The time that immediately followed the Medieval period in Europe is known for its revival in classical learning and the values of the ancient Greeks and Romans. At a time of growing prosperity together with better political stability, new technologies were being invented, such as the printing press, and it was a time of exploration and discovery with new continents being discovered and a new astronomical system being developed. At the same time, literature and philosophy began to flourish, as did art. The sculptures and paintings known as Renaissance works date back to the period between the late 14th century and the early 16th century. The works were produced by skilled Italian masters whose names are still famous today – Leonard da Vinci, Raphael and Michelangelo being just three of them. Here are the most famous renaissance Italy artists.
Leonardo da Vinci
One of the most famous painters of all time, Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 and died in 1519. He was not only a painter, but also a scientist, inventor and architect, and he is considered to be a natural genius. Despite his many interests, he is best known as an artist, and two of his paintings are among the best known works today, The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. Da Vinci mostly educated himself, filling dozens of notebooks with his theories, observations and inventions, and while he was praised as a talented artists during his lifetime, it was not until much later that his true genius was fully appreciated.
Born in 1475, Michelangelo is best known as a sculptor and painter, however he was also an architect too. He is now believed to be one of the best artists from the Italian Renaissance era, and possibly even of all time. His works show a level of intensity, physical realism and psychological insight that had never been seen before during his lifetime. Even his contemporaries recognized that he was extraordinarily talented, and he was commissioned by many powerful and wealthy people of his day, including the Pope. His David and Pieta sculptures are known throughout the world, while his Sistine Chapel ceiling is visited by thousands of visitors every year.
Raphael is one of the leading figures in the Italian Renaissance, and even today he is well known for producing his “Madonnas” as well as for his works that are displayed in the Vatican in Rome. Born in 1483, Raphael was apprenticed to Perugino in 1504 and lived in Florence between 1504 and 1507 when he began painting his series of “Madonnas”. Between 1509 and 1511, he was in Rome, painting frescoes in the Vatican Palace and in 1514, he was hired to be the pope’s chief architect. He is best known for his Sistine Madonna, which was his last work in that series. After his sudden and mysterious death at the age of only 37 in 1520, Raphael’s legacy lived on. His Mannerism movement influenced Italian painting styles into the Baroque period. He is still regarded today as one of art’s leading figures.