1.3.1.3 – Renaissance 1400-1600

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QUICK LINKS
Bapitism of Christ, della Francesca
Equestrian Statue, Donatello
Charles VII, Fouquet
Melun Dyptych, Fouquet
David with Goliath’s Head, Castagno
Legend of the Cross, della Francesca
Penitent Magdalene, Donatello
Self Portrait/Resurrection, della Francesca
Federico Sforza, della Francesca
Hunt in the Forest, Uccello
Portrait of a Man, da Messina
St George Dragon, Uccello
Annunciation, Da Vinci
Ginevra de’ Benci, Da Vinci
Camera delgi Sposi, Mantegna
Self-Portrait (Diptych), Fouquet
Giuliano de’ Medici, Botticelli
Primavera, Botticelli
Idealized Portrait, Botticelli
Lamentation, Mantegna
Madonna of the Magnificat, Botticelli

The Renaissance contributed to a political development of customs and conventions for diplomacy, and in science it moved the thinking on to observation and inductive reasoning. It saw revolutions in many intellectual and social scientific pursuits, introduced modern banking and the established accounting principles.

However, it is best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of polymaths, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, the origin of the term ‘Renaissance man’.

As a artisitc movement in heralded a return to classical approaches and the development of linear perspective and other techniques for rendering a more natural reality in painting. Renaissance in art is said to have commenced after 1400.

[1313-10]


Image Source: nationalgalleryimages.co.uk
Piero was the first artist to write a treatise on perspective – that is, creating an illusion of three-dimensional space on a flat surface.

Here, he has painted objects in proportion, so that they appear as we see them in real life. This emphasises the depth of the landscape, but also the harmony of the figures and natural features within it.

Christ stands in a shallow, winding stream as John the Baptist pours a small bowl of water over his head. Three angels in colourful robes witness the event. The Holy Ghost is shown here as a dove flying over Christ’s head and towards us.

This painting was made for the small chapel dedicated to Saint John the Baptist in the Camaldolese abbey of Piero’s hometown, Borgo Sansepolcro.
[Source: The National Gallery, London]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Baptism of Christ, The1440-50Tmpa/WdHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
della Francesca, Pieroc1415-1492, aged 77Italian painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-11]

National Gallery, London UK167 x 116  
The Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata is a sculpture by Donatello, today it is located in the Piazza del Santo in Padua, Italy. It portrays the Renaissance condottiero Erasmo da Narni, known as ‘Gattamelata, who served mostly under the Republic of Venice, which ruled Padua at the time.

After Gattamelata’s death in 1443, some sources suggest that the Republic of Venice, as a sign of gratitude and respect, paid for this sculpture in his honour, others dispute this. It is the earliest extant Renaissance equestrian statue and the first to reintroduce the grandeur of Classical equestrian portraiture.

Image source: wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Equestrian Statue of Gattamelata1444-1453BronzeSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi)c1386-1466, aged 80Italian sculptorRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-12]

Piazza del Santo, Padova, Italy340 x 390  

Image source: louvre.fr
Jean Fouquet, the creator of the celebrated Melun Diptych (see below), also painted this half-length, life-size portrait of King Charles VII (reigned 1422-61). It was painted either just after the truce of Tours (1444), or following the French victory at Formigny (1450).

The king is painted almost face-on, as if through a window edged with curtains. His hands are clasped, and rest on what appears to be a prie-dieu.

He is looking out of the portrait to the right of the viewer, whom he is ignoring. He is simply dressed, although the fabric of his robe appears to be elegant and warm. No royal emblems or insignia are visible on his clothes or surroundings. In its realism, fine detail, colour and geometrical composition, the work is considered to be one of the greatest portrait paintings of the French school.
[Source: visual-arts-cork.com]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Charles VII of France, Portrait1445-50Oil/PanelPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Fouquet, Jean1420-1481, aged 61French painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-13]

Musée du Louvre, Paris France85 x 70  

Image source: Wikimedia commons

Image source: Wikimedia commons
The Melun Diptych is a two-panel oil painting by French court painter Jean Fouquet, originally for the Collegiate Church of Notre-Dame in Melun.

The left panel depicts Etienne Chevalier with his patron saint St. Stephen

It is now today at the Staatliche Museen in Berlin.
The right panel depicts the Virgin and Christ child, surrounded by cherubim. She is a virgo lactans or breast-feeding Madonna, a common theme, but the feeding has stopped.

