Italian Renaissance Art: From Abstraction to Naturalism

Jennifer Joh

This paper discusses the Renaissance ideal of achieving naturalism in painting. Through the mastery and innovation of certain techniques, artists were able to make paintings look more realistic than the abstracted, geometric look from the earlier Byzantine era. Some of these techniques include the use of one-point perspectives, foreshortening, sfumato, and mathematical precision. These techniques provided a spatial illusion that gave the appearance of depth and perspective, making the piece of work look more naturalistic and three-dimensional. Along with identifying some of the style characteristics used to achieve this idea, this paper also discusses the innovators of those said styles. This paper then compares and contrasts different Madonna Enthroned paintings of the Renaissance (one of the most iconic images in art history). Through comparing the different renditions throughout various years of the Renaissance, one can see the improvements in style and technique that helped accomplish this goal. The idea of this paper is that the constant innovation and handing down of style and technique made it so that this movement was always continuous and improving, never with the goal of reaching perfection.

Full Paper: Italian Renaissance Art: From Abstraction to Naturalism

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