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Head of a Youth with a Diadem

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Head of a Youth with a Diadem

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Italian Renaissance painting is most often be divided into four periods: the Proto-Renaissance (1300–1425), the Early Renaissance (1425–1495), the High Renaissance (1495–1520), and Mannerism (1520–1600). The city of Florence is renowned as the birthplace of the Renaissance, and in particular of Renaissance painting. From the early 15th to late 16th centuries, Italy was divided into many political states. The painters of Renaissance Italy wandered Italy, disseminating artistic and philosophical ideas. The Proto-Renaissance begins with the professional life of the painter Giotto and includes Taddeo Gaddi, Orcagna and Altichiero. The Early Renaissance style was started by Masaccio and then further developed by Fra Angelico, Paolo Uccello, Piero della Francesca, Sandro Botticelli, Verrocchio, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Giovanni Bellini. The High Renaissance period was that of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, Andrea del Sarto, Coreggio, Giorgione, the latter works of Giovanni Bellini, and Titian. The Mannerist period, dealt with in a separate article, included the latter works of Michelangelo, as well as Pontormo, Parmigianino, Bronzino and Tintoretto.

Early Renaissance or Quattrocento (Italian mille quattrocento, or 1400) refers to the 15th century in Florentine art. Extraordinary wealth was accumulated in Florence among a growing middle and upper class of merchants and bankers. Florence saw itself as a city-state where the freedom of the individual was guaranteed, and where a significant share of residents had the right to participate in the government. In 1400 Florence was engaged in a struggle with the Duke of Milan. Then, between 1408 and 1414 again, by the King of Naples. Both died before they could conquer Florence. In 1425 Florence won the war against Milan. The Florentine interpreted these victories as signs of God's favor and imagined themselves as the "New Rome". In this new optimistic and wealthy environment, Florentine artists immersed themselves in studies of the humanities, architecture, philosophy, theology, mathematics, science, and design. They spurred a rejuvenation of the glories of classical art in line with the humanistic and individualistic tendencies of the contemporary era. Quattrocento was followed by the High Renaissance, North European Renaissance, Mannerism, and Baroque periods. Unlike the previous proto-renaissances, the innovations that emerged in Florence would go on to cause reverberations in Italy and Northern Europe, which continue to influence culture until today.

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1400 - 1599
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Metropolitan Museum of Art
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