Y6 Gallery Rebels 3 - The Renaissance

Updated: May 15, 2020

On the last Gallery Rebels post we looked at art from Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece and Roman Art.

We learnt how when the Roman Empire ended, there were difficult times in Europe and people were too busy surviving to focus on art and culture. This time is known as the Middle Ages.

Then, in the 15th and 16th centuries, everything changed again - there was a 'rebirth' of skills and ideas that had previously been forgotten.

Welcome to the....

One of the greatest inventions of the Renaissance was an entirely new method of painting. Up to this point artists had used a type of paint that dried very quickly which meant that people had to work on small patches at a time before the paint dried. Then a Dutch painter discovered that if you mix the pigments with oil, the paint dries slowly and so the artist could keep making changes to the work as she or he went along.

With these new paints, artists could create more texture and clever lighting effects. This meant that portraits could be more life like and everyone was amazed!

Over in Italy....

the Italian artists were rediscovering and falling in love with all the things they were finding left behind from ancient Rome: ancient coins, statues and ruins. They soon started creating their own pictures of the classical myths, gods and heroes they had read about.

Some of these pictures of statues were considered to be very rude as they didn't have any clothes on so many people were shocked!

Italian painters became more and more interested in making their paintings more lifelike and one artist - Florentine Brunelleschi discovered 'perpective' a way of using the space on a painting so that the image has depth and does not look flat.

Try this tutorial for yourself on how to draw using 1 point perspective techniques.

To improve their skills, many artists began to do special studies of trees, rocks and landscapes - a bit like Di had you drawing paper and flowers. To improve how they drew people, they brought in models to practise with, they would paint whole body portraits and then head and shoulder ones to practise drawing lifelike faces.

Do you recognise this painting?

Leonardo de Vinci was one of the greatest Renaissance painters - this is his most famous painting, Mona Lisa. A portrait of a mysterious woman - no-one is quite sure who she was or whether she is smiling or not.

TASK 1 :

Leonardo de Vinci amazed everyone with his talents. He had other gifts and talents too - can you find out what they are? What else is he known for other than painting?

Watch this clip to start your research.


Michelangelo Buonarroti is another well known Italian Renaissance artist with many talents. His most famous painting covered the ceiling of large room in a chapel in Rome called the Sistine Chapel. It took him 4 years to paint while perched on wooden scaffolding.

Find out what other works of art Michelangelo is famous for.

What do you think of the art styles of the Renaissance period?

We will soon get to an important group of artists called The Impressionists.

Can you find out the names of any of the most well known impressionist painters?

Which country is best known for impressionist art?

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