The Renaissance in Italy: 1500s

When you think of the Renaissance, the names that come to mind are probably the artists of this period (the High Renaissance): Leonardo and Michelangelo, for instance. And when you think of the greatest work of art in the western world, Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling might come to mind. This is a period of big, ambitious projects. Michelangelo’s Sistine Ceiling, Leonardo’s Last Supper, and Raphael’s Stanza frescos shape our understanding of Western culture even today.



veduta grid
Humanism looked to antiquity for inspiration in reforming society and had a tremendous impact on all aspects of life in renaissance Italy—and Europe more broadly—from government to the arts.

Humanism in renaissance Italy


Leon Battista Alberti, Sant’Andrea in Mantua
Eager to serve the interests of their classically-inclined patrons and to demonstrate their own ingenuity, visual artists explored new approaches to form inspired by surviving art and architecture from antiquity as well as ancient authors’ discussions of them.

Humanism in Italian renaissance art