Bible stories. The left door top to bottom has Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The right door has Joseph, Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Gates of Paradise
(ten panels)
1425-52BronzeSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Ghiberti, Lorenzo1378-1455Italian artistEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-15]

Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence Italy   
This is a single fresco scene from the cycle painted around 1425 by Masaccio, Masolino and others on the walls of the Brancacci Chapel in the church of Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. This image shows the fresco after restoration.

It depicts the Genesis story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

Three centuries after the fresco was painted, Cosimo III de’ Medici, in line with the then ideas of decorum, ordered fig leaves to be added to conceal the genitals. The fig leaves were removed in the 1980s, when it was cleaned and restored.

This work is said to have inspired Domenico Ghirladaio and his student Michelangelo.

Image source : Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Expulsion from the Garden of Eden, The (Cacciata dei progenitori dall’Eden)1426FrescoHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Masaccio, Tommaso1401-1428, aged 27Italian painter FlorenceEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-16]

Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence Italy213 x 84  

Image source: wikimedia commons
The Holy Trinity, with the Virgin and Saint John and donors is a fresco by Masaccio, dated to some ime between 1425–1427; he died in late 1428 at the age of 26/27.

This painting was therefore one of his last major commissions, and is considered to be one of his masterpieces. It is located in the Dominican church of Santa Maria Novella, in Florence.

The fresco is thought to have been aligned precisely to the sight-lines and perspective arrangement of the room and a former entrance-way that faced the painting, so that this would enhance the tromp-l’œil effect.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Holy Trinity, The (Trinità)1428FrescoHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Masaccio, Tommaso1401-1428, aged 27Italian painter FlorenceEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-17]

Basilica of Santa Maria Novella, Florence Italy667 x 317  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Tribute Money is one of many frescoes in the Brancacci chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence. All of the frescoes in the chapel tell the story of the life of St. Peter. The story of the Tribute Money is told in three separate scenes within the same fresco, an approach described as continuous narrative.

The event is described in the Gospel of Matthew. Christ and his disciples are approached by a tax collector (central group), who demands money from them. Christ tells Peter to cast his net and look inside the mouth of his first catch. He does so (figure on the left) and finds a coin that is paid over to the collector (on the right), an account of a minor miracle. Using this technique Masaccio is able to make the event unfold upon the wall of the Brancacci chapel.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Tribute Money, The1428FrescoHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Masaccio, Tommaso di1401-1428, aged 27Italian painter FlorenceEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-18]

Santa Maria del Carmine, Brancacci Chapel, Florence Italy247 x 597  
This small engraving was created by an anonymous German artist who is considered to be one of the most important of the early engravers in the Rhineland.

The work is admired for its use of line and the realism of the human figure. Some of the decorative devices employed have been stylistically related to those used later by the printer Johannes Gutenberg.

Image source: nga.gov
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
A Poet Reading1430sEngvng/PprPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Master of the Playing Cardsactive 1430-55German artistEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-34]

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC USA13 x 9  
The Coronation of the Virgin was produced by Fra Angelico in 1432. This painting can be viewed at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
Image source: theartist.me
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Coronation of the Virgin1434-5Tempera on panelHistory painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Fra Angelico1395-1455, aged 59Italian painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):[1312-19]

Musée du Louvre, Paris213 x 211

Image source: Wikimedia commons
The Battle of San Romano is a set of three paintings by the Florentine painter Uccello depicting events that took place at the 1432 Battle of San Romano, between troops of the Republic of Florence and the Republic of Siena. The battle took place in Tuscany, 80kms NW of Florence and 75 kms north of Pisa.

These show the development of perspective in the period, and are based upon an unusual, for that time, secular commission, by a member of the Bartolini Salimbeni family.

The triptych was much admired, Lorenzo de’ Medici purchased one of the three and had the remaining two forcibly removed to the Palazzo Medici.

This first painting shows the condottiero Niccolò Mauruzi da Tolentino at the battle; a mercenray captain in charge of Milanese troops. He led the Florentine troops and won the battle.
Two years later he was captured and thrown into a ravine. He survived but died from his wounds.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Battle of San Romano (part of triptych)c1435-1460Tempera/PoplarHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Uccello, Paolo1397-1475, aged 78Italian painter FlorenceEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-20]

National Gallery, London UK73 x 177  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
In this painting Mauruzi da Tolentino is shown unseating the opposing condottiero Bernardino Ubaldini della Carda, who led the Sienese force.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Battle of San Romano (part of triptych)c1435-1460Tempera/PoplarHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Uccello, Paolo1397-1475, aged 78Italian painter FlorenceEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-21]

Uffizi Gallery, Florence Italy73 x 177  

Image source: wikimedia commons
The third painting shows the counterattack of another condottiero Michelotto da Cotignola, cousin to the Sforzas. His action was decisive in gaining victory for the Florentines.

