Early Renaissance Art

Early Renaissance art was mainly made in Italy during the 15th century. Early Renaissance art was the bridge between Byzantine art, with its flat surfaces and its religious content, to high Renaissance art, characterized by depth, perspective, suppleness of character and secular themes.

Early Renaissance Art
Jacobello del Fiore (1370-1439) is representative of a painter seeped in Byzantine art who moved toward new forms. For example, Virgin and Child, c. 1410, is consistent with Byzantine painters using common religious themes. In addition, the background of the picture and the Virgin's halo are gold, like other Byzantine art. However, the infant, while still not completely "child-like," is much more realistic than the miniature adults that were commonly painted as babies in the past. The infant's pose is also more natural.

Fra Angelico (c. 1387-1455) was a Dominican friar, so it would be natural for him to continue to paint religious works. In the fresco The Annunciation (1438-1445), the angel and Mary continue to have large, gold, Byzantine halos surrounding their heads. However, the arches and patio have a sense of depth that Byzantine artists never achieved. The area outside of the patio is naturalistic, with grass, trees, a fence and small flowers.

Sandro Botticelli's (1445-1510) The Birth of Venus is an early example of a painting with a non-religious theme. In addition to referring to Roman myths, the painting depicts a woman who is nude, also unusual for the time. While the painting doesn't have the three dimensional look that later Renaissance would have, the subjects certainly don't look as flat as in earlier artwork.

Francesco Bonsignori (c. 1460-1519) painted Christ Falls Under the Cross. This painting has only a light residue of a halo over Christ. The hands and feet are painted much more naturally. In addition, the draping of the clothing has the appearance of depth. Most of the faces in the painting also have a look of three-dimensionality. Christ's face looks particularly realistic, with an appearance of tired acceptance.

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