Renaissance, baroque & impressionism: a journey through art history.

The Renaissance, Baroque and Impressionism are three of the most famous art movements of the art history. Each movement has its own characteristics and influences, but they also have some common elements that link them together.

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that began in Italy in the 14th century and spread across Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. It was a time of rediscovery and appreciation of the classical art and literature of antiquity. Renaissance artists strove for realism and perfection in their work, and their artworks were often based on mathematical principles and perspective. They used light and shadow to create depth and dimension in their paintings, and their work was often characterised by bright colours and a pronounced attention to detail. The Renaissance was an era when many talented artists emerged and created masterpieces that have stood the test of time. Some of the most famous Renaissance artists include Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael and Botticelli.

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Raphael, 'The School of Athens', 1509-1510

The Baroque was an art movement that developed in the 17th century in Europe as a reaction to the strict ideals of the Renaissance. Baroque artists strove for drama, movement and emotion in their work. Their paintings were often large in size and featured dramatic compositions, exuberant ornamentation and sumptuous detail. Artists such as Rubens and Caravaggio used dark shadows and dramatic lighting effects to create dramatic tension in their work.

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Baroque dome and vault of the Il Gesù, Rome

The Impressionism emerged in France in the late 19th century as a reaction to the academic art that had been the norm until then. Impressionist artists, such as Monet, Renoir and Degas, sought to capture reality as they saw it, rather than an idealised version of it. They used vibrant colours and lighting effects to capture the mood of a moment, and created paintings with a loose, spontaneous style. Impressionism was an important step towards modern art and had a major influence on the development of abstract art.

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Renoir, Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette, 1876

Although Renaissance, Baroque and Impressionism each have their own characteristics and influences, they also have common elements that link them together. All three movements were a reaction to the prevailing art movement of their time, and all three movements had a major influence on the development of art history in the centuries that followed. Moreover, all three movements were strongly influenced by the technological developments and scientific discoveries of their time, and used these to improve and refine their art.

In terms of art history, the Renaissance, Baroque and Impressionism have been three highly influential art movements. Although each has its own characteristics, they are linked by their pursuit of innovation, expression and beauty. These movements paved the way for modern art and have had a lasting impact on the art world as we know it today.

Roman, Romanesque, Gothic, Neoclassicism, Expressionism, Cubism, there are many more styles and movements. Would you like to learn to recognise and distinguish them? Then follow our Introduction to Art History course!