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3 Characteristics of Renaissance Art That Changed the World Forever

Renaissance Art Characteristics

The word Renaissance means “rebirth”. Following the Dark and Middle ages and their associated turmoil and stagnation, not to mention the Black Death, Europe experienced a rebirth of sorts with a rediscovery of math, philosophy, astrology, astronomy, science, and literature and art witnessed a great revival within the 200 years, i.e., from 1400 to 1600. While many principal characteristics of renaissance art have been influencing the modern world, this phase had led towards a spiritual thinking wherein people began exploring the philosophy of humanism

With the advent of the printing press, knowledge was for the first time in over 1000 years accessible to people outside of the clergy, the noble, the aristocratic, and the royal. Special attention was given to the classical eras in Greece and in Rome, which until the Renaissance were the pinnacle of human achievement.

Renaissance Art – A period of revival and creativity

A renewed passion for learning and for human achievement led to the influence of all of these new studies in the formation of greater art.

Renaissance was a period of greater learning and curiosity which led many learners and artists to develop and engage in new forms of art. Florence, Italy was the birthplace of Renaissance and that is the reason why many disciplines focused mainly on Italy.

The power of humanists during the Renaissance period was dominating and thus the church sought to become “patron” of the artists’ projects.

The creative ventures involving the church and the artists shot up due to the high education sponsored by the church and the wealthy merchants spending huge amounts of money on the paintings.

Top 3 Characteristics of Renaissance Art that Changed the World

A positive willingness to learn and explore

The onset of technology and new discoveries led artists and learners to seek more.

While the Western world saw simultaneous discoveries and innovations, the artists in Italy became more and more curious to explore the world and all the possible aspects of nature.


The discoveries in Europe included new sea routes, continents, and colonies along with new innovations in architecture, sculpting and painting. They believed that revival of the classical antiquity could lead to a much worthy and standardized stake in that era.

A faith in the nobility of man- Humanism

This phase was led towards a spiritual thinking wherein people began exploring Humanist philosophy.


Pic by Ajarn Dale (Slideshare) Humanism-renaissance-art

Intellectuals, artisans and common men concluded that the Church was never a responsible source for their behavior and beliefs towards God and fellow men and that they themselves are responsible for the actions.

The School of Athens by Raphael - Characteristics of Renaissance Art

The School of Athens by Raphael –

The parallel vision between religion and humanism was cleared and the esteem related to self-importance was thought upon. The magnificent Procession of the Magi, portrayed by Gozzoli along with companies, seeks a more regal face rather than a religious one.

The discovery and mastery of linear perspective

The revival in math and proportions led to the innovations of two major systems: the use of linear perspective and the introduction of the vanishing point – This is considered to be one of the revolutionary characteristics of renaissance art

This was created by the famous architect of that time, Filippo Brunelleschi. He used the innovations in math to create the linear perspective using parallel lines, a horizon line and a vanishing point to realistically portray space and depth in art.

Linear Perspective Renaissance art

Linear Perspective Renaissance art

Since a painting is a two-dimensional activity, the advent of linear perspective created a three-dimensional look through practice. To achieve this, artists took a horizon line at eye level and marked a vanishing point on it. A receding checkerboard of intersecting lines was created that converged and met the vanishing point. This created a sense of distance and depth. With constant practice, artists managed to create a three-dimensional effect in their paintings.

Not only did the art with linear perspective shoot high, but the ability to portray convincingly naturalistic figures in illusionistic spaces was praiseworthy too. The mastermind behind the developments was the author of three mathematical treatises and a wonderful artist, Piero della Francesca, whose perspective paintings and impressive figures showed technique and finesse. One such classic example of his work is The Flagellation of Christ.

Final thoughts

The phase of Renaissance art had a great impact on the subsequent painters and sculptors that succeeded famous artists of that time.

The teachings, learnings, and innovations led them to discover and contribute more. Geniuses such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo contributed at a high level with their findings and innovations. Architecture and art saw a completely different lapse which gave us several wonderful buildings to witness today. Viewed as devotional objects of that time, the paintings are still adorned as great works of art.

The principles of Renaissance art has contributed and taught us a lot which is somehow still influencing our lifestyle and today’s world.

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