The art of the late 1400s and early 1500s
Outstanding representatives of the art of the late 1400s and early 1500s were three masters. These were Michelangelo, Raphael and Leonardo da Vinci.
Michelangelo was an outstanding painter, architect and poet. In addition, he was named the greatest sculptor in history. Michelangelo was a master of the image of the human body. For example, his famous statue of the leader of the Israeli people Moses (1516) makes an extraordinary impression of physical and spiritual power. These qualities also appear in frescoes on biblical and classical subjects that Michelangelo painted on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. These murals, painted from 1508 to 1512, belong to the greatest works of art of the Renaissance.
Italian Art and Painting – “David” by Michelangelo
“David” by Michelangelo
Raphael’s paintings are generally softer and poetic than Michelangelo’s. Raphael was a master at creating perspectives and the delicate use of color. He painted several beautiful images of the Madonna (Virgin Mary) and many outstanding portraits. One of his greatest works is the Athens School fresco. Classical Greek and Roman models influenced this picture. It depicts the great philosophers and scientists of ancient Greece against the background of classical arches. Thus, Raphael established a connection between the culture of antiquity and the Italian culture of his time.
Leonardo da Vinci painted two of the most famous works of Renaissance art: the fresco “The Last Supper” and a portrait of Mona Lisa. Leonardo possessed one of the most inquiring minds in all history. He wanted to know how everything he saw in nature worked. On more than 4,000 pages of his notes, he drew detailed diagrams and recorded his observations. Leonardo created detailed drawings of human skeletons and muscles, trying to find out how the body works. Thanks to his inquiring mind, Leonardo became a symbol of the spirit of learning and the intellectual curiosity of the Renaissance.
The creator of High Renaissance architecture was Donato Bramante, who came to Rome in 1499 at the age of 55. His first Roman masterpiece, Tempietto (1502) in San Pietro in Montorio, is a centralized dome structure reminiscent of classical temple architecture. Pope Julius II chose Bramante as the papal architect, and together they developed a plan to replace the old St. Peter’s Basilica of the IV century with a new cathedral of gigantic proportions. However, this project was completed only long after the death of Bramante.
Humanistic research continued under the auspices of the powerful popes of the High Renaissance, Julius II and Leo X, as well as the development of polyphonic music. The Sistine Chorus, which performed at services when the pope performed services, attracted musicians and singers from all over Italy and northern Europe. Among the most famous composers who were its members were Josquin de Pre and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina.
Mannerism was an elegant and refined style. He flourished in Florence, where his leading representatives were Giorgio Vasari and Bronzino. This style was presented in the French courtyard thanks to Rosso Fiorentino and Francesco Primaticcio. Tintoretto, a Venetian artist, was also influenced by this style.
The mannerist approach to painting also influenced other forms of art.
In architecture, the work of the Italian architect Giulio Romano is a prime example. The Italian Benvenuto Cellini and Jambolon, born in Flanders, were the main representatives of this style in sculpture.
Some historians consider this period a decline of Classicism of the High Renaissance or even an intermediate period between the High Renaissance and Baroque, and in this case, the dates are usually called from about 1520 to 1600, and it refers to a specific style that is full in nature.
Baroque and Rococo art
Italian art and painting – “The Calling of St. Matthew” by Caravaggio
The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio
At the beginning of the XVII century, Rome became the center of the restoration of Italian dominance in art. In Parma, Antonio da Correggio decorated church vaults with lively images, softly floating in the clouds – this work had a significant impact on the ceiling paintings of the Baroque era. Vigorous contrasting paintings by Caravaggio and dynamic, illusionistic paintings of the Bologna family of Carracci laid the foundation for the Baroque period in Italian art. Domenicino, Francesco Albani, and later Andrea Sacci were among those who complemented the art of Carracci with classic premises.
On the other hand, Guido Reni, Gverchino, Orazio Gentileschi, Giovanni Lanfranco, and later Pietro da Cortona and Andrea Pozzo, despite careful preparation in a classic allegorical manner, were initially inclined to write dynamic compositions full of gesturing figures in a manner close to Caravaggio. The great virtuoso of the abundance and grandeur of baroque in sculpture and architecture was Gian Lorenzo Bernini.