Italian Renaissance The Italian renaissance was as the name implies the rebirth of painting. This does not imply that all the advances of painting came from this period but that the masters learned to combine new and old. The list of artist who contributed to the advancement in painting during the renaissance is as diverse as the paintings. The Black Death (bubonic and pneumonic plague) caused an actual decline in art from the prosperity of the high Middle Ages. The plague killed almost a third of the people in Europe and the renaissance was the first advancement in the arts after this terrible devastation. The capital of the Tuscany region of Italy was Florence and this is where many of the new renaissance artist were trained.
The renaissance, broadly considered covered the years between 1400 and 1600, although specialist do disagree on these dates. During this period artist were no longer regarded as mere artisans, as they had been in the past but were now considered independent personalities. Masaccio made notable advances in the styles of paintings such as perspective, space, and surrounding his subjects in light and air. The next great step was in the mellowness and richness of colors used by Bellini. The complex strokes of color make the surrounding light and air almost inseparable from the figures.
Bellini was a great artist and teacher who brought Venetian art onto the scene to the point that it was at the forefront of the Renaissance. The Painter Sandro Botticelli comes along as the next great painter after Masaccio. When you look at the painting Primavera 1482, you see the new, sharply contoured, slender form and rippling sinuous line that is synonymous with Botticelli. In the painting Botticelli catches the freshness of an early spring morning, with the pale light shining through the tall, straight trees, already laden with their golden fruit. The two paintings that are said to epitomize the renaissance are the Mona Lisa (1503-06) and the Last Supper (1495-97) by the master Leonardo da Vinci who was the elder of the Florentine masters. The observation of nature, firsthand investigations, and experimentation is what set him apart from his peers early on. Like Shakespeare he came from an insignificant background and fittingly described as a genius. The art of perspective was used extensively by Florentine artist Paolo Ucello (Paolo di Dono, 1397-1475), and this was shown very well in his painting The Hunt in the Forest, 1460s.
The painting shows how well he used perspective the way everything in it is organized upon a distant and almost unseen stag, a vanishing stag: the vanishing point. The art of perspective is the representation of solid objects and three-dimensional space in accordance with our optical perception of these things. We actually see the world in perspective the way things get smaller as they are farther away. During the Renaissance northern Italy was one of the wealthiest regions in Europe. Genoa and Venice both had populations of around 100,000 by 1400 and were the main centers of trade.
Florence, with a population of 55,000 was the center for manufacture and distribution. The renaissance continued with many great painters improving the different styles and colors in the fantastic world of painting and art.