When people talk about masterpieces of Italian art, they often make reference to the Renaissance as a turning point and the point of reference for the majority of the Western artists.
The Renaissance began in the early 15th century and covered a period of time of two centuries, up to the end of the 16th century, just to make it clear.
The city symbol of the Renaissance is Florence, when in 1401 a competition to build the second door for the Baptistery of the city was announced. Lorenzo Ghiberti was awarded the commission, and in his work he summarized the new Renaissance principles bound revolutionize the destiny of Western art: perspective, proportions and anatomy.
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The word Renaissance refers to the “rebirth” of art and classical culture which, starting from the 15th century, affected all the disciplines, marking an evident break with the previous period of time that we all know as the Middle Ages.
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Before the 15th century it seemed that Western Europe had forgotten the beauty of Greek and Roman sculptures, and painting had become the mirror of a supernatural world where figures didn’t have emotions and were located in an unreal space, but thanks to the Renaissance antique art became a model again.
In a sense, the fall of the Roman Empire had impoverished art, making it less elegant and without any search for beauty.
In the 15th century some personalities stood out on the artistic scene, ready to revolutionise the rules of art: Masaccio for painting, Brunelleschi for architecture and Donatello for sculpture. In addition, the conquests made in the field of art were described by Leon Battista Alberti, architect and humanist, author of three essays which are still today an important point of reference to understand the revolutionary impact of the Renaissance.
Perspective, proportion and anatomy are the basic elements of the Renaissance, appeared in a phase of profound change in the way people conceived art, which became mirror of reality, which now could be measured and described according to mathematical rules.
Man is capable of understanding the world through scientific and universal rules, and putting himself in the middle of any reflection and any representation.
The Renaissance revolution doesn’t finish in a short time, but is the result of several achievements, which make room in artworks for human emotions, and little by little people prefer portraits of illustrious men to portraits of saints.
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