Central Italy

A new realism appears in the art of central Italy in the 15th century.

1400 - 1500 (Early Renaissance)

Beginner's guide

Learn about the suite of tools Italian Renaissance artists used to create an illusion of space, and a body that moves easily.

videos + essays

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Donatello, <em>David</em>
Donatello, David

His nudity references classical antiquity, but David embodies the ideals and concerns of 15th-century Florence.

Fra Angelico, <em>The Annunciation</em>
Fra Angelico, The Annunciation

The life-sized figures of Mary and Gabriel occupy an open porch—a space not unlike the cloisters of San Marco.

Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti, <em>Sacrifice of Isaac</em>
Filippo Brunelleschi and Lorenzo Ghiberti, Sacrifice of Isaac

Brunelleschi’s panel may be scarier, but Ghiberti’s is more emotionally complex. In both, an angel saves the day.

Laudario of Sant’Agnese
Laudario of Sant’Agnese

The Laudario of Sant'Agnese is one of the most important examples of early Renaissance illumination and it was decorated by two of the most sought-after workshops at the time.

Giovanni Bellini, <em>Brera Pietà</em>
Giovanni Bellini, Brera Pietà

Bellini zooms in on three figures—the Virgin Mary, Christ, and John—to create a sense of our being with them after Christ's death

Andrea della Robbia’s bambini at the Ospedale degli Innocenti, Florence
Andrea della Robbia’s bambini at the Ospedale degli Innocenti, Florence

In the five centuries since they were installed, Andrea della Robbia's sculptures of children have become a widely recognized symbol of the Innocenti hospital and of childhood itself

Mariko Mori on Botticelli’s <i>The Annunciation</i>
Mariko Mori on Botticelli’s The Annunciation

Contemporary artist discusses how Botticelli's "The Annunciation" teaches humility

Filippino Lippi’s <em>Madonna and Child</em>, an early image of enslaved people in renaissance Florence
Filippino Lippi’s Madonna and Child, an early image of enslaved people in renaissance Florence

A 15th-century Florentine painting tells us about the arrival of oil painting to the city, international trade, and slavery in the renaissance.

Gentile Bellini, <em>Portrait of Sultan Mehmed II</em>
Gentile Bellini, Portrait of Sultan Mehmed II

Gentile Bellini's portrait of Mehmed II has been re-interpreted and understood many times since it was produced nearly 550 years ago.

Botticelli, <em>Portrait of a Man with a Medal of Cosimo il Vecchio de’ Medici</em>
Botticelli, Portrait of a Man with a Medal of Cosimo il Vecchio de’ Medici

Touch an artwork? Sandro Botticelli’s Portrait of a Man with a Medal helped viewers to think about touch and physical experience.

Carlo Crivelli, <em>The Annunciation with Saint Emidius</em>
Carlo Crivelli, The Annunciation with Saint Emidius

What are Persian carpets, a peacock, and a cucumber doing in a painting of The Annunciation?

Donatello, <em>Saint George</em>
Donatello, Saint George

A soldier saint in Renaissance Florence.

Selected Contributors