The Italian High Renaissance is the defining movement in art history. No other artistic movement has contributed more to development of art as a whole. Before the Italian Renaissance artist held the same position in society as any other skilled craftsmen and were given as much respect as carpenters and goldsmiths. But, in the 1400's this all changed. A new revolution in art opened the eyes of the world to the glory of the world itself. Before 1400 the primary subjects of art were religious in nature. Aside from commissioned portraits most artists made their livings painting biblical scenes and portraits of saints. It was generally assumed that only religious imagery was deserving of reproduction. The painting technique itself was fairly primitive with little respect to correct anatomical form, atmospheric condition, or geometric shape. Paintings appeared flat and lack luster. The subjects where often showed in profile and a lack of appropriate shading made them level with no real depth or perspective. But, during the Renaissance a new interest in Greek and Roman culture lead to an explosion in knowledge about the human form along with innovations in mathematics and science. Suddenly, all creations of God, and the human form in particular became revered as testament to God's great power and perfection. Beauty became connected to morality and the pursuit of beauty in art became widespread. The nude human form, linear perspective, atmospheric perspective, and a new found interest in observing the natural world hallmark the movement. Artist themselves were elevated in social status and their works were looked upon not as mere crafts, but as miraculous creations that were divinely inspired. At the forefront of the Renaissance movement where the three most prominent artists of the Italian Renaissance; Michelangelo, Leonardo, and Raphael.
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