Renaissance, which includes the painting, sculpture, and decorative arts, was born in Italy and spread throughout Europe between the 14th and 16th centuries, inspired by ancient Greek and Roman cultures. After the medieval art with its muted colours and rigid religious control, artists addressed the Byzantium (Early Renaissance) and Romanesque (High Renaissance) art style with its glorification of nature and the beauty of the human body. The influence of sciences, philosophy, literature, and music, the development of oil paint, and the increasing exchange of information in Europe evoked artists’ interest in classical times, scholarship, and values. The view of the human being became more individualistic. The faith in the nobility of man took a central position in the art, though it went together with the idealization and beatification of the human body.
Renaissance artists mastered illusionistic painting techniques such as linear perspective, foreshortening, and quadratura that maximized ‘depth’ (three-dimensional space) in paintings. Unlike the Middle Ages art, aimed at decorating churches and supported by the clergy, Renaissance was commissioned by noble and rich families.
For sculptors, marble and bronze were the main materials for realization of their creative ideas, whereas painters worked on plaster walls or wood. Fresco (or murals) was the prevalent type of painting done by Renaissance artists. They mixed pigments with water and applied it onto plaster walls. Other artists preferred to paint on wood with tempera paints, which were made of pigments mixed with egg yolk as a binder.
Among the landmark pieces of Renaissance, there are “The Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci, “David” by Michelangelo, “Portrait of a Lady” by Rogier van der Weyden, “The Sistine Madonna” by Raphael, “The Assumption of the Virgin” by Titian, “The Birth of Venus” by Sandro Botticelli, “Sleeping Venus” by Giorgione, and “The Kiss of Judas” by Giotto.