\ Florentia, a Cradle of Renaissance Art – Cesare Attolini

Florentia, a Cradle of Renaissance Art

It is the art city par excellence, the native or adopted home of some of the most illustrious artists the world has ever known: Dante, Boccaccio, Machiavelli, Galileo Galilei, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Botticelli, Donatello, Giotto, to name the most famous. Florence boasts a cultural and artistic patrimony like none other in Europe or the world, which took root in the Middle Ages and spread its wings during the Renaissance.

This new figurative language, associated also with a new way of perceiving man and the world, was inspired by both the local culture and humanism, which had already been brought to the forefront in the previous century by individuals like Francesco Petrarca and Coluccio Salutati. The new artistic styles introduced at the start of the 15th century by masters like Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello, and Masaccio, did not immediately receive patronage. On the contrary, next to the dominant international Gothic style of the time, they remained of minor artistic relevance and were largely misunderstood for at least twenty years. Later, the Renaissance style became the more admired figurative language and started appearing not only in other Italian courts (most notably the Papal court of Rome), but, thanks to the artists’ movements, courts throughout Europe as well. After the first twenty years of the 15th century, Florentine Renaissance style spread rapidly until the middle of the century, with experiments based on a technical-practical approach. The second phase began in the time of Lorenzo de’ Medici, approximately 1450 until his death in 1492, and was characterised by a more intellectual approach.

What followed was a break from the past, dominated by figures like Girolamo Savonarola, who profoundly influenced many artists, convincing them to rethink their choices. The final phase, dating between 1490 and 1520, is known as the Late Renaissance, and is characterised by the presence, in Florence, of three absolute artistic geniuses whose influence would be felt for generations to come: Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, and Raffaello Sanzio.

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