Renaissance art in Italy is developed from Roman art. Artists focused on idealized human form, personification. The figures are made to be monumental. Unlike the northerners, Italian artists didn’t care about the specific shapes of the objects in the background. And what’s more, fresco is the way they developed painting. Since they have to finish the painting before the mural dyestuff dries, they can’t spend too much time on each details like the northerners do.
Early Italian Renaissance
The Birth of Venus, Sandro Botticelli, tempera, 1485.
Three main focusing parts are distributed evenly in the picture, but it doesn’t look stuffy. Angels on the left are sending breeze and flowers to Venus; Venus is standing curved yet stable; Flora on the right is moving towards left to cover Venus, her hair and clothes are blew towards right which exaggerated her action. The picture is full of motivation. And Venus is covering her privates — she’s feeling shy and embarrassed like a human though she’s a goddess. Botticelli didn’t use much perspective in the background which makes the picture solemn, instead he gave us a poetic beauty in his painting.
It’s pretty light on human body. Unlike the northern paintings, figures have really dark shadows to define the shape. The lightness gives us a relaxed dreamy aesthetic ( like ancient Greek style), not the usual grave feeling of Christian Art.
Overall it’s colorful. There are lots of contrast. Background is blue and green, flowers and the coat Flora’s holding is red, and Venus has a bright orange hair.
There are very few obvious lines in the painting. Most lines are in the wrinkles being well controlled. On the left side of Venus’s legs there are slight lines to define the shape of her body, but they are light and well controlled, too.
Textures are basically the same. Hairs are not shiny; the shell doesn’t look slick; skins and fabrics look the same. However, patterns are delicately painted. Flora’s clothes have fashionable patterns; the sea has even rhombic waves.
High Italian Renaissance
The Andrians, Tiziano Vecellio,1518. Oil on canvas.
There are lots of people having carnival in the picture. This picture is telling a myth story yet having lifelike figure motions. And we can tell the detailed painted plants derived from naturalism.
Foreground is contrasty. The trees and ground are dark and the skins are bright. The nude seductive goddess pops out. Titian used the contrast to show his love for classical human body. In the background, things become ambiguous, which makes us feel the atmosphere.
Human bodies are light yellow and orange, and the environment is mainly green and blue. The blue sky especially adds exciting flavor for the circumistance. The girl in the middle is wearing red which is eye-catching. Artist do that on purpose — to drag our eyes back from the nude goddess to the center.
There are much more texture than the early Italian paintings. There are metal, glasses, light fabric, soft skin, rough bark… and so on.
Italian Clergy Self-portrait
The drawing style is from Da Vinci’s sketch.
The clothing is from Pieta.
The scenery outside the window is from Mona Lisa.