Renaissance Art Project – Katelyn Maugans

Renaissance Art Project


  1. ~Background Information for Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is a famous painting by Leonardo daVinci that currently resides in the museum called the Louvre, which is in Paris, France. The artist da Vinci made this masterpiece in the early 16th century with oil and populus, a type of wood that many other Renaissance paintings were done on. In today’s time, da Vinci is known for this piece of work, but da Vinci also worked on several other paintings, like the Last Supper, and  also scientific observations in the field of anatomy. During the Renaissance human anatomy was studied a lot because many artists and sculptors wanted to make their works more realistic and lifelike, and da Vinci shows that by several of his pieces being realistic and focused on humans. The Mona Lisa is specifically good with anatomy because of the features that the picture has when people look at it. One example is how she look like she is smiling, yet not at the same time, and another example is when looking at her eyes it constantly looks like she is staring back at the person examining the painting.

~Interpretation of Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa painting is significant to the renaissance because of the way it was done. One way the Mona Lisa stands out is the details put into the painting. In this picture it has details from the woman’s outfit, to her hair, and even to the background. The Mona Lisa’s impact on technique is also important because it really highlights how people in the Renaissance focused on the anatomy of a human. The painting is a  historical significance to the period of the Renaissance and in today’s time because of how the way the woman in the painting was portrayed. The topic of human structure was very important, and the Mona Lisa shows that by doing it in the style of a woman. Woman being painted were often found popular to draw because of religious means, like Aphrodite, but this painting depicts a normal woman sitting in a chair.


  1. ~Background information for Florence Cathedral (Architecture)

The Florence Cathedral is one of the many buildings that was built during the prosperous time of the Renaissance. This specific building started construction in the 13th century, but was completed in 1436 during the Renaissance and is located in the city of Florence, Italy. While the cathedral was being built the people even had a competition to include their ideas in the church, and even the stained glass windows famous Donatello were included. This cathedral is a popular tourist attraction in Italy, and at one time it had the largest dome in the world until other larger structures were made. On the church it has a decorative facade dedicated to the Mother of Christ, which was originally designed by Arnolfo di Cambio, and the church even has sculptures in the famous museum in France known as the Louvre.
~Interpretation of Florence Cathedral
Among the many architecture pieces during the Renaissance, the Florence Cathedral is important to consider because of the impact it had on that time and even part of today’s society. During the Renaissance the cathedral was influenced by many artists and performers like Guillaume Dufay’s choral music presentation. The cathedral over time has had many updates and renovations to certain areas, but is mainly used as a tourist spot and not as much a church as it is today then it was during the Renaissance. The artworks inside the cathedral include some works from the famous Michelangelo, but is relatively empty. Overall the church has a mainly historical impact on the subject of building records, and one that it currently maintains is that it is still the largest brick dome ever to be constructed. The beauty of this cathedral is from the style of the was it had been constructed, the facades on the sides of the building, and the several paintings that are located in the church.

  1. ~Background information for Children’s Games (Northern Renaissance)

The painting Children’s Games, by  Pieter Bruegel the Elder, was painted in the 1560’s with oil on panel, in the area the Northern Renaissance was considered to be. The area of the Northern Renaissance was around the present day countries of Northern Europe, and the artist that created this work was from the Netherlands. Overall the artist Bruegel does not have a lot of background but he did create over 45 paintings and his paintings were sometimes influenced and inspired to make a few movies. Bruegel was a painter who created many works that revolved around peasants and landscapes. In this work of art he combined the two by making a large town filled with peasant children and by doing that it created a very detailed and action filled scene for people to look at. The “games” that were included in this scene also show a piece of culture that the area he painted had, like how there are children who played on a swing, or playing marbles, and even Bocce ball. This work is very fascinating because of its details in the many games and because of that it is a pleasure to look at because there is so much to see in this piece.
~Interpretation for Children’s Games
Children’s Games can have several interpretations based on its style and the technique put into the painting, and also historical significance. For the style of this work it contains many activities that children, and some adults, did during the time of the Northern Renaissance. When looking closely to the painting it shows how Bruegel took time and much effort to make the painting filled with people and what they were doing look very neat and detailed. The historical significance of this painting is shown by the games that the children played during and before the time of the Renaissance. An example would be Bocce, which was a game that was invented during the Roman Empire that was carried through the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. This piece shows well how the artists in the Renaissance had an effort to improve their works, and Children’s games does that by having many items to look at and the detail and color put into the painting to make it look very professional and pretty.

  1. ~Background information for The School of Athens

The painting The School of Athens is a famous Renaissance work done by Raphael. The School of Athens was worked on between the years of 1510 and 1511, during the early to middle time of the Renaissance, which had several influences from Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome put into the painting. The artist Raphael is a famous Renaissance person who worked on pieces of art as well as some architecture during that time period. Along with Michelangelo and  Leonardo da Vinci, he was considered one of the best artists during the time in the Renaissance because of his talent in art and architecture. This painting in particular is a famous one because it contains several important philosophers and people during the previous periods of time before the Renaissance. Besides the philosophers, the painting is also famous because it contains the “classical spirit” that the people of the Renaissance were going through when creating new works of literature and art.

