Changes in Art

Art and Architecture flourished during the Middle Ages, but during the Renaissance, some important changes occurred. Here we will look at the differences between medieval and Renaissance art.


Medieval Art

Artists in the Middle Ages wanted to convey a religious message, so their paintings and sculpture had scenes from the Bible or from the lives of saints.

medieval painting

Renaissance Art

During the Renaissance, religious themes (subjects) were still very important in art, but so were themes from Greek and Roman legends; portraits of leaders or their wives; and nature and landscape.

The Birth of Venus - Botticelli
The Birth of Venus – Botticelli


Medieval Art

Medieval paintings and sculpture showed no life or emotion. The faces of different people often looked the same!

Note how the faces are all alike!

medieval painting 2

Renaissance Art

Renaissance artists painted and sculpted people as they were, so the artists paid attention to muscles and bone structure! Note the muscles on the people makes it more life like!

titan paint


Medieval Art

Medieval paintings were painted using egg yolks mixed with powdered colours called egg tempera. This mixture dried quickly so changes or corrections could not be made to the painting. Medieval artists painted on wood panels.

Renaissance Art

Renaissance artists mixed oil with the colours. Because the oil colours dried more slowly, it was possibly for artists to make changes such as colours and shade if needed. Paintings were more realistic as a result. Renaissance artists also used wood panels but they started to use canvas because extra layers of paint could be painted on canvas.


Medieval Art

Medieval paintings lacked depth: they were two-dimensional (2-D). The figures were not to scale! Notice how everybody is the same height/build !

medieval painting 3

Renaissance Art

Renaissance artists used perspective. This meant that they were aware of the different scales in a painting and they gave an impression of depth in their painting. This technique created a 3-D effect. Note how the building and the people at the back are smaller than those at the front!

Renaissance art 2


Medieval Art

Many medieval paintings were frescoes. a fresco was a wall painting done on wet plaster. The paint dried into the plaster and became part of the wall

Renaissance Art

Renaissance artists continued to paint frescoes. Some of the most important paintings in the world are on frescoes.!

So there you have it, art really developed during the Renaissance due to new ideas and inventions

Just in case you haven’t quite got the hang of perspective, how about letting Father Ted try and teach it!

For more on the Renaissance, keep it here at The Áed


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