Renaissance Painters of Florence, Italy


  Comune di Firenze
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Florence - The Birthplace of the Renaissance

The Renaissance was a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that began at the end of the 14th century and lasted two hundred years. It marked the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe.  

The word renaissance means “rebirth”. The cultural ideals were grounded in a revisitation of ancient arts and sciences and fueled by a desire to study and capture the essence of the natural world and the human condition. The Renaissance had its beginnings in Italy in the region of Tuscany, centered in the city of Florence.

Italian Renaissance artists, seeking to depict the natural world infused with humanity, rendered idealized forms that suggested a spiritual significance and beauty. This style, exemplified in works of Florentine art, flourished largely because of financial support from wealthy citizens and the church. The works of art were appealing to Renaissance men and women because they focused on an ideal humanity, and the desire to revive the beauty of the ancient classics grew to be a fashionable cause in Florence. The community support allowed the artists of Florence to produce the wealth of art that we cherish today, and paved the way for the Renaissance to spread into the rest of Europe. The artists, specifically painters, at the forefront of this phenomenon are among the most famous names in the world of art: Boticelli, Michelangelo, and DaVinci.


Botticelli, Sandro  - (1445-1510)

Born Alessandro di Mariano Filipepi in Florence, Botticelli was apprenticed to a goldsmith. He studied with the painter Fra Filippo Lippi and shortly afterward became a protégé of the Medici family. His appealing Medici family portraits earned him the role of principal painter for the powerful family. Along with these family portraits, Boticelli painted many religious paintings and paintings illustrating Greek and Roman legends – the most famous being The Birth of Venus (c. 1485-86). Botticelli was a friend of both Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci.


Buonarotti, Michelangelo – (1475-1564)

Although born in the village of Caprese, Michelangelo considered himself a "son of Florence". His father vehemently tried to discourage Michelangelo’s love for art. Michelangelo was sent to a school to learn grammar, but there he met a fellow student who was studying painting with a prominent artist, Ghirlandaio. His father was outraged when Michelangelo told him he was going to apprentice in the artist’s workshop. Michelangelo went on to study other forms of art, primarily sculpture at a school in the Medici gardens, and was soon invited to be a protégé of Lorenzo de Medici, the Magnificent and the powerful Medici family. Unlike many artists, Michelangelo’s fame came to him while he was still alive. He paid a price, however, often being caught between the Medici family and the papacy in Rome. Both commissioned him as an artist, making his art more political than he would prefer. Although some of his greatest masterpieces came form his work as a sculptor, like the statue of David and the Pieta, he is revered as one of the greatest painters of the Renaissance. For many, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican is his greatest achievement as a painter.


DaVinci, Leonardo – (1452-1519)

DaVinci was born in Florence. He grew up in his father’s home and was exposed to a long-standing tradition of painting. At 14, he started an apprenticeship in the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, the most respected artist in Florence at the time. DaVinci learned much from Verrochio, but soon surpassed his teacher’s talents and established a studio of his own. DaVinci focused mainly on religious paintings during this period. Taking note of DaVinci’s rising popularity and obvious genius, the Duke of Milan commissioned DaVinci to work on various projects. For the next 17 years, DaVinci worked in service of the Duke. However, his interests were so broad (painting, drafting, sculpting, engineering, and architecture) that he often moved from project to project without finishing many. In the 17 years with the Duke, he only completed six pieces, including The Last Supper (c. 1498), one of his most famous paintings. This masterpiece and his Mona Lisa (c. 1506), probably the most famous and recognizable painting in the world,  are among the most influential paintings of the Renaissance.






       Florence, Italy




The Birth of Venus (c.1485-86)




   Segment of The Sistene Chapel




         The Last Supper (c. 1498)