5 Italian Renaissance painters you should know

Italian Renaissance painters

Today, we will go over some Italian Renaissance painters that we think you should be acquainted with.

If you are considering visiting Italy, there are more than beaches, città d’arte (cities that are artistic masterpieces in themselves), mountains, breathtaking views, great food, awesome wines, and so on

Italy is also endowed with quite a few of the richest museums in the world, many of which are located in Florence (Firenze), a place that was central to the Renaissance.

And this period is important as it signs the beginning of what classically is known as the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern era.

Scientific discoveries and artistic development were at the core of this period. Many well-known paintings date back to the Renaissance.

Let us start listing just a few representatives of this period.


LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519) 

Of course, this list is led off by Leonardo. A man of his time, the quintessential Renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci displayed incomparable skills as a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, and even architect.

He also made contributions as an astronomer, botanist, cartographer, and in some other fields, regardless of his fame is mostly based on his paintings.

Like a great portion of the ones who make up this list, he was from the Republic of Florence, the political, artistic, and economic hub of the period.


He has painted two of the most famous Italian paintings ever (and not only since his work is well-known around the planet):

  • The Mona Lisa (a.k.a La Gioconda the portrait of who was definitely identified as Lisa Gherardini in 2005).
  • and, The Last Supper.

Despite the number of notebooks and manuscripts left behind after his passing, little is known about Leonardo’s personal life.


Botticelli’s fame as an early Renaissance artist and one of the most outstanding Italian Renaissance painters was loomed over by Leonardo’s and Michelangelo’s shadows until the late 19th century when he was discovered and reappraised by the Pre-Raphaelites.

He hailed from Florence, living in the same neighborhood all his life, and is considered to be the point at which Italian Gothic and Renaissance split.


Part of his works are in the Sistine Chapel.

However, he is best-known because of:

  • The Birth of Venus and Primavera; both are at the Uffizi, the most important museum in Florence, totally devoted to Florentine (and Renaissance) art. 


Among the greatest and most famous Italian artists, known as Michelangelo primarily a sculptor, the artist was born in Caprese, a town near Arezzo, in the Republic of Florence’s area back then.

He appreciates his provincial upbringing as it gave him the strength to handle a hammer and chisel to work on marble. His mother died when he was 6.

In his adulthood, he is well-known to have led a very sober life and been a devout Catholic; for those who think the Renaissance art was not religious, suffice to state that the artists never put aside the idea of a superior being from the time.

They simply gave a man a central place in Creation, but Renaissance was still deeply religious.


As a painter, Michelangelo’s best-known work is:

  • The Sistine Chapel Ceiling, which took him 4 years to complete -from 1508 to 1512.

Same as his elder contemporary and rival Leonardo, Michelangelo was a polymath.


Unlike most of the artists from this concise list of Italian painters, Brunelleschi mostly stood out as an architect.

He is, in fact, considered the founding father of Renaissance architecture, and is well-known to be the first person to receive a patent in the Western world, for a boat that showed innovations.

In fact, he could be a very early figure if we start with his dates of birth and death.


His renowned designs are:

  • The dome of the Florence Cathedral (whose completion he would not live long enough to see).
  • The Founding Hospital.
  • The basilicas of San Lorenzo and Santo Spirito.
  • The Pazzi Chapel.
  • Santa Maria degli Angeli.
  • The Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral, among others. 


A list showing Italian Renaissance painters would not be complete without Raffaello Sanzio, also known as Raphael.

The only one not born in the Republic of Florence (instead, he comes from the Republic of Urbino, in modern Marche), Sanzio or Raphael represented the higher stage of the Renaissance.

Along with Leonardo and Michelangelo, he is part of a Renaissance painter’s holy triumvirate.

In his paintings, he would achieve the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur.

He would also be overshadowed by such a giant as Michelangelo but would be rediscovered by the Neoclassical artists.

But, just only before the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood blatantly rejected Raphael’s technique (even though he could never be wiped out once and for all).


Important works of his are:

  • The Raphael Rooms, are now a part of the Vatican Museums.

As well as:

  • The Sistine Madonna the School of Athens.
  • And, last but not least, the Transfiguration.

We hope this article enlightens the readers about these important artists although rather than enlighten you… your artistic appreciation should have a rebirth.

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