The Renaissance didn't happen overnight, and it was relatively short-lived. It is fundamentally an Italian style, and although it's influences were felt throughout Europe, each individual European territory kept to their own artistic style. Renaissance art was born out of a new , rapidly evolving civilization that marked an end to the Middle Ages and the beginning of the modern world.
The Renaissance in Italy started gradually, its beginnings being apparent even in Giotto's work, a century before the Renaissance actually came into being. The name means rebirth. The idea of rebirth lies at the heart of all Renaissance achievement: artists, scholars, scientists, philosophers, architects, and rulers believed that the way to greatness and enlightenment was through the study of the golden ages of the Greeks and Romans.
The main elements of the Early Renaissance were antiquity and observation of the physical world. The artists of this period had no dearth of ancient models because they were surrounded by ancient remains. The following elements of the physical world were also key: the human body and correct anatomy, perspective made feasible by the rediscovery of vanishing points and the use of a machine called camera obscura, a box in which perspective distances of the subject an artist was working on could be imaged correctly.
The High Renaissance is where works of art literally came alive. The artists were striving to capture the central importance of mankind, anatomy, movement, religious emotion, the classical ideal, the monumental, and the unforgettable. A lot of the artist of this Renaissance have become household words.
Sandro Botticelli 1445-1510
Leonardo da Vinci 1452-1519
Michelangelo Buonarroti 1475-1564
Lorenzo Lotto 1480-1557
Raphael Sanzio 1483-1520
Tiziano Vecellio 1485-1576