Renaissance Art (1400–1600)
This style of painting, sculpture, and decorative art was characterized by a focus on nature and individualism, the thought of man as independent and self-reliant. Though these ideals were present in the late Medieval period, they flourished in the 15th and 16th centuries, paralleling social and economic changes like secularization.
The Renaissance reached its height in Florence, Italy, due in large part to the Medici, a wealthy merchant family who adamantly supported the arts and humanism, a variety of beliefs and philosophies that places emphasis on the human realm. Italian designer Filippo Brunelleschi and sculptor Donatello were key innovators during this period.
The High Renaissance, which lasted from 1490 to 1527, produced influential artists such as da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael, each of whom brought creative power and spearheaded ideals of emotional expression. Artwork throughout the Renaissance was characterized by realism, attention to detail, and precise study of human anatomy. Artists used linear perspective and created depth through intense lighting and shading. Art began to change stylistically shortly after the High Renaissance, when clashes between the Christian faith and humanism gave way to Mannerism.