The three are today separated – the first in the National Gallery London, the second in the Uffizi Florence amd the thrid is on show at the Louvre Paris.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Battle of San Romano (part of triptych)c1435-1460Tmpra/PoplarHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Uccello, Paolo1397-1475, aged 78Italian painter FlorenceEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-22]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France73 x 177  
David is the title of two Donatello statues of the biblical hero David.


The earlier work (above) was a clothed figure in marble, dated to 1408–09.

This is the more famous bronze figure, nude except for helmet and boots. It is the first unsupported standing work of bronze cast during the Renaissance, and the first freestanding nude male sculpture made since antiquity.

Both are now in the Museo Nazionale del Bargello in Florence.
Image source: wga.hu
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Davidc1440MarbleSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi)c1386-1466, aged 80Italian sculptorEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-23]

Museo Nazionale del Bargello, Florence Italy158 (h)  

Image source: wikimedia commons
When Cosimo de’ Medici rebuilt the Convent of San Marco in Florence, he commissioned Fra Angelico to decorate the walls with intricate frescos. This included the altarpiece, the inside of the monk’s cells, the friar’s cloister, the chapter house, and inside the corridors; around fifty pieces in total. All of the paintings were done by Angelico himself or under his direct supervision.

The Annunciation is the most well known of the frescoes. He is credited as the inventor of this type of composition, where Gabriel visits Mary in an outdoor setting. Gothic versions had Mary enthroned. Fra Angelico treats the figures so that they seem to float in the air, and his lines do not end in a vanishing point, making them appear a tad lopsided and rather disproportional.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Annunciation, The1440-45FrescoHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Fra Angelico (Guido di Pietro)c1395-1455, aged 60Italian painter FlorenceEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-24]

San Marco, Florence, Italy230 x 321  
This mid-15th century painting is considered one of the outstanding works of the late Middle Ages.

The Pietà, where the dead Christ is supported by his grieving mother, is a common theme of late-medieval religious art, but this is one of the most striking depictions. One observer suggested that it is ‘perhaps the greatest masterpiece produced in France in the 15th century.

The background falls away to a horizon broken by the buildings of Jerusalem, the sky is plain gold leaf with stamped and incised haloes, borders and inscriptions. The clerical sponor kneels to the left. The painting came from Villeneuve-lès-Avignon, just across the Rhône from Avignon

Following its appearance at an exhibition in 1904 its authorship was disputed, though it has since been accepted as the work of Enguerrand Quarton. It is now in the Musée du Louvre.

Image source: louvre.fr
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Pietà of Villeneuve-lès-Avignon1455Oil/PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Quarton, Enquerrand1410-1466, aged 56French painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-25]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France0  
The Flagellation of Christ takes as its theme the scourging of Christ by the Romans during his passion. Its composition is complex and unusual, and its iconography has been the subject of widely differing theories. It is admired for its use of linear perspective and the geometrical order of the composition.

The three figures in the foreground have been much discussed, as they appear to be disinterested in what is happening. The figure seated on theleft is usually assumed to be Pontius Pilate.

Kenneth Clark placed it on his personal list of the best ten paintings, calling it the greatest small painting in the world.
Image source – Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Flagellation of Christ1455-60Oil/TmpHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
della Francesca, Pieroc1415-1492, aged 77Italian painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-26]

Galleria Nazionale delle Marche, Urbino Italy58 x 82  

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
The Adoration of the Magi or Uffizi Triptych is a group of three tempera-on-panel paintings by Andrea Mantegna, dating to around 1460. Their three subjects are the Ascension of Christ, Adoration of the Magi (largest and central panel) and the Circumcision of Christ. They were gathered as a trio in the 19th century, although some art historians doubt that they were created as a triptych set in the way that they are now arranged.

The Magi are depicted descending to the Child’s grotto from a path carved in the rock. The Virgin is portrayed with a crown of angels, according to a Byzantine model. They are on show at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Adoration of the Magi (three panels)1462Tmpr/PnlHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Mantegna, Andrea1431-1506, aged 75Italian painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-27]

Uffizi Gallery,  Florence Italy76 x 76  
This painting was completed towards the end of Petrus’s life, between 1465 and 1470. It is said to marks a major stylistic advance in contemporary portraiture.

The girl is set in an airy, three-dimensional, realistic setting, and enigmatically stares out at the viewer, intelligent and alert, yet reserved.

