What Is Renaissance Art?

Renaissance art emerged in Italy in the late 14th century, which is also known as the Renaissance period, and is represented through paintings, sculpture, architecture and other decorative art forms. It was named after the period of time during which many parts of Europe saw a renewed interest in learning about classical Roman and Greek culture and is highlighted by Italian masters like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael.

Florence and Rome were the important epicenters for Renaissance art with Florence taking the lead during the 15th century with many merchant families commissioning great works of art throughout the city. The Medici family presided over Florence during the golden age of the city and sculptures adorn the city's Piazza della Signoria. In the beginning of the 16th century, Rome took center stage with the well-known Italian masters. Pope Leo X was a member of the Medici family and resided in Rome during the time. Leonardo da Vinci is considered the ultimate Italian master with infamous works including The "Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper" fresco.