The Pocket Visual Encyclopedia of Art
ISBN 9781566493857 (paperback)
Published in September 2013
The Renaissance, a vast cultural and ideological movement, was the period of intense literary, artistic and scientific creativity that involved Europe between the 14th and 16th centuries and marked the transformation from the medieval to a modern concept of the intellect. During the early Renaissance, focused and nurtured in Florence and in Italy, the arts and culture underwent a radical renewal that spread gradually across Europe by various means and stylistic expressions. The Renaissance was based on the renewed passion for the ancient world—from philosophy to literature, from mythology to art—Neo-Platonic philosophy and humanism. Scientific interests included research into Nature and the human being such as anatomical studies and the exploration of new techniques, while the harmonious union of the major arts rose above the level of mechanical reproduction to become a free expression of the now consolidated intellectual prerogatives of the artist. Some of the great artists that made this artistic period so fertile were Masaccio, Brunelleschi, Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raffaello; the Flemish masters Van Eych and Van der Weyden; the artists of the school of Fontainebleau; and the German painters Durer, Altdorfer, and Holbein. The fundamental contribution of the courts, lords, patrons, and men of the church who used the new stylistic languages to embellish their manors and estates was a natural consequence of the splendor of the arts.