The art renaissance began in the 14th century in both Northern Europe and Italy, but they were vastly different. However, both spurred social change and scientific discovery. During this renaissance, art style changed in composition, color, religious representation, anatomy, and architecture.
Northern Art Renaissance
The Northern Art Renaissance experienced changes in the composition of paintings, adjustments in the types of color and texture, discoveries in anatomy, differences in religious representation in art, and a surge in Gothic style architecture.
Building space around figures became the norm
In Northern Europe, triptych, or tri-fold, paintings became increasingly popular. This meant that artists had much more space to work with and were much more strategic with the symbolism in their work. Space was created around the figures in the artwork.
The climate in Northern Europe was cold and arid. Due to this, most painting was done with oil paint and the techniques to use oil were refined. The colors were rich and dark, like jewel tones. This gave the painting a sense of realism and heavy lines of texture.
The Northern Art Renaissance focused on construction of clothing to show anatomy. The weather in Northern Europe was very cold during the 14th and 15th centuries, meaning that most artists used the mass amounts of fabric worn by the average citizen in their art to display depth.
Northern Renaissance Artists created work for private patrons and most of the art created during this period was for private consumption. Patrons appeared in the paintings they purchased to show their piousness through symbolism and religious representation.
Gothic Style architecture was continued from the Medieval Period
The Gothic style of the Northern Art Renaissance included arched windows, dark colored building with flying buttresses and stained glass. These buildings were vast and very tall, with multiple spires and towers. Changes in engineering occurred to support these vast structures.
The Italian Art Renaissance underwent changes in dimension and measuring, improvements in fresco techniques and preservation, more advanced understanding in anatomy, altered representation of religious figures, and a call back to Ancient Roman and Greek architecture.
Mathematical techniques advanced for perspective and measuring
The use of measuring and realistic vanishing points became more important in the Italian Art Renaissance. Italian artists interpreted space before they placed figures into the painting, instead of building the space around figures. Artists used linear perspective to measure accurate depth.
The climate in Italy during the Art Renaissance was hot and humid. This meant that painting on fresco, which is wet plaster, was the easiest method. The wet plaster, after it dried and hardened, gave paintings a pastel look with a chunky, 3-dimensional texture.
Heavy focus on physical anatomy and the use of dissection
The style of anatomy during the Italian Art Renaissance harkened back to Ancient Greek and Roman sculpture. Artists used these ancient sculptures combined with their more modern knowledge of human anatomy to construct more realistically proportional bodies.
During the Italian Art Renaissance, artists became more symbolic and creative in the way they showed their religious figures. Furthermore, art was made to be viewed by the public and displayed in public places. Public art competitions were popular for artists to display their work in public areas.
Per the Ancient Greek and Roman architecture, the Italian Art Renaissance experienced large domed buildings with columns and triangular pediments. The overall design of buildings also changed, with specific representation in how buildings related to one another and were shaped.