Early renaissance

c. 1300–1450. The transition from the Late Gothic to the Renaissance is extremely varied. In Italian art c. 1300 the works of Giotto and his contemporaries already indicate a first surge of interest in the phenomena of the temporal world, for example Giotto’s frescoes (c. 1305–10) in the Arena Chapel in Padua (e.g. Joachim and the Shepherds, Betrayal of Christ and Lamentation)) or the cycle of scenes from the Life of St Francis (c. 1290) by unknown masters in the Upper Church of S Francesco at Assisi. Vasari correctly saw this as a first stage in the ‘rinascità’. In the fresco by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, the Effects of Good Government (1338–9; Siena, Pal. Pub.), buildings and landscape attain a realism unrivalled until the second quarter of the 15th century. North of the Alps the art associated with Emperor Charles IV’s court in Prague, with its strong emphasis on the body and on space, and the tendency to portray strongly characterized individuals (e.g. the portrait busts, from 1372, in the triforium of the choir of Prague Cathedral), can also be seen as part of the prologue to the Renaissance.
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