Botticelli, Nascita di Venere

Tuscany: birthplace of the Renaissance

Brunelleschi, Donatello, Masaccio, Botticelli, Leonardo and Michelangelo are all examples of shining Renaissance genius

The period of the Florentine Renaissance coincided with the height of the city’s power and the time of that dominant, powerful ruling family, the Medici. The artistic patronage of the Medici was one of the fundamental factors in the extraordinary development of culture and art during this period.
Many elements factored in the creative revolution that took place, such as the slow advance of Humanistic ideas and the re-evaluation of the central figure of man. The search for correct and precise proportions, geometric harmony and a general turn towards more classical aesthetic standards (rather than the Gothic style which had been predominant until then) all influenced this cultural revolution. Florentine art, in which the individual became the central figure, lead the way in Italy and the rest of Europe.
The most noteworthy artists from the city, which had become a kind of open multi-disciplinary workshop, were Brunelleschi for his architecture (most incredible is his design of the dome of the Santa Maria del Fiore cathedral), Donatello for his sculpture (his bronze ‘David’ at the Bargello is the most famous) and Masaccio for his paintings (he painted, among other things, the frescoes in the Branacci al Carmine chapel). These men may have been a the forefront although there were of course many others such as Leon Battista Alberti, who worked a great deal on the question of creating a sense of prospective and who also worked outside Florence in Rimini, Rome and Mantova. Also important are Ghilberti, Jacopo della Quercia and Botticelli.
It was in the Florentine workshops that the Renaissance really took root and matured. For example, there was the work shop of Beato Angelico, where Benozzo Gozzoli and Filippo Lippi trained, and the workshop of Verrocchio, where Leonardo da Vinci began to develop his universal genius.
The arts in Florence reached their highest point in the sixteenth century, at which point political and economic problems and the a desire to gain the patronage of the Pope drew many artists away from Florence to Rome. Some artists still operated from Florence such as Vasari, Michelangelo, Raffaello, Leonardo da Vinci and Benvenuto Cellini. Among the many achievements of the Renaissance is the planning the building of Pienza (known in ancient times as Corsignano). This town was built following the Humanistic plan of Pio II Piccolomini which was interpreted by Bernardo Rossellino, one of the many ‘minor’ artists and architects who contributed to the diffusion of Tuscan art all over Europe.