Masaccio born in 1401, died in 1428. Perhaps one of the most influential artists of the Renaissance. Historians claim that he, along with Donatello and Brunelleschi, inspired the style of art that typifies art of the period. In his 27 years on the planet, he developed a style that used perspective in a way that created an illusion of three-dimensions--a significant change from the flat style of painting that typified medieval art. His most famous work can be found in the Brancacci Chapel in Santa Maria del Carmine in Florence.
Donatello born in 1386, died in 1486. Famous for many things including the youthful sculpture of David in Florence. A less famous work in the city is the brass pulpits he build for the Old Sacristy of San Lorenzo which was built by Brunelleschi. Like Masaccio, Donatello was one of the earliest artists working with the idea of perspective. His method was sculpture and he brought dramatic shapes to life with his skills.
Brunelleschi, born in 1377, died in 1446. Architect in Florence that made the cupola of the Florence cathedral. The Duomo of Florence has become the symbol of Florence, is its tallest building and is a symbol of the wealth and civic pride of the affluent families of the city during the Renaissance. The church, on which construction began in 1299, is crowned by the massive dome designed by Brunelleschi almost two centuries later. This building did not have a roof for 175 years because it posed a major architectural challenge with the large area the dome had to span. You can climb 463 steps up the dome and view the city below. Seven of the great artists of Florence, including Brunelleschi and Donatello, competed for the opportunity to make these doors (and earn the stipend for the work). Beyond his abilities as an architect, Brunelleschi was recognized for using geometric principles in creating perspective and influencing both Masaccio and Donatello to follow that style.
Leonardo da Vinci , born 1452, died 1519. His most famous works are the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper which are works in oil. He had a nature that was careful and precise, so that he never hurried to finish a work. He developed what are regarded as technical, manual skills that were so excellent that few artists in history have rivaled his ability. He had an exceptional intellect and fascination with the world around him. Besides his paintings, he left us a legacy of detailed drawings of the human anatomy, plans for a tank, helicopter, ideas on the construction of multi-level canal and road systems. Because he was an artist and a scientist at a time when both art and science, he has come to characterize the ultimate "Renaissance Man."
Michelangelo Buonarroti, born 1475,died 1564. In the 89 years that he lived, Michelangelo created many of the works of art that we think of when we think of the Renaissance. A skilled painter who spent many years completing the frescoes that adorn the Sistine Chapel, Michelangelo had trained as a sculptor and created two of the world's greatest statues--the enormous David and the emotional Pieta.
Bellini, born in 1460 died in 1516. Early in his career, Bellini painted Agony in the Garden, showing the influence of Mantegna with a similar use of light and foreshortening. Ultimately, Bellini would influence the style of painting in Venice by building upon those techniques with a new use of paint and color that would become the tradition reflected in his students.
Raphael, born 1483, died 1520. Popular with the popes of the period, Raphael decorated the papal apartments of Julius II, continued to do so under Leo X and, following Bramante, served as architect of St. Peter's. He is credited with revolutionizing portrait painting because of the style he used in the portrait of Julius II. He also designed the "cartoons" that are on the tapestries of the Sistine Chapel. A tour of the Vatican Museums should include the Raphael Rooms where you can see some of the artist's works (though Raphael died suddenly on Good Friday, 1520, before all the work was completed and much of it was finished by his students). In his painting The School of Athens, he reflected the classical influence upon Renaissance art, but he also paid tribute to the men who inspired him by using the faces of da Vinci, Bramante and Michelangelo as philosophers participating in the debate between Plato and Aristotle.
Titian born in c. 1487, died in 1576. The most famous painter from Venice at the start of the 16th century. Trained by Giovanni Bellini, He was noted for use of color and for the use of thick, dramatic brush strokes. Among his famous paintings is Bacchus and Ariadne
Tintoretto born in 1518; died in 1591. A pupil of Titian, he used color and technique to convey dramatic, raw emotions. One of the most famous pieces he painted was the Origin of the Milky Way
Botticelli born 1445, died 1510. His best paintings are a series of mythological topics including the Birth of Venus and Mars & Venus, the Roman gods which reflected the return of Renaissance thought to its classical roots.
Caravaggio, born in 1573, died in 1610 A notable painting is his Death of the Virgin displayed in the Louvre, with the dramatic quality that was found in most of his works. He used foreshortening, shadowing and detail to portray scenes that drew out the emotions of the viewers. Caravaggio is often given credit for inspiring the Renaissance painters of northern Europe including Rembrandt.
Ghiberti born in 1378, died 1455. Exceptional bronze sculpture, most famous for being selected to do the doors to the baptistery of the doors of the Duomo in Florence, being chosen over such artists as Brunelleschi and Donatello. Some art historians define the entries submitted in this contest as the beginning point of Renaissance art. Ghiberti spent 21 years doing the north doors. The year after he completed those doors, he was commissioned to do the east doors. He spent the next 28 years producing the brass panels depicting the Old Testament that complete those doors which Michelangelo described as the "gates of Paradise." He also sculpted St. Matthew and St. John the Baptist out of bronze for the Orsanmichele in Florence.
Giotto born in 1267, died in 1337. Painted the Life of St. Francis of Assisi which is identified as one of his earlier works. Though an artist of the medieval period, he influenced such greats as Michelangelo and Raphael because he introduced some of the earliest solutions to creating the illusion of three-dimensionality in paintings and because his way of composing his paintings so effectively conveyed the the subject he was painting. Besides his work as an artist, he is famous for designing the Campanile (tower) of the Florence Duomo
Post-Renaissance Artists Umberto Boccioni, born 1882, died 1916. Painter and sculptor who tried to express modern life with dynamic and fluid forms. Emilio Greco Sculptor who designed the doors for the duomo of Orvieta Amedeo Modigliani, born 1884, died 1920. Painter and sculptor famous for he elongated nudes. Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini, born 1598, died 1680. Exceptional sculptor who created many of the best works of public art in Rome,, including the Trevi and Four River Fountains, the Egyptian Obelisk, and the canopy over the high altar in St. Peter's Basillica.