Central and Northern Italy in the 16th century

This is a period of ambitious commissions—the Sistine Chapel ceiling, the Tomb of Pope Julius II...

1500 - 1600

videos + essays

We're adding new content all the time!

Michelangelo, <em>David</em>
Michelangelo, David

Where’s Goliath? David scans for his enemy. This colossal sculpture is itself a giant of High Renaissance art.

Nicola da Urbino, a dinner service for a duchess
Nicola da Urbino, a dinner service for a duchess

A service made for Isabella d'Este, the most important female patron of the Renaissance.

Tiny timelines: Michelangelo in context
Tiny timelines: Michelangelo in context

What was happening in the world during Michelangelo's lifetime?

Medici porcelain, a failed experiment
Medici porcelain, a failed experiment

The powerful Medici family of Florence tried—and failed—to make true Chinese porcelain in the 16th century.

Jacopo Pontormo, <em>Entombment</em> (or <em>Deposition from the Cross</em>)
Jacopo Pontormo, Entombment (or Deposition from the Cross)

This altarpiece lacks setting and symbols, but it’s hardly empty. Moving figures fill the space.

Mannerism, an introduction
Mannerism, an introduction

What is mannerism, and why did it develop in the 16th century?

Printmaking in Europe, c. 1400−1800
Printmaking in Europe, c. 1400−1800

The portability and affordability of prints contributed to the exchange of information and ideas between cultures.

Who was Michelangelo?
Who was Michelangelo?

He was mythologized by followers, emulated by artists, celebrated by humanists, and patronized by a total of nine popes.

Raphael, an introduction
Raphael, an introduction

Raphael’s untimely death at the age of 37 while at the height of his visual powers only solidified the legend of his extraordinary talent.

Renaissance woman: Isabella d’Este
Renaissance woman: Isabella d’Este

In history classes, we often hear about renaissance men: Cosimo de’ Medici, Leonardo da Vinci, and Niccolò Machiavelli. Where were the women?

Michelangelo
Michelangelo

Michelangelo was known as il divino, (in English, “the divine one”) and it is easy for us to see why.

The Medici collect the Americas
The Medici collect the Americas

After Columbus landed on Hispaniola in 1492, items from the Americas were shipped to Europe where they were perceived as exotic items of wonder and fascination.

Selected Contributors