One art historian described it as ‘a polished pearl, almost opalescent, lying on a cushion of black velvet.’

Petrus was trained by Jan van Eyck.

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Portrait of a Young Girl1465-1470Oil/OakPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Petrus, Christusactive from 1444Netherlands painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-28]

Gemäldegalerie, Berlin29 x 23  

Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Arts
 This Sicilian painter is considered as a pioneer of oil painting, a technique he learned as an apprentice to Niccolo Colantonio.

As the title makes clear, the painting depicts Christ as he appeared with the Crown of Thorns (Matthew 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:2) either just prior to, or at the moment when Pilate shows him to the people with the words “Ecce Homo” (“Behold the Man!”) (John 19:5). The theme of “Christ Crowned with Thorns” also sometimes refers to “a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.” (Isaiah 53:3).
[Source: visual-arts-cork.com]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Christ Crowned with Thorns (Ecce Homo)1470Oil/Tempera/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Messina, Antonelllo da1430-1479, aged 49Italian painter, SicilianEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-29]

Metropolitan Museum of Art43 x 31  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
 The triptych depicts the Last Judgment during the second coming of Christ, the central panel showing Jesus sitting in judgment on the world, while St Michael the Archangel is weighing souls and driving the damned towards Hell (the sinner at St. Michael’s right-hand is a donor portrait of Tommaso Portinari). The left hand panel showing the saved being guided into heaven by St Peter and the angels. The right-hand panel showing the damned being dragged to Hell.

It was commissioned by Angelo Tani,[1] an agent of the Medici at Bruges, but was captured at sea by Paul Beneke, a privateer from Danzig. A lengthy lawsuit against the Hanseatic League demanded its return to Italy. It was placed in the Basilica of the Assumption but in the 20th century it was moved to its present location – the National Museum in Gdańsk in Poland.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Last Judgment Triptych, The1471Oil/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Memling, Hans1430-1494, aged 64Flemish painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-30]

Muzeum Narodowe, Gdańsk, Poland221 x 161  

Image source: wga.hu
Commissioned by courtier and soldier Sir John Donne, the central panel shows him kneeling before the Virgin and Christ Child facing his wife Elizabeth and one of their daughters. With them are Saints Catherine and Barbara, two of the most popular medieval saints.

The wings show Donne’s patron saints, John the Baptist and John the Evangelist. On the outside of the wings Saints Christopher and Anthony Abbot are shown as stone statues in niches.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Donne Triptych1477-80Oil/OakHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Memling, Hans1430-1494, aged 64Flemish painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-31]

National Gallery, London UK71 x 31  
Pope Sixtus IV commission Perogino to decorate a new Chapel he had built in the Vatican Palace. Due to the size of the work, Perugino was joined by a group of painters from Florence, including Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and others.

The scene, part of the series of the Stories of Jesus on the chapel’s northern wall, is a reference to Matthew 16 in which Jesus says he will give ‘the keys of the kingdom of heaven’ to Saint Peter. These keys represent the power to forgive and to share the word of God thereby giving them the power to allow others into heaven.
Image Source: Wikimedia Commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Christ Handing the Keys of the Kingdom to St. Peter1481-2FrescoHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Perugino, Pietro1446-1523, aged 77Italian painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  [1312-32]

Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City335 x 350  
Image source: Wikimedia commonsLamentation over the Dead Christ – the dating of the piece is debated, it was completed between 1475-1501, probably early 1480s. It portrays the body of Christ supine on a marble slab, watched over by the Virgin Mary, Saint John and Mary Magdalene weeping for his death. Mantegna may have made this painting for his personal funerary chapel. It was found by his sons in his studio after his death, but sold off to pay debts. [Source: Wikipedia]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Lamentation over the Dead Christc1480Tempera/CanvasHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Mantegna, Andrea1431-1506, aged 75Italian painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1312-33]

Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan Italy68 x 81
Marriage of the Virgin a painting by the Italian Renaissance master Perugino, although it is now sometimes attributed to his pupil Lo Spagna. Initially commissioned to Pinturicchio for the recently completed cathedral of Perugia, Perugino took over the commission and finished the work around 1500–1504, probably after several periods of stasis.
Later, in 1797, the picture was looted by Napoleon and was subsequently taken to Caen, Normandy.

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Marriage of the Virgin1500-1504Oil/WoodHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Perugino, Pietro1446-1523, aged 77Italian painterEarly Renaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):
Musée des Beaux-Arts, Caen234 x 185

Forward to 1.3.1.3 Renaissance 1400-1600
Back to 1.3.1.1 Sienese School – Back to 1.3.1 Renaissance Index

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.