The two panels were hinged together but are today separated, this panel is at the Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp, Belgium
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Melun Diptych1450-55Oil/PanelPortraits x 2
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Fouquet, Jean1420-1481, aged 61French painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-14]

Royal Museum of Fine Arts, Antwerp93 x 95  

Image source: akg-images.com
 The subject of David and Goliath was appropriate for 15th c Florentines. The city saw itself as the young David, the smallest political power on the Italian peninsula. They were facing many Goliaths – the Pope, the Duke of Milan, the King of Naples, and the Doge of Venice.

In Castagno’s shield, David is depicted preparing to attack Goliath, having already chosen a smooth stone from the riverbank for his sling. The conclusion appears at the bottom of the shield; the terrible giant’s severed head, with the stone embedded in its forehead, lies at David’s feet as a warning to any potential enemies of Florence.
[Source: nga.gov]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
David with Goliath’s Head1450-5Tmpra/Lthr/WdHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Castagno, Andrea del1429-1457, aged 28Italian painter, FlorenceRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-15]

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC USA116 x 77  
In the main choir chapel (Cappella Maggiore) of San Francesco church in Arezzo, Piero della Francesca painted a fresco cycle narrating the stories of the True Cross – the cross on which Christ was crucified.

The subject-matter of the stories illustrated by Piero is drawn from Jacobus de Voragine’s ‘Golden Legend’, a 13th century text that recounts the miraculous story of the wood of Christ’s Cross.

The story tells how Adam, on his deathbed, sends his son Seth to Archangel Michael, who gives him some seedlings from the tree original sin to be placed in his father’s mouth at the moment of his death. The tree that grows on the patriarch’s grave is chopped down by King Solomon and its wood, which could not be used for anything else, is thrown across a stream to serve as a bridge. The Queen of Sheba, on her journey to see Solomon and hear his words of wisdom, is about to cross the stream, when by a miracle she learns that the Saviour will be crucified on that wood. She kneels in devout adoration.

When Solomon discovers the nature of the divine message received by the Queen of Sheba, he orders that the bridge be removed and the wood, which will cause the end of the kingdom of the Jews, be buried. But the wood is found and, after a second premonitory message, becomes the instrument of the Passion. [Source: wga.hu]

Image source: travelingintuscany.com
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Legend of the True Cross, The1452-66FrescoHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
della Francesca, Pieroc1415-1492, aged 77Italian painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-16]

Basilica San Francesco, Arezzo Italy10 episodes c390 x 747  

Image source: buildingcatholicculture.com
The Penitent Magdalene is a wooden sculpture of Mary Magdalene by Donatello. The sculpture was probably commissioned for the Baptistery of Florence.

The white poplar wooden piece was received with astonishment for its unprecedented realism.

It is now in the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo in Florence.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Penitent Magdalene, The1453-5Painted WoodSculpture
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi)c1386-1466, aged 80Italian sculptorRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-30]

Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, Florence Italy188 (h)  

Image source: Wikimedia commons

Image source: travelingintuscany.com
della Francesca’s Resurrection fresco, was painted in the 1460s at the Palazzo della Residenza in the town of Sansepolcro, Tuscany, Italy.

Placed high on the interior wall facing the entrance, the fresco has for its subject an allusion to the name of the city (meaning “Holy Sepulchre”), derived from the presence of two relics of the Holy Sepulchre carried by two pilgrims in the 9th century. The hall was used solely by Conservatori, the chief magistrates and governors, who before starting their councils, would pray before the image.

Giorgio Vasari, the great sixteenth century art historian and painter, believed that Piero included his own self-portrait in his Ressurection fresco.

Vasari suggested that the face of the sleeping soldier in brown armour was a self-portrait of Piero. The guard holds a lance and is depicted sitting in an anatomically impossible pose, and appears to have no legs. Piero probably left them out so as not to break the balance of the composition.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Resurrection/Self Portrait c1463-5Tempera Portrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
della Francesca,
Piero
c1415-1492, aged 77Italian painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-17]

Museo Civico di Sansepolcro, Via Niccolo’ Aggiunti, 65, 52037 Sansepolcro AR225 x 200  
One of the most celebrated portraits of the Italian Renaissance, the diptych features the Duke of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro (1422-1482) and his wife Battista Sforza (1446-1472).

