Italian Renaissance Art News

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Hans Holbein

Hans Holbein painter to the English Court of Henry VIII.

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Filippino Lippi

Filippino Lippi the illegitimate son of Fra Filipo Lippi and the nun Lucrezia Buti

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The Da Vinci Drawings.

Leonardo mans headThe Leonardo Da Vinci Drawings give us a valuable insight into the depth of knowledge experienced by the great artist.

We are fortunate that a vast body of Leonardo’s drawings have survived these are scattered in various collections across the world. Leonardo dictated his last will and testament on his deathbed on 23 April 1519, he bequeathed all his manuscripts to his pupil Francesco Melzi.

The sheer abundance of drawings on subjects as varied as Anatomy, Weapons of war, Maps, and Botany all in addition to his many studies for paintings provide an insight into Leonardo’s genius.

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Artemisia Gentileschi. Triumph in the face of Adversity.

Gentileschi self-portrait

Born in Rome in July 1593 Artemisia Gentileschi is the most important female painter of the late renaissance and early baroque eras some say that she is the greatest female painter ever.

Because of the notoriety surrounding her rape and subsequent trial it has been too easy to forget about her wonderful talent as an artist. Had Artemisia been a man she would have been regarded as one of the greatest masters of her age.

Until recently the few successful renaissance women painters have been largely overlooked or merely given the briefest of mentions thankfully this has now changed.

The National Gallery in London has an exhibition showing 29 of Artemisia's paintings. The exhibition closes on 24 January 2021.

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The Mona Lisa. Leonardo da Vinci's enigmatic masterpiece.

Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is undoubtedly the world’s most recognised painting, it is also the most famous portrait in the world. Being the most famous does not imply that it is the best but certainly it is a masterpiece of outstanding quality.

It does not explain the fascination with the Mona Lisa's smile, or the speculation and theories surrounding the painting. According to Vasari, Leonardo employed singers and bell ringers and other entertainers to keep Lisa amused while he was painting her, hence the smile. Others have claimed that the smile evolved during the years that Leonardo reworked the painting.

Leonardo has achieved his masterpiece by leaving something to the imagination. The outline is not firmly drawn and is softened almost merging with the background allowing the colours to mellow. This harmonious invention of Leonardo's has been given the Italian name 'sfumato'.

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Leda and the Swan. Leonardo da Vinci’s much-copied lost painting.

Leda and the Swan

Leonardo’s original painting has been lost, it was reportedly seen in Fontainebleau in 1625 and was described as being in a poor state having been done on three long panels which had split and broken off. Some experts doubt that Leonardo ever completed the painting we only know the work through countless copies by Leonardo’s followers and from the master’s preparatory drawings.

The subject of Leda and the Swan has been explored by many artists throughout history. Correggio, Michelangelo, and Paul Cezanne are among the artists who have produced versions of the story.

All of Leonardo’s works were much admired by his contemporaries, Raphael made a copy of the standing Leda from Leonardo’s cartoon and the painting has been copied several times.

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La Belle Ferroniere. Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Lucrezia Crivelli?

La Belle FerronieLa Belle Ferronierere

Lucrezia Crivelli was a lady in waiting to the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza's consort Beatrice d’ Este. The beautiful Lucrezia was married to a courtier of Bona of Savoy and bore him a daughter. It has been reported that Ludovico was unhappy with his marriage to Beatrice and certainly by 1495 he was conducting an affair with Lucrezia.

The vitality and beauty that Leonardo has achieved with this portrait was acclaimed at the time when it was first created, the painting’s power to astonish and delight the viewer has remained unabated for more than 500 years.

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Masaccio The Work of a Renaissance Master.

In 1424 (date disputed) Masaccio painted his Holly Trinity for the Santa Maria Novella church in Florence. This fresco is considered to be one of his finest masterpieces and was rediscovered in 1861 after being hidden by a stone altarpiece in the sixteenth century.

The frescoes by Masaccio in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence are among his most famous and important works. They were painted between 1425 and 1426 and contain Masaccio's best-known work the "Rendering of the Tribute Money".

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Titian's works the Frari. Paintings in the Santa Maria Gloriosa.


The followers of St Francis of Assisi, The Friars Minor, founded the church in 1225. Dedicated to the Virgin Mary the S. Maria dei Frari became known locally as simply the Frari.

The Pesaro Madonna is named after Jacopo Pesaro a member of that powerful and noble family

The painting is unusual because of Titian’s innovation that removed the Virgin and Child from the centre of the composition placing the principal figures to one side. Despite this, there can be no doubt that these figures command the apex of the geometrical pyramid within the painting.

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Botticelli’s Venus and Mars

Botticelli Mars

Botticelli’s Venus and Mars was painted sometime after Primavera, probably around 1483.

Venus and Mars are lying facing each other in a garden, they are accompanied by four playful satyrs who mischievously disturb the tranquillity within the sacred grotto of myrtle trees. The satyrs are described as lustful figures an emotion which they are attempting to rekindle in the sleeping God.

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