Characteristics of Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Art

Classical Art

Discobolus

Medieval Art

Narthex Tympanum

Renaissance Art

3 - Renaissance Example - The School of Athens

Click to see more examples and a list of characteristics

Classical Art
Examples: Bathing Venus, Grave Stele of Hegeso
Characteristics:
– Artists valued balance and harmony.
– Figures were often more perfect than in real life
– Bodies looked active, and motion was believable.
– Faces showed no emotion.
– No clothing
– Scenes showed either heroic figures or people doing tasks from everyday life.
– No sense of perspective

Medieval Art
Examples:
Madonna and Child in Majesty
Characteristics:
– Religious subject matter
– Important figures are shown as larger than others around them
– Figures look stiff with little sense of movement
– Fully clothed
– Faces were serious and showed little emotion.
– Flat and two-dimensional
– Backgrounds were one color.

Renaissance Art
Examples: Madonna and Child with Two Angles, Primavera, Pieta
Characteristics:
– Artists showed religious and non-religious scenes.
– Art reflected great interest in nature.
– Figures were life-like and three-dimensional, reflecting an increasing knowledge of anatomy.
– Bodies looked active and were shown moving.
– Nude or clothed
– Faces expressed what people were thinking.
– Colors were shown responding to light (shadows, shading, etc.)
– Paintings were balanced and symmetrical.
– Full backgrounds show perspective. 

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