In the tradition of the 14th c, inspired by the design of ancient coins, the two figures are shown in profile, an angle that is considered to ensure a good likeness and a faithful representation of facial details without allowing their sentiments to show through.
[Source: uffizi.it]

Image source: uffizi.it

TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Federico da Montefeltro e Battista Sforza, Portraits of (Diptych)1467-72Tempera Portrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
della Francesca,
Piero
c1415-1492, aged 77Italian painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-18]

Uffizi Gallery,  Florence Italy47 x 33 each  


Image source: ashmolean.org
 Paolo di Dono was celebrated in his lifetime as a master of perspective, and of animals and landscape; his nickname, Uccello (‘Bird’), alludes to his depictions of the natural world. He was a versatile designer, working at times on mosaic and stained glass commissions and all of these interests are fused in this masterpiece.

As a nocturnal landscape and as a brilliantly structured composition, The Hunt is a highly original painting. In its size and shape it is a spalliera painting, to be viewed at shoulder height. The original client is unknown, but the painting was clearly intended for a luxurious domestic setting, perhaps in Urbino where Uccello worked for a time from 1465, or in Florence about 1470.

Gold flecks in the foliage of the trees would have complemented the bright colours of the figures against the dark forest, making the painting even more beautiful when viewed by candlelight.
[Source: ashmolean.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Hunt in the Forestc1470OilHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Uccello, Paolo (aka Paolo de Dono)1397-1475, aged 78Italian painter FlorenceRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-19]

Ashmolean Museum, Oxford UK65 x 165  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
 This small painting shows how Antonello revolutionised Venetian portraiture in the late fifteenth century: the three-quarter pose, dark background and strong lighting are all innovations from Northern Europe which focus attention entirely on the man’s face.

By building up colour through layers of varied shades he was able to emphasise the volume and contours of the face using colour, rather than harsh lines. The glossiness of the oil paint adds shine to the man’s eyes so they look as if they are catching the light.
[Source: nationalgallery.org.uk]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Man, Portrait of a 1470Oil/WoodPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
da Messina, Antonello1430-1479, aged 49Italian painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-20]

National Gallery, London UK27 x 21  
Gothicizing tendencies in Paolo Uccello’s art are nowhere more apparent than in this painting. It shows a scene from the famous story of Saint George and the Dragon. On the right, George is spearing the beast, and on the left, the princess is using her belt as a leash to take the dragon up to the town.

The eye in the storm gathering on the right of Saint George is lined up with his spear showing there has been divine intervention.

An earlier less dramatic version of the same subject by the Italian artist is in the Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
St George and the Dragon1470OilHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Uccello, Paolo1397-1475, aged 78Italian painter FlorenceRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-21]

National Gallery, London UK56 x 74  

Image source: artsandculture.google.com
 The work’s subject matter is drawn from Luke 1.26–39; it depicts the angel Gabriel, sent by God to announce to a virgin, Mary, that she would miraculously conceive and give birth to a son, to be named Jesus, and to be called “the Son of God” whose reign would never end. The subject of the annunciation was very popular for artworks and had been depicted many times in Florentine art, including several examples by the Early Renaissance painter Fra Angelico. The details of its commission and its early history remain obscure. It is housed in the Uffizi gallery of Florence Italy.
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Annunciation1472-5Oil/Tempera/PanelHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
da Vinci, Leonardo1452-1519, aged 67Italian painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-22]

Uffizi Gallery,  Florence Italy98 x 217  
The portrait depicts Ginevra at sixteen, when she is known to have had several admirers who composed poetry in her honour. Among them was Lorenzo de’Medici, whose elite family was known for its art patronage.

At this time a well-born girl’s virtue was prized and guarded, and a girl’s beauty was thought to be a sign of goodness. She is depicted with flawless chalk-white skin, porcelain-fine features, and a reserved, somewhat impenetrable expression. Young women of the time were expected to comport themselves with dignity and modesty.

Image source: wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Ginevra de’ Benci1474-8Oil/PanelPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
da Vinci, Leonardo1452-1519, aged 67Italian painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-23]

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC USA38 x 37  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
Mantegna has been described as keen for his independence; yet entered the service of the marchese di Montova (Mantua), Ludovico Gonzaga. He was forced to submit to limitations on his freedom of travel and acceptance of commissions from other patrons. Despite such restrictions, Mantegna journeyed to Florence and Pisa to stay in touch with developments in art.

This is his best-known surviving work in the Palazzo Ducale at Mantua. For the Camera degli Sposi, Mantegna used highly realistic painted architectural elements on walls and ceilings, which from ground level convincingly imitated three-dimensionally extended shapes.
[Source: brittanica.com]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Camera delgi Sposi (Ceiling Frescos)1474FrescoHistory Painting
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Mantegna, Andrea1431-1506, aged 75Italian painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-24]

Palazzo Ducale, Mantua, Italy810 x 810  
Fouquet was a master of panel painting and manuscript illumination, and the apparent inventor of the portrait miniature. He is considered one of the most important painters from the period between the late Gothic and early Renaissance. He was the first French artist to travel to Italy and experience first-hand the early Italian Renaissance.

