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Things you may not know about Renaissance paintings

The School of Athens - Raffaello

Renaissance is a term used to refer to the period from the fourteenth to the seventeenth centuries in Europe, the middle time between the Middle Ages and the Modern period. This was the period when the Renaissance cultural movement appeared from Florence (Italy) and then spread all over Europe.

In particular, the biggest task of culture in this period is to revive the ancient Greek and Roman heritages that were rejected by Christianity, in addition, to uphold the power of reason and spirit, opposes medieval theology with confused faith, fosters eternal life without forgetting the values ​​and people of the present. This is a period of extremely great achievements in many fields, deeply influenced to this day; one of them is Renaissance painting. So, let’s dig more to know about this wonderful art.

What is Renaissance painting?

Renaissance painting is a noun used to refer to paintings composed during the Renaissance period, between the fourteenth and seventeenth centuries in Europe – the period that is considered the most flourishing period in the period of world art. Renaissance paintings cover topics such as: praising heroism, human strength, landscape paintings, and religious sketches.

The development stages of Renaissance painting

According to the history of Fine Arts, people divided the Renaissance art history into three main periods:

Early Renaissance
High Renaissance
Post-Renaissance or Mannerism

Stage 1: Starting around the thirteenth century in Italy with famous authors such as: Sipawe, Giotto di Bontone (1267 – 1337), Donatello (1386 – 1486) … Typically Giotto’s paintings. Giotto’s paintings began to sketch the depths of the paintings although not yet specific, just sketches, not separated, not with great depth, sketches are not clear, sharp …

Stage 2: From the fourteenth century to the end of the fifteenth century. With great authors such as: Masaccio, Angelico or notably Sandro Botticelli. At this stage, the painting was developed at a higher level than in its inception.

The layout of the painting was tighter, appeared many new, richer, and more beautiful layouts. The shape is quite solid, clear and transparent. Character image anatomy with the basic proportions is relatively complete, accurate and proportionate. The space in the picture is also drawn more clearly, separating between people and scenes. Far and near effects are fully utilized.

Harmonious colors, with slight contrasts. Emotions are clearly described, character emotions are portrayed vividly. Lighting in stage 2 painting is applied flexibly, collectively and more accurately than in phase 1.

Stage 3: From 1490-1500 to 1520. This is the period marking the peak career of Renaissance artists. Many classic works were born during this period. The excellent painters of this period can be mentioned as the three pillars of Renaissance painting: Raphael, Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. With works listed as classics such as: rescuing St. Peter, the Athenian school and especially Davinci’s Mona Lisa, up to now, there is still a mystery that no pen can fully describe the beauty of the lack. female in this picture.

Paintings of this period had a tighter layout, solid, clear shapes, very coherent drawings, detailed block descriptions of each part, each line was extremely beautiful standard. The rate, anatomy of the character is more accurate than in the previous period. This period is the culmination of human proportions (7 1/2), the standard when drawing people, is a core element that makes up the uniqueness of Renaissance art.

The space in the paintings is also clearly defined, specifically, the separation between the person and the scene, between the main character and the supporting character, is also a unique feature of the painting of this period.

The layout is harmonious, the colors are beautiful, warm with affection, with light contrast, showing the main colors. The emotions in the paintings are depicted vividly: from happiness, sadness, suffering, fear, fear, admiration … The light in stage 3 painting took a step further than the previous 2 periods, was more precise and focused, meeting the standards of Renaissance light sketching.

Typical authors of the Renaissance period

During the Renaissance periods, there were many famous artists for their wonderful works.

Hieronymus Bosch

Hieronymus Bosch, birth name: Jheronimus van Aken, was born in 1450 and died on August 9, 1516. He was an early Dutch painter. His works are distinguished by their beautifully sketched images, detailed landscapes, illustrations of ethical and religious concepts and maxims. The most copied paintings are those depicting creepy hell and horrifying nightmares.

Featured works: The Garden of Earthly Delights, The Temptation of St. Anthony, Adoration of the Magi, The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things, The Crucifixion of St Julia, Christ before Pilate, The Haywain Triptych.

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was born April 15, 1452 – in Anchiano, Italy; died May 2, 1519, at Amboise France. He is one of the three main artists of the Renaissance and one of the greatest in the world.

Typical works: Mona Lisa, Vitruvius people, Virgin Mary in a cave, The Last Supper, …


Masaccio was born December 21, 1401 – died the summer of 1428, born Tommaso di Ser Giovanni di Simone, was the first great Italian painter of the 15th century Italian Renaissance. He was the best painter of his time because of his skill at reproducing lifelike cubes and holographic painting. Up to now, his death is still an unanswered mystery.

Typical works: San Giovenale Triptych, Madonna with Child, Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, The Tribute Money, Holy Trinity, Portrait of a Young Man, Madonna with Child and Angel …


Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni was born March 6, 1475 – died February 18, 1564, with the common name Michelangelo, is one of the master painters of the Italian Renaissance. Although in terms of art, he has little outstanding achievements, but his expertise in the fields also makes him considered a great figure of the Renaissance, with his rival also a comrade: Leonardo da Vinci.

His outstanding works can be mentioned such as: The Last Judgment, Sistine Chapel Ceiling, The Creation of Adam …


Raffaello, also known as Raphael, whose full name is Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino was born April 6 or March 28, 1483 – died April 6, 1520. He, along with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci are the three greatest artists. , the greatest of the Renaissance – is the top three master painters of that period.

Famous works can be mentioned such as: Mond Crucifixion, La Fornarina, The Triumph of Galatea, …

Some typical works of the Renaissance period

During the Renaissance, there were many typical works that are still famous to the present.

Mona Lisa – Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa – Leonardo da Vinci

The last supper – Leonardo da Vinci

The last supper - Leonardo da Vinci

The School of Athens – Raffaello

The School of Athens - Raffaello

In world art history, the Renaissance was also one of the most flourishing periods of oil paintings too. The artists strived to learn the quintessence of art in the past to research new ways of drawing. That is also the reason for the finished oil paintings like that time until now. You can read more in here to know more of this flourishing time Historical Dictionary of Renaissance Art

We hope you will find something you like in this peak period!

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