Early Renaissance in Italy
"I strove to imitate nature as clearly as I could, and with all the perspective I could produce, to have excellent compositions with many figures." - Lorenzo Ghiberti
Ghiberti, Self-Portrait, Ghiberti from the Gates of Paradise (East doors of the Florence Baptistry), c. 1435.











Giotto di Bondone, The Lamentation, Arena Chapel, Italy, c. 1305.  Fresco.











The Daphne Crucifixion, 11th century.
Giotto di Bondone, Lamentation, c. 1305.











Vasari credited Giotto with “setting art upon the path that may be called the true one [for he] learned to draw accurately from life and thus put an end to the crude Greek manner.”
Giotto di Bondone, detail of The Lamentation, c. 1305.  Fresco.











Vitruvian Man

Significant developments in the western world view
become influential by the 1400s:
  • Increased exploration of the world
  • Scientific investigation of nature and the human body
  • Medieval religious zeal becomes more tempered
  • Development of the city-state and nations
  • Growth of capitalism and trade
  • Guilds become more powerful and women's participation in them less common
  • The artist's social standing is eventually
    elevated from skilled laborer to gifted intellectual
Leonardo da Vinci, Vitruvian Man, c. 1487.





















Historical Context
Joan of Arc liberates Orleans
Gutenberg Bible
Gutenberg Bible
Joan of Arc burned at the stake
Exiled Cosimo de Medici returns to control Florence
Platonic Academy founded in Florence
Guttenberg begins selling one of the first books published with movable type in the West (movable type invented in China about 400 years earlier)
Turks take Constantinople
Lorenzo de Medici rules Republic of Florence


Portuguese explorers reach Africa's Gold Coast
Pope Innocent VII succeeds to papacy and outlaws witchcraft
Columbus travels to West Indies and South America
First road map of Europe published
Beginning of Protestant Reformation
First circumnavigation of the earth
Sack of Rome











Antonio del Pollaiuolo, Battle of the Nudes, c. 1465 – 1470.

Engraving, 15 1/8 X 23 3/16 inches











Agesander of Rhodes, Polydorus of Rhodes, and Athenodoros of Rhodes, Laocoön and His Sons, 27 AD.
Rediscovered in 1506 near the Baths of Trajan











Humanism = a cultural and intellectual movement during the Renaissance, following the rediscovery of the art and literature of ancient Greece and Rome. A philosophy or attitude concerned with the interests, achievements and capabilities of human beings rather than with the abstract concepts and problems of theology.

Francesco Petrarch is often called the "Father of Humanism." He was a scholar and a poet who lived in Florence in the 1300s who studied poets and philosophers from Ancient Rome, such as Cicero and Virgil.

Michelangelo, Pieta, Saint Peter's Basilica, 1498 - 1499.











Renaissance Humanism
an emphasis on education and on expanding knowledge (especially of classical antiquity), the exploration of individual potential and a desire to excel, and a commitment to civic responsibility and moral duty
  • Renewed interest in classic Greece and Rome
  • Belief that Man was the measure of all things
  • Belief that humanity could achieve perfection through education
  • Valued a balance between faith and reason
  • Stressed man's superiority over nature
  • Interest and value in the individual
Fra Filippo, Madonna and Child, c. 1440.











Andrea Pisano, Florence Baptistry di San Giovanni (south), 1329 - 1336.