The Italians more or less invented painting as we know it, way back in the 1200s. At first, painting was mainly church decoration—simplified, flat illustrations of sacred stories and ideas. The way Italian painters gradually became stars of culture, the way they widened their subject matter, the way they developed and refined their style—this is a beautiful story, told with a parade of beautiful and moving images. Your ability to appreciate the art of any period is enhanced by studying the roots of art history.
Italian Art at the Louvre
Names to Share
Cimabue, Fra Angelico, Mantegna, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio, Perugino, da Vinci, Raphael, Bronzino, Vasari, Titian, Tintoretto, Veronese, Caravaggio, Guido Reni, Panini
The first artist to become known as an individual was Cimabue in the 1200s, who mainly painted altarpieces with a lot of gold leaf in the background.
The 1300s was a period of altarpieces, with modeling and perspective becoming gradually more realistic.
The Renaissance was the period of Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael.
The Venetian School produced its own giants: Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese.
The Baroque period of the 1600s was dominated by Caravaggio, whose influence extended across Europe.
In the 1700s, architectural studies were all the rage in Italy, and the master of these was Panini.