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What made the Renaissance
period so great?
1. Oil on Canvas
Oil became the medium of choice during the
Renaissance. This new medium allowed painters
greater richness in colours and a greater ability
to simulate three-dimensional forms and
textures. This new medium revolutionized
painting. It was discovered by Northern
Renaissance artists.
Before oils the common painting medium was
“fresco”. Fresco painting is paint applied on wet
Example of a fresco.
Example of an oil painting
2. Linear Perspective
The use of perspective created
a greater sense of realism.
Giotto was one of the first to
create the illusion of depth by
placing figures behind each
Paolo Uccello
The Holy Trinity
3. Chiaroscuro
A word borrowed from the Italian
language meaning (“light” & “dark”).
It refers to the modeling (adding
values) of shapes in your image by
adding strong light and dark areas.
This creates high contrast and an
intense emotion.
This was one method of strengthening
the illusion of depth on a twodimensional surface, and was an
important topic among artists of the
4. Pyramid Configuration
(a.k.a. triangular composition)
- a method of visually
organizing your composition in
a triangle to create a sense of
5. Sfumato
A “smokelike haziness” – In painting, the
technique of slight blurring of the edges
of figures and objects, creating a hazy
feeling and ariel perspective. It is best
known in the paintings of the Italian
Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci.
The sfumato technique creates the
illusion of depth.
Also known as: ariel perspective or
atmospheric perspective
Example of Sfumato.
Leonardo da Vinci
Virgin of the Rocks
6. Contrapposto
A technique of sculpting (or painting) a
human figure in a pose that shows the
weight of the body in balance. With weight
on one leg, the shoulders and hips
counterbalance each other in a natural way
so that the figure does not fall over.
Developed in the late Greek period. Very
popular during the renaissance because it
reflected a natural pose.
Example of Contrapposto