Period: 1400 to
Four Crowned Saints by Nanni di BancoThe purpose behind this piece is to show the four 3rd-century sculptors, early Christians, who refused to create a statue of a Greek god for Diocletian, then emperor of Rome. DiBanco’s piece memorializes these workers because, by their refusal to create a pagan image, they were beaten to death. These four became known as martyrs.
The Tribute Money by MasaccioThe Tribute Money is one of many frescoes painted by Masaccio in the Brancacci chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence—when you walk into the chapel, the fresco is on your upper left. All of the frescoes in the chapel tell the story of the life of St. Peter. The story of the Tribute Money is told in three separate scenes within the same fresco. This way of telling an entire story in one painting is called a continuous narrative.
David by DonatelloDonatello's bronze statue of David is famous as the first unsupported standing work of bronze cast during the Renaissance, and the first freestanding nude male sculpture made since antiquity. It depicts David with an enigmatic smile, posed with his foot on Goliath's severed head just after defeating the giant. The youth is completely naked, apart from a laurel-topped hat and boots, bearing the sword of Goliath.
Dome of the Florence Cathedral by Filippo BrunelleschiThe dome that covers the Florence cathedral (the church of Santa Maria del Fiore) is known as Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome. When it was designed, it was the largest dome in the world. This immediately created problems as its size prevented the traditional method of construction. Its structure is a double shell supported by sturdy pillars. It is 150 feet wide and begins 180 feet above the ground.
The Ascension by Lorenzo GhibertiStained glass roundel in cupola located in the Florence Cathedral.
Annunciation by Fra AngelicoThe Annunciation is an Early Renaissance fresco by Fra Angelico in the Convent of San Marco in Florence, Italy. Cosimo de Medici commissioned Angelico to decorate the walls with intricate frescos which are about 50 pieces in total. All of them done by Angelico himself.
Burial of the Holy Wood by Piero della FrancescaThe Basilica of San Francesco is a late Medieval church in Arezzo, dedicated to St Francis of Assisi and houses the frescos by Francesca. There are 13 in total including the burial of the holy wood. The frescos tell the story of the legend of the true cross.
Hunt in the Forest by Paolo UccelloThe Hunt is perhaps the best-known painting in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, England. The painting is an early example of the effective use of perspective in Renaissance art, with the hunt participants, including people, horses, dogs and deer, disappearing into the dark forest in the distance.
St. Sebastian by Andrea MantegnaThe worship of Saint Sebastian, protector against the plague, was widespread in the 15th century. Mantegna broke with traditional iconography by introducing references to antiquity. The mixture of architectural styles expresses the continuity between the antique and Christian worlds, a theme dear to the humanists, yet this is still a devotional work.
The Adoration of the Magi by Da VinciThis is perhaps one of Leonardo da Vinci's strangest and most fertile compositions. By combining figures of pleading old men and armed horsemen, he transformed a banal biblical subject into a scene from human history. The figures and architectural elements boldly delineated and filled out in earth colors on the five boards that make up this panel anticipate the type of sketchwork that will characterize modern art.
Primavera by Sandro BotticelliPrimavera means "Spring" and this painting is among the greatest works at the Uffizi Museum in Florence. The precise meaning of the painting is unknown, but it was probably created for the marriage of Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco (a cousin of the powerful Lorenzo the Magnificent Medici) in May, 1482.
The Equestrian Statue of Bartolomeo Colleoni by Andrea del VerrocchioThe Bartolomeo Colleoni equestrian statue, located beside the Scuola Grande di San Marco in the Campo SS Giovanni e Paolo, was erected in fulfillment of a request made by the condotierro before his death in 1475. Colleoni, appointed lifelong captain-general for his military service to the republic, led Venetian forces successfully in campaigns against neighboring city-states, beginning in the 1430s and ending four decades later.
Portrait of Giovanna Tornabuoni by Domenico GhirlandaioThis superb panel is a fine example of fifteenth-century Florentine portraiture. Artists of the time followed classical dictates: body proportions were idealized while faces left devoid of expression were expected to convey character. The model has been identified as Giovanna Tornabuoni on the basis of a medallion by Niccolò Fiorentino showing her likeness and her name.
The Miracle of the Cross by Gentile BelliniThis painting is now housed in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice and was commissioned for the Grand Hall of the Scuola Grande di San Giovanni Evangelista, the seat of the eponymous brotherhood in Venice. The commission included a total of nine large canvasses. The subject of the paintings were to be the miracles of a fragment of the True Cross.
Resurrection of the Flesh by Luca SignorelliIn the Capella Nova in the cathedral of Orvieto, Luca Signorelli made frescoes illustrating the end of the world. You can see the prophesied sights of the last days unfolding before your eyes – the great destruction, the reign of the Antichrist, the rounding up of the damned, the crowning of the blessed. Every scene is thronged with figures. Halfway through, there's The Resurrection of the Flesh.
The Vision of a Knight by RaphaelThis painting is currently housed at the National Gallery in London. There are several theories as to what the artwork represents. Some say the knight refers to Scipio Africanus, a Roman general who was having a dilemma in his dream: he was conflicted with choosing between virtue or pleasure. The females are said to represent the ideal characteristics of the knight as the objects they hold could represent some ideals.
The Three Philosophers by GiorgioneGiorgione is famous for his enigmatic pastoral canvases. Though fewer than a dozen extant works can be definitively attributed to his hand, his dreamy melancholic images, like poesia, or painted poems, fascinated his contemporaries and would directly influence Venetian art for a century. The Three Philosophers is one of these mysterious works.
The Creation of Adam by MichelangeloThe most famous section of the Sistine Chapel ceiling is Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. This scene is located next to the Creation of Eve, which is the panel at the center of the room, and the Congregation of the Waters, which is closer to the altar. The Creation of Adam differs from typical Creation scenes painted up until that time. Here, two figures dominate the scene, God and Adam.
Madonna of the Harpies by Andrea del SartoPerhaps the most famous work of Andrea del Sarto is this altarpiece painted for the nuns of San Francesco dei Macci. It is truly a milestone in the career of del Sarto, and bears witness to the level of maturity of the most significant artistic experiences of the early 16th century, the greatness of which was immediately recognized in Florence and elsewhere.
Danaë with Nursemaid by TitianThis painting by Titian describes a key moment in the myth of Danae. Locked up by the king, who fears for his life after being foretold that his daughter’s son would kill him, she becomes Zeus’ love interest. The father of gods eventually penetrates the princess’ chamber in the form of a golden shower, thereby begetting a multitude of allegorical interpretations, as well as a son, Perseus.