This is considered by art historians to be the earliest portrait miniature, and possibly the earliest formal self-portrait.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: geni.com
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Self-Portrait (Diptych)1478-81Enamel/CopperPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Fouquet, Jean1420-1481, aged 61French painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-25]

Now split between Berlin and Antwerp museums6 cm dia  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
This was probably painted just before Giuliano Medici was assassinated in the Pazzi Conspiracy of 1478.

Giuliano, the younger brother of Lorenzo, was nursing a bad knee on Easter Day 1478 and had to be helped to the cathedral, by the very men who were plotting to kill him and his brother during mass. The assassins, members and supporters of the Pazzi family, banking rivals of the Medici, awaited their signal. As worshipers bowed their heads at the elevation of the host, Giuliano was brutally stabbed. Lorenzo escaped to the sacristy, remaining there while the Pazzi partisans attempted to seize the government. They failed and Lorenzo resumed control.

It belongs to the Berlin State Museums, but ison show at the Gemäldegalerie, Berlin.
[Source: nga.gov]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Giuliano de’ Medici1478-80Tempera/PanelPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Botticelli, Sandro1445-1510, aged 65Italian painter FlorenceRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-26]

National Gallery of Art, Washington DC USA76 x 53  
This large panel painting has been described as ‘one of the most written about, and most controversial paintings in the world’, and also ‘one of the most popular paintings in Western art’.

The painting depicts a group of figures from classical mythology in a garden, but no story has been found that brings this particular group together.

Most critics agree that the painting is an allegory based on the lush growth of Spring, but accounts of any precise meaning vary, though many involve the Renaissance Neoplatonism which fascinated intellectual circles in Florence. The subject was first described as Primavera by the art historian Giorgio Vasari who saw it at Villa Castello, just outside Florence, before 1550.
[Source: Wikimedia commons]

Image source: Wikimedia commons
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Primavera1478TemperaLandscape
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Botticelli, Sandro1445-1510, aged 65Italian painter FlorenceRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-27]

Uffizi Gallery,  Florence Italy202 x 314  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
It is thought that the subject of the painting was Simonetta Vespucci. Many believed her to be the most beautiful woman in Florence at this time. She became the love interest of Giuliano de’ Medici.

Her appearance is quite stylised and lavish, with ribbons, feathers and what appears to be a wig. This is thought to be elaborate and unrealistic by the standards of Florence in the 15th century.
[Source: sandro-botticelli.org]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Idealized Portrait of a Lady (Portrait of Simonetta Vespucci as Nymph)1480Oil/WoodPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Botticelli, Sandro1445-1510, aged 65Italian painter FlorenceRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-28]

Städel Museum, Frankfurt Germany54 x 82  
Considered by art historians to be ne of the greatest Renaissance paintings of the quattrocento, this tempera painting is probably the most famous example of foreshortening in the history of art.

Also known simply as The Dead Christ, it shows the corpse of Christ lying on a marble slab, watched over by the grieving Virgin Mary and Saint John, who are weeping for his death.
[Source: visual-arts-cork.com]

Image source: pinacotecabrera.org
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Lamentation over the Dead Christc1480Oil/CnvPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Mantegna, Andrea1431-1506, aged 75Italian painterRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms): [1313-29]

Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan Italy68 x 81  

Image source: Wikimedia commons
The Virgin Mary, crowned by two angels, is depicted on a throne. Under the guidance of her son, she is writing the canticle “Magnificat anima mea Dominum” (My soul doth magnify the Lord), which gives the painting its title.

Jesus is sitting in his mother’s lap, touching a pomegranate, a fruit with many symbolic meanings, and whose red seeds recall the blood shed by Jesus to save humankind.

The scene takes place before a window that opens out onto a bright, peaceful country landscape; above, the Serena stone frame creates a division between the kingdom of Heaven and the earth.

Here the angels, as in various other works by Botticelli, are without wings.
[Source: uffizi.it]
TITLE:YEAR:FORM:GENRE:
Madonna of the Magnificat, The1480-1Tempera/PanelPortrait
ARTIST:DATES:ORIGIN:MOVEMENT:
Botticelli, Sandro1445-1510, aged 65Italian painter FlorenceRenaissance
LOCATION:SIZE (cms):  
Uffizi Gallery,  Florence Italy118 x 119  

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