High Renaissance

The period from the late 1490s to the 1520s, known as the High Renaissance, is regarded as one of the greatest in the history of art. The experiments and innovations of early the Renaissance achieved their pinnacle, especially in Florence, Venice and Rome. Artists prized harmony and proportion as ideal values. The art of perspective was perfected and the human figure scrutinised closely. There was a greater emphasis on realism, an expanded range of expressions, gestures and poses. Novel subjects such as landscapes and complex historical scenes were achieved.

The technology of painting also changed. Raphael and Titian revelled in the new medium of oil paint, using transparent glazes to achieve modelling and depth of colour. Botticelli, on the other hand, continued to work with his favourite medium of tempera, a mixture of pigment and egg yolk. Wooden panels, as supports for paintings, gradually gave way to canvas since it was lighter, cheaper and more malleable.