The birth of Venus (1483 - 1485) by Sandro BotticelliUffizi Gallery
The Renaissance is one of the most important periods in the history of Western art. It was the most visible part of a movement that incorporated philosophy, science, music and technology that swept across Europe in the 15th century.
Taking its cues from Classical antiquity but adding contemporary knowledge, pioneering techniques and new artistic sensibilities, the Renaissance was the starter pistol in the race towards the modern age.
Some of its key artistic figures are towering names in the history of art, science and the attainment of knowledge. Although they were grouped into a wider movement, each of the following figures were very different. So, which one do you most resemble?
Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo, known as "Monna Lisa, la Gioconda" or "Mona Lisa", 1503-1519 (1503/1519) by Leonardo di ser Piero DA VINCI, dit Léonard de Vinci (1452 - 1519), Paris, musée du LouvreOriginal Source: Paris, Louvre Museum
Can you turn your hand to anything?
You’re Leonardo da Vinci
Da Vinci is considered one of the most widely talented people ever to have lived. Best known for his paintings, his many notebooks also show him to be an expert in anatomy, astronomy, botany and many other fields of knowledge.
Ginevra de' Benci (c. 1474 - 1478) by Leonardo da VinciNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Da Vinci’s genius was the very epitome of the humanist ideals of the Renaissance, a movement that dragged Europe out of the Middle Ages and set us on a path towards the modern world.
Bib Old T David MichaelangeloLIFE Photo Collection
Have you got a very strong work ethic?
Considered by many to be the finest painter of the Renaissance, if not all time, Michelangelo is perhaps best known for his work on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. But he was also a sculptor, poet and architect. During his life he created an enormous body of work.
Pai Michelangelo. Sistine Chapel.LIFE Photo Collection
He lived to be 88, a very good age for the time, and was actively working throughout his life. His designs formed the basis of St Peter’s Basilica and his work in all fields of art continues to have a huge influence today.
Supper at Emmaus (1601) by Michelangelo Merisi da CaravaggioThe National Gallery, London
Are you prone to bad moods?
Known for his intense paintings that pioneered the dramatic use of light and dark, known as chiaroscuro, this contrast was very reminiscent of the man himself. Caravaggio was famously tempestuous and prone to flying off the handle in fits of rage.
Der ungläubige Thomas (um 1601) by Michelangelo Merisi, named CaravaggioPicture Gallery Sanssouci, Prussian Palaces and Gardens Foundation Berlin-Brandenburg
Perhaps the archetypal artistic temperament, rumors persisted about his erratic behavior throughout his life, and he was frequently involved in violent incidents. However, he was able to channel this energy into his work, becoming a major influence on the Baroque style that was to follow.
Madonna in the Meadow (1505/1506) by RaphaelKunsthistorisches Museum Wien
Do you always know what you want?
Known for the clarity and ease of composition of his work, Raphael was extremely influential in his short life (he died at the age of just 37). The serene and harmonious qualities of his paintings were widely admired and won him the patronage of several Popes.
Madonna Colonna (c. 1508) by RaphaelGemäldegalerie, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
His vision extended to architecture and business too, managing a large workshop that produced vast amounts of work from his drawings and templates. Who knows what Raphael could have gone on to achieve had his life been longer?
La Primavera (Spring) (1481 - 1482) by Botticelli FilipepiUffizi Gallery
Are your talents under appreciated?
Active in the very early years of the Renaissance in the 1470s and 80s, Botticelli’s work focused on religious myth and mysticism. His paintings were very popular and influential at the time. But, after his death his reputation suffered, possibly due to the more adventurous nature of the artists that followed him.
Last Miracle and the Death of St. Zenobius (around 1500) by Sandro BotticelliOld Masters Picture Gallery, Dresden State Art Museums
Botticelli’s talent was reappraised by the Pre-Raphaelites in the 19th century and his reputation restored. His famous works include The Birth of Venus and Madonna and Child.
The Alba Madonna (c. 1510) by RaphaelNational Gallery of Art, Washington DC