Early Renaissance Oil Paintings

The Renaissance marked the rebirth of classicism and the recovery of classical culture of Greek and Rome. Religious subject matter and patronage began to decline. The church was no longer the only patron of art; suddenly princes like Lorenzo de Medici were also buying art works and supporting poets and scholars. These new patrons also encouraged the philosophy of humanism, with made man, not God, the center of reference.

Artists attempted to represent the world by understanding its structure. Early Renaissance artists in Florence and Rome, in particular, tried to depict people in more realistic, three-dimensional form. They tried to depict architecture in ways that recreated illusionistic depth through mathematical perspective. The marked a turn from the more decorative or purely schematic depictions of the High Gothic period, or International Style, as it was known in Italy.

The biggest selling items during this period remained devotional images of the Holy Filmily, Adam and Eve, assorted saints, and scenes from the Bible. Only later did Renaissance artists begin to draw on the entire range of mythological and social subjects for their works.