High Renaissance

The High Renaissance, in the history of art, denotes the culmination of the art of the Italian Renaissance between 1450 and 1527. Because Pope Julius II patronized many artists during this time, the movement was centered in Rome; it had previously been centered in Florence.

High is generally held to have emerged in the late 1490s, when Leonardo da Vinci executed his "Last Supper" in Milan. The paintings in the Vatican by Michelangelo and Raphael represent the culmination of the style in painting. The style was introduced to architecture by Donato Bramante, who in 1502 built the Tempietto, with its majestic proportions signifying the full-scale revival of ancient Roman architecture. High Renaissance sculpture, as exemplified by Michelangelo's "Pietà" and "David", is characterized by the ideal balance between statics and movement. The serene mood and luminous colours of Giorgione and young Titian exemplify the High Renaissance in Venice.

The High Renaissance is widely viewed as the greatest explosion of creative genius in history. Even relatively minor painters active during the period, such as Fra Bartolomeo and Mariotto Albertinelli, produced works remarkable for their perfect harmony and total control of the painterly mediums. The elongated proportions and exaggerated poses in the late works of Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto and Correggio prefigure the nascent Mannerism, as the Late Renaissance is referred to in the history of art. Raphael's death in 1520 and the sack of Rome in 1527 spelled the end of the High Renaissance.

High Renaissance Sculpture was normally commissioned by the public and the state, this becoming more popular for sculpture is an expensive art form. Sculpture was often used to decorate or embellish architecture, normally within courtyards where others were able to study and admire the commissioned art work. Wealthy individuals like Carnivals, rulers and bankers were the more likely private patrons along with very wealthy families; Pope Julius II also patronized many artists. During the High Renaissance there was the development of small scale statuettes for private patrons, the creation of busts and tombs also developing. The subject matter related to sculpture was mostly religious but also with a significant strand of classical individuals in the form of tomb sculpture and paintings.The High Renaissance was the culmination of the artistic developments of the Early Renaissance, and one of the great explosions of creative genius in history. It is notable for three of the greatest artists in history: Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raphael Sanzio and Leonardo da Vinci.

Also active at this time were such masters as Giorgione, Titian and Giovanni Bellini.

By about the 1520s, High Renaissance art had become exaggerated into the style known as Mannerism.


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