As the uneventful Dark Ages faded away, its successor was much more appealing with its increasing stability and prosperity.The Renaissance began in the late 14th century with the revival of classical learning of the Ancient Romans and Greeks. With this increase and desire for knowledge came breakthroughs such as the printing press, a new system of astronomy, and the Age of Exploration. While many were out on the seas searching for the New World, back in Europe, new types of literature and especially art were emerging thanks to the new type of thinking emerging during the Renaissance. This new type of art began in Italy in as the Renaissance surfaced and peaked in the late 15th century and early 16th century with artist like Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. While Renaissance art had characteristics of Greco-Roman traditions, it also focused on classicism, the physical realism of the individual, and the beauty and mystery of nature. The ideals and values of the Renaissance did not just appear, rather, near the end of the Dark Ages some Italian scholars and artists began to revisit the ideals of classical Roman and Greek culture. This time during the Dark Ages is now known as the “Proto-Renaissance” (1280-1400). Writers like Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio attempted to revive the languages, values, and traditions of the ancient civilizations of Rome and Greece. Artists like Giotto of Florence (1267-1337), who is famous for his frescoes in the Cathedrals of Rome, Assisi, and Florence, also attempted to reintroduce the art type emphasized by classical Rome and Greece by representing the human body realistically which would soon be the focus of the art in the near approaching Renaissance. The “Proto-Renaissance” came to a halting end when Italy and the rest of Europe were overcome with plague and war. The classical Roman and Greek ideals and values of the “Proto-Renaissance” did not resurface until the Early Renaissance which lasted from 1401 to 1490. Painters and sculptors of the Early Renaissance took hold of classicism (clarity, simplicity, and balance) and physical realism. In other words, these artists were part of the formative period where the techniques for classicism were developed and refined. Donatello and Masaccio are two famous artists of the Early Renaissance. Donatello was the master of Early Renaissance sculpting in which his most famous work is David. Masaccio is an artist most influential for his intellectual nature and naturalism of his works. The most well-known of his works are the frescoes of The Trinity in the Church of Santa Maria Novella (1426) and Brancacci Chapel of the Church of Santa Maria del Carmine (1427). Following the Early Renaissance that thrived in Florence, there came the High Renaissance which was home to Rome from 1490 to 1527. At this point, the foundation for classicism and physical realism in art had been poured. Artists of this time continued with classicism and physical realism but also built on these themes. Masaccio and Donatello had stepped down as leaders of Italian Renaissance art while Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael stepped up as the new leaders during the High Renaissance. First, Michelangelo found inspiration by drawing on the human body. Michelangelo is famous for sculpting Pietá in the St. Peter’s Cathedral (1499) and David (1501-1504). Not only is Michelangelo is a sculptor but is also a painter as seen by his fresco on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel which depicts scenes of Genesis. Second, Leonardo da Vinci is known as the “Renaissance Man” because of his wide range of intellect, talent, expression of classical values. His most famous paintings are Mona Lisa (1503-1505) and the fresco of The Last Supper (1495-98). Both of these works show Vinci’s outstanding ability to exhibit contrast between light and dark, and the physical relationship between humans, animals, and other living organisms. Last, of the masters of High Renaissance art, Raphael is the youngest of the three leaders and learned from both Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. His most famous painting is The School of Athens (1508-1511) which portrays the classical ideals of beauty, peace, and harmony. Following the High Renaissance, the Late Renaissance, which lasted from 1527 to 1600, adopted an art form that was less balanced and simplistic than the art of the High Renaissance. This new art form is known as Mannerism. While Mannerism continued to recognize classical values and physical individuals, it gained a more grand and complex feeling. It acquired this reputation through its distortion of physical forms, unnatural coloring and lighting, complex poses of figures, and the imbalance of the painting. During this Late Renaissance art movement, no real leader appeared. The most famous Mannerist artist is El Greco. In his paintings Opening of the Fifth Seal (1608-1614) and The Disrobing of Christ (1577-1579), these elements of elongated bodies and discoloration of the Mannerist movement are evident. This movement previewed and influenced the art of the upcoming Baroque era.While the artists of the Italian Renaissance focused on classicism, elsewhere the artists of the Low Country Renaissance thought a little different. During this time, in the Low country, modern Belgium and Netherlands, also focused on physical realism but for a different reason. Italian artists appealed to physical realism because it was a part of classicism in which the wanted to relive the art of classical Europe and relate it back to Christian works. On the other hand, Low Country artists painted with physical realism because they dedicated to truly and efficiently portraying the physical world around them. This artistic movement brought forth genre painting and landscape painting. One major artist of this movement is Bruegel. His most famous paintings are the Landscape with the Fall of Icarus (1558) which portrays the everyday idea that men are inconsiderate and do not truly care about others as seen by Icarus drowning while no one cares to rescue him. His other famous paintings are The Triumph of Death (1562) and Landscape with the Flight Into Egypt (1563). Throughout the Renaissance, Italy was devoutly Catholic. It could have been because the center of Catholicism was in the center of Rome, Italy in the Vatican. Anyway, the Catholic Church was collectively politically powerful and wealthy. Thanks to the highly religious standards at this time in Italy almost all art was religious. Not only did the Church influence art in that way, but Church officials would buy and commissioned art from painters in order to hang the paintings in the cathedrals and chapels. Also, wealthy families like the Medici’s would commission religious art in order to show their support toward the Church. This support and money artists received from the wealthy families and from Church members gave the artists motivation to continue their careers and produce paintings and works that would be known forever. One of the major patrons of Renaissance art was Pope Julius II who of course loved art and commissioned a good amount of pieces for the Vatican. Under his patronage, Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. Sadly, the Church sometimes put intense pressure on the artists so much so that some of them began to question their faith in Catholicism such as Michelangelo. To conclude, Renaissance art brought forth the focus of humanism and realism within art in which continue to this day. These artists also presented the idea of human potential whether it be through knowledge or everyday life. Such portrayal of human potential can be seen in art a few years after the Renaissance all the way to present day. These men sought to paint real, true, down to earth feelings that humans experience which can be seen in the Mona Lisa through her facial expressions and the colors used for the painting. Such paintings allow for an actual connection between the art and the human. Not only did artists like da Vinci paint but they also influenced world forever through their intellect in science. For example, da Vinci helped with the first studies of human anatomy. Leonardo da Vinci’s excellence in both art and science show us human potential just as artists of this time portrayed and many more artist from different time periods would attempt. Also, da Vinci shows us that art can be tied to science or any other subject or part of life. Also, Mannerism of the Late renaissance would motivate the art of the Baroque period and the art of the Low Country Renaissance presented the world with genre and landscape paintings that to this day are popular type of paintings. Most of all, the Renaissance influence art eternally by the idea that art should be a reflection of reality. Works CitedHistory.com Staff. “Renaissance Art.” History.com, A+E Networks,2010,www.hist ory.com/topics /renaissance-art.”Religious and Philosophical Influences on High Renaissance Art.” Study.com, Study.com, study.com/academy/lesson/religious-philosophical-influeces-on-high-r Enaissance-art.html. “Renaissance Painting.” Renaissance Painting | Essential Humanities, www.essential-h umanities.net/western-art/painting/renaissance/.”The Influence of the Renaissance on Modern American Society, Culture and Art.” Article Myriad, www.articlemyriad.com/influence-renaissance-modern-american-s ociety/.