Renaissance is a period of breakage in the evolution of ideas and doctrines which dominated The Middle Ages. "Scientific, geographic discoveries and technological innovations will determine a special economic and demographic development. These mentalities will reach up to the elite of society." During the Renaissance, man asserted himself fully, as contrary to The Middle Ages, which was largely seen as a period of dogma and fanaticism.
The artistic public of the Renaissance is essentially made of the urban bourgeoisie and the society present in the prince courts. The artist's personality stands out in the crowd, and the art collections gain more and more importance, adorning palaces.
For the period of the Renaissance, there are the following main painters: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo (1457-1564), Raffaello Sanzio (1483-1520) and Tiziano Vecellio (1477-1576). Da Vinci was a perfect drawer, giving a clear-obscure aura to his characters, obvious in his most famous paintings such as "Gioconda", "The Last Supper" or "Leda".
Michelangelo was a sculptor, painter and poet who was convinced that all the arts can be reduced to the ideal form. He stated that painting is at its best when it comes close to sculpture. This can be found in « Judgment Day » and « Genesis ».
Raffaello Sanzio painted in Florence, then in Rome. His harmony and balance can be found in works of art such as « The School of Athens », « Julius' Portrait", and so on.
Tiziano Vecellio was only a painter. His painting breathed sometimes great zeal, like "The Virgin in the Temple", or sometimes sensuality (like "Venus", "Sacred and Profane Love").
Benvenuto Cellini is recognized as a great jeweler and for his metal works. He has also engraved a great number of medals. He is the author of the sculpture "Perseus cutting of the Head of the Medusa".
The Florentine artist named Leonardo da Vinci is one of the greatest masters of the Renaissance: famous painter, architect, engineer, sculptor and man of science. His great love for knowledge and research was the key to his artistic and scientific attempts. His innovations in the field of painting have influenced the course of Italian art for more than a century after his death, and his scientific studies - in anatomy, optics and hydraulics - have anticipated many of the modern science's accomplishments.
Considered by his contemporaries to be the most mysterious of artists, Leonardo da Vinci, is the symbol of the Renaissance encyclopedic spirit. He was a very curious person, interested in deciphering the world around him and going beyond the spirit of his own epoch, which he wanted to propel into some revolutionizing horizons, proposing new ideals and new models to follow. His great influence was not only manifested towards his contemporaries, his spirit and manner of thinking going beyond the boundaries of Italy. He becomes a representative of human intelligence and genius. But his influence on his own period was indeed a very strong and imposing one. He had numerous disciples, and he was as intensely appreciated many centuries after his period. He was both a unique artist and a solitary man, mostly preoccupied with his own researches and works. Unfortunately, due to his multiple preoccupations, he did not have the time necessary to dedicate himself to painting only.
He was formed as an apprentice in Verrocchio's workshop, who taught him how to mold shapes. Da Vinci succeeded in inventing his own method of molding through clear-obscure and yet in this workshop he became familiar with the mysterious, ambiguous smile of Verrocchio's painted characters.
As a theoretician, Da Vinci often exposed his way of thinking and his artistic principles. He envisioned art as a product of the human mind, of reason, or "cosa mentale" as he would say in his mother tongue, Italian. Also, he considered that out of all the arts, only painting is good enough to represent nature, including human nature, and the only one who can transpose it into images without copying it, only by deciphering its mysteries.
Da Vinci's most significant work in which he speaks on the issue of art is called "A Painting Treatise". This writing contains his observations on the study of painting, offering very modern viable solutions, before the theoreticians of the later centuries such as Delacroix, Cezanne, Gauguin and others.