Leonardo da Vinci
Ginevra de' Benci
Image courtesy of
The National Gallery of Art, U.S.A
Soon after the Early Renaissance, the new styles and ways of thinking shifted into high gear. Historically, this was the time of the Medici's rule over Florence, the time of Dante's writings, a time of general wealth and enlightenment. The Renaissance fueled a new sense of pride, of nationalism. The High Renaissance, in summary, was a change in life and art.
Effect on Faces and Figures:
Subjects, like before, revolved around people, which make it particularly important in the history of portraiture and figure painting. We can see the progression of expressionism in art. Emotions came to play a large part in artistic impressions. Art broke free of stiff forms and hard lines, and such technical considerations were replaced by color and use of light.
In figure art, there was a greater appreciation for the nude, as shown in many of Michelangelo's pieces. Another thing to note is how things made more sense. In a typical High Renaissance painting, skin tones have better definition and poses were generally more natural.
A new composition was also introduced. One typical Renaissance composition for a commissioned portrait shows a figure, often turned to show a three-quarter view, in front of a natural background. There are usually trees in the background that is shown much smaller than the figure to show a greater sense of distance.