~Interpretation for The School of Athens

When it comes to analyzing art of the Renaissance, The School of Athens has many features to consider. The first is that the painting contains new techniques that artists were adapting, like depth and perspective in the work. The way that Raphael shows that is the way he makes the people smaller or larger in the building, as well as how the building’s structure gets larger the farther you look back. On the topic of what is in the painting, people were also important to the art in the Renaissance, and this painting includes many people who were famous to history and helped their society get to where is was, like the famous philosophers Aristotle and Socrates. Another topic is the way that the work was made and how, like many other paintings, detailed the art work is. The historical significance this painting has is that it has historical figures included and himself in the painting.

  1. ~Background information for Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of S. Lorenzo

Gentile Bellini, an artist in the Renaissance, created a painting called Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of S. Lorenzo. This painting was done in the 1500’s with tempera on canvas and is now being held at an art gallery in Venice, Italy. Bellini painted a few other works besides Miracle of the Cross and many of his works revolve around religion and the events that occurred around and sometime with the object known as the True Cross. One of the possible reasons that Bellini may have chosen such a religious thing to paint about is because the Renaissance was occurring, in which many cultures and past ideas were getting mixed together by cultural diffusion. The reason this painting has significance to the Renaissance is that the painting includes an event that occurred the Renaissance that was important to later events that were to happen in the area where the Renaissance was considered to be.

~Interpretation for Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of S. Lorenzo
Miracle of the Cross at the Bridge of S. Lorenzo contains several aspects that make this artwork stand out compared to other Renaissance pieces. The art contains much notable features from the era of Renaissance art, like having people as the main focus of the work and having either religious ties or philosophical ties in the piece, in which case the religious focus was more prominent. The people in the painting have much improved anatomy compared to previous artworks before the Renaissance because the people gained an over obsessive mind-set when it came to painting people. Besides people, architecture was also taken into consideration when making this piece because the building in the background shows signs of having perspective, although it does not have the greatest technique it does show signs of improvement compared to previous years in art history. Symbolism and historical significance are also connected to this painting because it contains a part of the past that the people in the Renaissance were looking at, known as Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, and this painting hints towards an event during that time. Overall this piece is significant to the Renaissance because it gives an excellent example of what the people were thinking about while creating new masterpieces and how art was improved by new skills that artists learned.

  1. ~Background information for Coronation of the Virgin

Coronation of the Virgin is one among many of the pieces of art that was made during the Renaissance that includes an important piece of evidence to what art was evolving into and what was happening during that time era. The piece, by Filippo Lippi, was done around the years of 1441 through 1447 with tempera on panel and currently resides in Florence. Coronation of the Virgin’s creator, Lippi, was a successful artist during the Renaissance to the point that his art was copied by others and, in other cases, stolen for personal profit. Overall Lippi has a large background in art, including many famous works that revolved around Madonna, otherwise interpreted as Mary, the mother of Jesus. With his several painting he was able to effect the Renaissance by creating masterpieces to inspire others to use some of his techniques and designs to help improve their art.

~Interpretation for Coronation of the Virgin

Coronation of the Virgin includes signs of having new techniques that were developed and learned for artists as well as a historical significance to the time period of the Renaissance. The way Coronation of the Virgin expresses new style in the Renaissance is by the way that people are the main focus of the painting and that there is details to shading, lighting, and perspective in the painting. In the Renaissance the details of perspective and things like shading were slowly being learned and adapted by artists all around the area of the Renaissance, and this painting shows that by including those features. Besides the look, the content that Lippi painted was very religious to the Christian faith that was vastly spread throughout Europe at the time. Most of Lippi’s works include the person called Madonna, otherwise known as Mary, and including a well draw woman was significant to the art in the Renaissance because people really focused on human anatomy.


  1. ~Background information for Delivery of the Keys

Delivery of the Keys is by the Italian Renaissance artist Pietro Perugino, who worked on this piece from 1481 to 1482. The artist, Perugino, is an Italian Renaissance painter who did not create much notable works but one thing that is known is that his most famous pupil is Raphael. Throughout his life he taught many other students besides Raphael, but near the end of his life he lost many students. Although he did not make many works, most of them were based on religion because he was usually asked to make a painting for a Pope.  Perugino got the idea to make this painting by getting a commission from Pope Sixtus IV, and due to its large size other artists joined in to help finish. Delivery of the Keys is a painting that illustrates a pizza, not from real-life, that includes a temple. The painting is a fresco located in the church known as the Sistine Chapel located in Rome, Italy. Perugino’s life was ended by the plague and some of his works over time had been replaced by others because of his poor reputation with crime and that the paintings disappeared.

