In the fifteenth century, artists learned to depict the visual world in a naturalistic manner. They extended their understanding of light and shadow, of space and anatomy. The idealized statuary of classical antiquity served as models, while in architecture the classical orders were applied to Renaissance buildings.
The prosperous mercantile economy of Florence helped to nurture the arts. Commissions came from the church, the state, and wealthy families. Classical as well as biblical heroes and heroines were portrayed as examples of virtue and moral fortitude.
However, to view the art of the Renaissance as a mere conquest of naturalistic representation would overlook the complexity of the period. Carlo Crivelli painted sumptuous altarpieces in a boldly ornamental manner, and Cosimo Tura frequently departed from logical, naturalistic norms in favor of an energetic idiom with an eccentric elegance. Portraiture flourished during the Renaissance, and the Venetians, foremost among them Giorgione and Bellini, excelled in their depictions of pastoral landscape.Read more...>