What Are the Characteristics of Renaissance Art?

Buena Vista Images/Photolibrary/Getty Images

Renaissance art is best characterized as a form focusing on Christian religious imagery using the classical influences of ancient Greek and Roman art and applying scientific and mathematic principles to create depth and realism in works. Renaissance artists were often both scientific and creative.

Renaissance paintings were much more realistic than earlier works, using techniques like perspective and foreshortening to create an illusion of three dimensions. Painters created new oil paint blends, allowing the innovation of oil-on-canvas, an easier medium to work with than wet plaster. Sculptors rediscovered classical techniques and created their own innovations for more realistic works. Throughout the Renaissance, artists applied the disciplines of science and math to improve old techniques.