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History >> Renaissance for Kids

There were many great artists during the Renaissance. Perhaps the most famous are Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. Other artists, however, had great influence both during Renaissance times and later, even influencing modern day artists.

Here is a list of some of the most famous Renaissance artists:

Donatello (1386 - 1466)

Donatello was a sculptor and one of the pioneers in Renaissance art. He lived in Florence, Italy at the start of the Renaissance. He was a humanist and interested in Greek and Roman sculpture. He introduced new ways of creating depth and perspective in art. Some of Donatello's most famous sculptures include David, St. Mark, the Gattamelata, and the Magdalene Penitent.

Jan van Eyck (1395 - 1441)

Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter. He is often known as the "father of oil painting" because of all the new techniques and advances he made in oil painting. Van Eyck was known for extraordinary detail in his paintings. His works include the Arnolfini Portrait, Annunciation, Lucca Madonna, and the Ghent Altarpiece.

Arnolfini Portrait
The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck

Masaccio (1401 - 1428)

Masaccio is often called the "father of Renaissance painting". He introduced the painting of lifelike figures and realism to his subjects that had not been done previously in the Middle Ages. He also used perspective and light and shadow in his paintings. Many painters in Florence studied his frescos in order to learn how to paint. His works include Tribute Money, Holy Trinity, and Madonna and Child.

The Tribute Money by Masaccio

Botticelli (1445 - 1510)

Botticelli was a ward of the Medici family of Florence during the growth of the Italian Renaissance. He painted a number of portraits for the Medici family as well as many religious paintings. He is probably most famous for his paintings on the Sistine Chapel at the Vatican in Rome. His works include The Birth of Venus, Adoration of the Magi, and The Temptation of Christ.

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)

Often called the true "Renaissance Man", Leonardo was an artist, scientist, sculptor, and architect. As an artist, his paintings are some of the most known paintings in the world including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Click here to read more about Leonardo da Vinci.

Michelangelo (1475 - 1564)

Michelangelo was a sculptor, artist, and architect. He was considered to be the greatest artist during his time. He is famous for both his sculptures and his paintings. His two most famous sculptures are the Pietà and David. His most known paintings are frescos on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

Michelangelo's David
David by Michelangelo

Raphael (1483 - 1520)

Raphael was a painter during the High Renaissance. His paintings were known for their perfection. He painted many portraits as well as hundreds of paintings of angels and the Madonna. His works include the The School of Athens, Portrait of Pope Julius II, and the Disputation of the Holy Sacrament.

Caravaggio (1571 - 1610)

Caravaggio was one of the last great Renaissance artists. He was known for his realistic physical and emotional paintings. He also made use of light in his painting for added drama. His art influenced the next era of painting called the Baroque style of painting.

The Calling of Saint Matthew by Caravaggio


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    How did the Renaissance start?
    Medici Family
    Italian City-states
    Age of Exploration
    Elizabethan Era
    Ottoman Empire
    Northern Renaissance
    Daily Life
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    Christopher Columbus
    Johannes Gutenberg
    Henry VIII
    Queen Elizabeth I
    William Shakespeare
    Leonardo da Vinci

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