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Schools of the Italian Renaissance
Articles | 17 ENE 2022 Por Valeria Correa

We have already talked about some characteristics of the Renaissance in European countries without counting Italy, if you missed that article or want to check it again, click here.

In the country that was the cradle of the Renaissance, various cities stood out in the history of this movement, in which numerous artists performed who became standards of their region and universal references of the movement.

Each city had various workshops that used to have similarities that unified a style that in a certain way represented their place of origin. This phenomenon was known as the emergence of schools, which competed with each other and had characteristics that separated them from the others. However, several artists and among them, the most prolific, used to move from city to city without a defined time limit integrating what seemed best to their style and repertoire of skills.

In this article we will talk about the most famous Renaissance schools and those who formed them, as well as a little about the history of those who belonged to more than one.


The beginning and the peak of the Renaissance can be seen among the representatives of this school. From that artist who broke with the Byzantine traditions of mosaics and filled the works with natural backgrounds whose objects had proportions related to their mass and the space in which they were found, Giotto di Bondone is one of the earliest masters of the Florentine Renaissance and at the same time one of the most important. Until that internationally recognized even today, Michelangelo Buonarotti, creator of the magnificent frescoes on the ceiling and altar of the Sistine Chapel, as well as the unique marble David.

The impulse to art, as well as the political and economic importance that works began to acquire, were factors that created a highly competitive and demanding environment that led those who wanted to dedicate themselves to art to innovate and surpass both others and themselves constantly. That is why, during the Renaissance, the Florentine school not only had innovators like Giotto, but also skilled scholars like Masaccio, who mastered linear perspective with great mastery; Sensitive geniuses appeared like Botticelli, who was concerned with creating works divine enough to please God, and Michelangelo, who was so talented that some of his works were practically impossible to finance, such as the design he intended to make for the tomb of Pope Julius II.

Just as we remember the names and works of the exponents of the Florentine school, we can also recognize the aspects that characterize it, these being the grandeur and ambition for each work and project they carried out. Florentine artists were always looking to do something more grandiose and complex.


When Florence is faced with multiple political and economic problems, the center of art in Italy moves to Rome, where various projects led artists to seek work there. The best examples of the opportunities they had in Rome are found in the Raphael Rooms, St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.

The artists who stood out the most in Rome were part of the great displacement that occurred in the capital due to its accelerated development in the artistic field. Michelangelo triumphed as expected, although he was still very important to Florence. However, the main character on the Roman stage was Raphael, despite the fleetingness of the divine light with which Vasari writes that it bathed all of Rome, there is no doubt that the short time he spent on earth and in said city never it was an impediment for him to leave a mark both in the Roman school and in universal art.

Thanks to the beauty in the works of Raphael, the competitiveness in the Roman school was oriented towards perfection and beauty of forms; the more grace the figures had, the better they would be seen by the public, especially if the work consisted of the immaculate divinity of the Virgin Mother of Jesus and the public were various religious agents such as parishioners, priests, cardinals, among others.


Simultaneously, Florence could no longer compete with Rome in the artistic field, but the Venetian school did fight to raise its name, but while perfection in drawing and the search for beauty fully captured the attention of the Roman school, In Venice, the artists were concerned with other characteristics that, although they do not sound so striking at first, certainly managed to achieve permanence in the history of art and relevance among the branches of aesthetics. These were serenity and balance in the composition.

The representatives of this school left a rich background for universal painting, since in their works they handled loose brushstrokes that created different chromatic modulations and these in turn enriched the treatise on color and light that they already integrated into the work. Among the most prominent of the Venetian school are Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto.

Each of them played with light and composition in such a way that the Venetian school goes down in history, perhaps not as striking as the Florentine or Roman, but unmissable and indispensable.


During the Renaissance Milan had a militarized organization by an important family: the Sforza. Within the fortress of this dynasty, an artist found the perfect place to dedicate himself to each creation that occurred to him, whether it was a work of art or not, this all-round genius was Leonardo da Vinci, the banner of the Lombard school. This school includes as such the territory of Milan and is based mainly on the work of Leonardo, therefore its outstanding characteristics are the beauty in color and mastery in technique.

This school developed with influences from the Florentine - from which Verroccio, Leonardo's teacher, came - and possibly would have stood out more if it had not been for its development in the Low Renaissance. Very possibly a rivalry with Venice or Rome would have led more artists to seek to reach a level like Da Vinci had at the time.

As we could see, the Renaissance not only developed differently between European countries, but also within each country, in this case Italy. However, what may not change no matter how many years go by, is the positive influence that the competitive environment has for the promotion of art, and the wealth gained by the regions (countries, states, cities or more) that it adequately cares about taking advantage of the potential of artists and valuing the cultural heritage they contribute from their production.

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