~Interpretation for Delivery of the Keys

Delivery of the keys was another piece of art that had some significance on the art in the Renaissance. The title itself tells that the painting is about giving keys away, but it can symbolize that the keys are special keys, meaning that they are keys of the kingdom of heaven. The keys in the painting represent the power of forgiveness and the ability to share the word of God, which in turn allows other into heaven. This painting provides anatomy, from the people in the painting, that was being obsessively studied to perfect humans in paintings. Another interpretation is about the technique and how there is some perspective to the painting, like how the people in the background are smaller to those in the front of the painting.Other than style and symbolism, the painting also provides historical context because in the Renaissance the Church was the main patron to people doing art, and because of that many works were religious and this work is an example of how people did make religious works because of the Church’s influence by giving artists money. This painting is also a nice one to look at because of the many details, colors, and the many people to examine in this painting.


  1. ~Background information for Equestrian Portrait of Charles V

In the Renaissance there were many artists who were focused on painting humans, and one of those paintings is called Equestrian Portrait of Charles V. This painting was done in 1548 by Titan by using oil on canvas. Titan personally knew Charles V and this is one of the many painting that was done, and this painting in particular was created to celebrate a victory in the 1547 Battle of Muhlberg. Even though the painting was for a celebration of a battle, the background was calm and displayed Charles V heroically, even there is no sign of a war going on. Currently at that time Charles V was the heir to the Throne of Spain and loved the portrait that Titan made for him. As a congratulation for Titan and his paintings of Charles, he was Court Palatine, which was an extraordinary honor for a painter to receive.

~Interpretation for Equestrian Portrait of Charles V

In the Renaissance artists were trying to break away from old techniques and improve their styles, but this particular work illustrates that Titan changed this work even more by adding his own style to the art and doing more to make this painting stand out among others. As a historical significance, this painting had a new feature, which was how the horse was painted. Charles V’s horse had both legs up opposed to the normal horse only holding up one legs, and Charles on the horse looks calm, showing that he had a skill with riding horses.One of the symbolic things in this painting was the color red, which at the time symbolized Catholic faith and in the painting both Charles V and the horse wore the color. Another topic is the anatomy of the portrait, which is the way the detail in the face adds to the beauty of the artwork. In the painting the position of the helmet emphasizes tension between the outer perspective of Charles V and his inner conflicts.


  1. ~Background for The Last Supper

Leonardo da Vinci is one of the three main artists of the Renaissance and one of the many paintings that he did was The Last Supper. The Last Supper was started in 1495 and was completed in 1498 and tempera on gesso, pitch, and mastic was the materials that were used to create this masterpiece. The size of the work is an enormous 15 by 29 feet, covering an entire wall in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy, showing a dedication to painting a piece for religion. Although the large painting was completed in three years, da Vinci was know to procrastinate with works, sometimes leaving them unfinished. One thing that make this painting a challenge to keep preserved is that it was painted on drywall, making the tempera difficult to stick, which means people are constantly trying to keep the painting together. Overall this painting contains a historical event that occurred in all four of the Gospels, the books in the New Testament. The scene depicts the few seconds after Jesus talked about how one of the disciples would betray him, and the many people each show their reactions to his announcement.

~Interpretation for The Last Supper

The Last Supper contains much evidence of the improvements that the artists of the Renaissance were working on. One example is the anatomy focus in the many people in the picture. Human anatomy was one of the main focuses in art, and this painting show incredible details in the human postures and facial expressions in the painting. All of the faces each have a specific face, each being unique with the others, showing an advancement in human’s facial anatomy. Another example is the vanishing point being important to the center point of the picture. In this painting the perspective being so precise and realistic allows for people to come to the center because of the lines formed in the painting, and the point is Jesus, the main important figure in the painting.

  1. ~Background information for Michelangelo’s Pieta (Sculpture)

The Pieta is a popular Renaissance sculpture that was created by Michelangelo for the tomb in St. Peter. Michelangelo’s Pieta started to be made when Michelangelo was only twenty-one and it was completed it when he was twenty-four. The tool used for the Pieta was a drill and after hearing that it was not actually his work, Michelangelo signed his work, making it the first, and only work he signed. This work is made of marble and compared to Ancient Greek sculptures, people said that it was even better then their work. In the sculpture it illustrates Jesus after Crucifixion in Mary’s lap, but Michelangelo wanted the sculpture to represent the communion of man and God and not necessary having death as the main theme of the sculpture.
~Interpretation for Michelangelo’s Pieta
Interpretations of Michelangelo’s Pieta can range from talking about the historical significance to the beauty of this sculpture.The religious aspect stands out in this sculpture by having Mary hold Jesus in her lap, symbolizing the religion that was used around that time. Another to idea to have about the position of Jesus and Mary is that it can be interpreted to be a baby Jesus in Mary’s arms, rather than both of them being grown up because Michelangelo made Mary have a younger appearance. In the Renaissance many paintings, but also sculptures, were religious because the Church was the main patron of the artists, and because of that many painting were religious. A third example is the title of the work and its meaning. The  title Pieta is similar to the word pietas, which was a word associated by Roman people with the duty humans owed their gods, which can be used to compare the people to have a duty to the Church, or mainly God.

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