A Renaissance Gallery

Five artists who captured the imagination of the church: Masaccio, Fra Angelico, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael

By Rachel Smith

The optimism and confidence in human potential that characterized the Renaissance produced an extraordinary number of exceptional artists. The painters showcased here reveal key aspects of the development of Renaissance art. Each was informed by the Christian faith that undergirded their society, and each, in turn, shaped the Christian tradition for centuries to follow.

Masaccio (1401-c.1428)

His name may not be known to most people today, yet little more than a century after the painter Masaccio’s death, the 16th-century biographer Giorgio Vasari identified him as a key figure in the history of Renaissance art, writing that “he gave birth to that modern style which has been followed from those [Masaccio's] times down to our own day by all our artists.”

Masaccio rejected the artistic conventions of grace and idealized beauty for sacred subjects in favor of representations that were, in the words of Vasari, “lifelike, true, and natural.” He wanted to make the Christian faith more tangible and accessible to the common person.

Read the rest of this article at www.christianhistory.net.

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