Visual expression took on a new multi dimensional perspective.

By caoimhe clements: Arts Columnist

The Renaissance refers to the European historical artistic period between 14th-17th Century, which began in the rich cultural historical Italian city of Florence.

The French word ‘Renaissance’ translates into the meaning of rebirth, which symbolises the beginning of a new era of art, and explores the subject fields of classical philosophy, literature, science and art.

Florence, embedded in the Italian region of Tuscany located 162 miles from the Italian capital of Rome. In the present day, Florence City is celebrated for the picturesque architecture which holds the traditional enchanted red brick roofs. The Uffizi Gallery one of the city’s most popular tourist attractions, which famously holds Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’, and Raphael’s ‘Portrait of Pope Leo X with Two Cardinals’. Florence Cathedral domains the Florence Skyline compelling the viewer to remember its presents.

Historical Florence held the status of a Republic. The Republic of Florence was officially the Florentine Republic during the Renaissance era. The state was famously ruled by the powerful Italian Medici Family, which were well known backers of the Renaissance movement.

Cathedral of Santa Maria Del Fiore, Florence. Photo: Rob Robertson

Early Renaissance

Awakening at beginning of the 14th Century, the Renaissance would become one of the most important periods in art history. It builds the bridge between the Middle Ages and Modern-Day Civilization.

How did this era have such importance?

Prior to this era, Europe experienced the Middle Ages which was among the darkest periods in history which included: the fall of the Roman Empire and the Black Plague, according to the National Geographic swept through Asia and Europe claiming the lives of 25 million people. It was a hostile time.

Rediscovering the fields of study in Science, Art, Technology and Literature challenged people to seek greatest and change. The era would deliver some of the world’s greatest historical thinkers, authors, artists and scientists. The renaissance was an era that strength Science and Art closer to together.

In the 15th century artists would witness the breakthrough of artistic technique Perspective.

A man and woman in a gallery looking at the Temptation of Christ.
The Temptation of Christ. Photo: Alistair McRoberts

‘Art is an illusion. To achieve this illusion technique which represents the three-dimensional world on the two-dimensional surface’

The religious subject matter still remaining the main concept in Renaissance paintings; however, artists expanded their interest to study and paint Greek and Roman mythology figures.

Caravaggio a famous Italian painter in the 16th Century painted the famous Greek Mythology monster figure Medusa or more commonly known as ‘woman with a snake head’. While this painting is extremely unpleasant, it also reflects on the interest that the artists held for mythology. Botticelli’s ‘The Birth of Venus’ and ‘Mars and Venus’ have more friendly colour palette approach, welcoming in the viewer.


Perspective an art technique established in the 15th Century by architect Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446), which has the purpose of creating the illusion of three-dimensional shape on a two-dimensional flat surface. His imagery captured the front gate of the unfinished Florence Cathedral.

Art is an illusion. To achieve this illusion technique which represents the three-dimensional world on the two-dimensional surface, the artist has to use the systems of illusion that create the impression of space, add depth and showcase movement, within their work.

The linear perspective system works by projected the illusion of depth onto a two-dimensional plane by use of ‘vanishing points’ to which all lines converged at eye level, on the horizon.

The Italian masters Giotto and Duccio can hold the credit with introducing an early form of perspective, as they explore the use of shadows, to enhance a greater sense of depth and the effect it has on oneself.

Embarking though the 15th century artists were in total control of perspective and were able to create in their art as beautiful and realistic, which offered a renewed desire to depict the beauty of nature and to unravel the axioms aesthetics, with the works of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, Donatello and Titian representing artistic pinnacles that were to be much imitated by other artists.

The Renaissance highly impacted how artists think towards their work and the techniques involved. The legacy of Renaissance artists continues to inspire the modern era.

MACKAYAN: renaissance. the rebirth of art