The meaning of Renaissance is rebirth. This rebirth comes in three basic areas. First it is the rebirth
of classic ideas. The term classic means that is comes from ancient Greek and Roman roots. These ideas are imported to the people of the Renaissance. One of the many examples we see of this classic idea is
in the area of sculpture. The Greeks perfected the human form and the Romans carried that skill on. The Gothic era brought a decline in this craft and ability to perfect their sculptures. It was reborn with the Renaissance.
Another, the second basic area of rebirth is realism. Regardless of the geographic region, realistic rendering of the natural
world is very important. As we see in the previous example, with the classic idea also comes the idea of depicting people
as realistically as possible. The last area of rebirth is in the field of science. Scientific methods and theories became
very popular. In times past, people just accepted things as the way God wanted it to be. During the Renaissance people wanted
to better understand themselves and the world around them. This also led to the desire to make improvements on technologies.
This is why the Renaissance is seen as the start of what will become the modern world. Much of the rebirth ideas have an undertone
to the important idea of humanism. Humanism is the philosophy that human issues are more important than religious problems.
Although the Renaissance is a notable time in the visual arts, and many of the most popular visual
artists spring from the Renaissance, there were many other extraordinary events emerging from the time. Socially, we see the
Johannes Gutenberg invent his printing press with moveable type. This would help bring about Renaissance
writers like Dante Alighieri, Niccolò Machiavelli, Francesco
Petrarch, and even William Shakespeare. They
honed their ideas as the Renaissance evolved and have remain a source of inspiration and study to this day. If we were to
set the time to music, we would hear the music of Guillaume Dufay or Josquin
des Prez. However, the height of what we know as the Renaissance will always be centered on the visual arts.
One of the interesting ideas in the Renaissance comes from Leon Alberti. It was his beliefe that it
was of great importance for art to tell a story and be understood my the masses. Some artists deliberately desguised the symbols
in their art, as an encoded message to the few that could understand them.
As we look at the Renaissance, we will divide these artists into regional groups: the artists of the
Northern Renaissance and the artists of the Italian Renaissance. The Northern Renaissance includes artists living around Flanders
(Holland) and Germany, where as the Italian Renaissance artists come from various cities
in Italy, but primarily Florence and Rome. There are some distinctions between the two groups.
Generally, the Northern Renaissance is less aware of the classical influence, has fewer religious subjects, is less interest
in science, uses more details in their art, is more interest in landscape, pioneers the use of oil paint, uses more disguised
symbols in their art, and is all around less awareness of the"rebirth."
Due to the large amounts of content on each artist, you can find the information, photos, links, and other tid-bits
under the link on this page to the "Artists notes."
Filippo Brunelleschi: 1377-1446...Italy
Jan van Eyck: 1386(?)-1441...Flemish
Leonardo da Vinci:
April 15, 1452-May 2, 1519...Italy
Raphael Sanzio: April 6, 1483-April 6, 1520...Italy
Titian (Tiziano Vecellio):
1477(?)-August 27, 1577...Italy
Albrecht Dürer: May 21, 1471-April 6, 1528...Germany
Pieter Bruegel the Elder: