The 4 Most Important Renaissance Artists (and Ninja Turtles)

Modified on by Max Wilbert

The 4 Most Important Renaissance Artists (and Ninja Turtles)

The Renaissance, which took place between the 14th and 17th centuries, was a period of cultural and artistic flourishing across Europe. Nowadays, the era is mostly famous for its art, which includes some of the most iconic and beautiful pieces of all time. The introduction of linear perspective changed art greatly during the Renaissance, allowing a new aesthetic in paintings and frescoes of the period. In general, the Renaissance was a revolution in realism, with artists and sculptors developing new techniques to make their works more lifelike than ever before.

The Renaissance was full of incredible artists, and you can become an expert in the field by studying with Brainscape’s award-winning Knowledge Rehab app.  But in this post we’re only going to highlight four of the most important. If you want to avoid looking a fool at your next museum visit, this is who you need to know in Renaissance art. (And before you ask: yes, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were named after the most famous Italian artists from the Renaissance.)

The 4 Most Important Renaissance Artists

vitruvian, da vinci, most important renaissance artists1. Leonardo da Vinci

Born April 15th, 1452, died May 2nd, 1519 (age 67)

Leonardo da Vinci is probably the best-known Renaissance artist, famous for his masterworks The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. The classic “renaissance man,” da Vinci was not only an artist but also an inventor, scientist, architect, engineer, and more. His innovative techniques included layering of paints, precise attention to light, shadow, and human form, and a detailed eye for expression and gesture — the last of which has led to endless speculation over the impassive face of the Mona Lisa. His famous sketch known as The Vitruvian Man is shown to the right.

David, Michelangelo, most important renaissance artists2. Michelangelo

Born March 6th, 1475, died February 18th, 1564 (age 88)

One of da Vinci’s contemporaries and perhaps his challenger for the title of greatest Renaissance artist was Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni. Born 13 years after da Vinci, Michelangelo followed in his footsteps as a Renaissance man. He was an accomplished artist, poet, architect, and engineer. His best-known work is probably the sculpture David, which was completed in the opening years of the 16th century. The nearly 15-foot David depicts the biblical figure of David in white marble from the quarry at Miseglia. Other famous works by Michelangelo include the statue Pietà and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

3. Raphael

Born spring 1483, died April 6th, 1520 (age 37)

Alongside da Vinci and Michelangelo, Raphael is known as the third of the great master artists of Renaissance Italy. He was born in 1483, and his works were extremely influential even during his lifetime. He only lived to the age of 37, but during his short life, he produced a huge number of works including paintings, frescoes, prints, and more. One of his most famous works is The School of Athens, shown at the top of this article. It is a classic example of Renaissance art and culture in general, as the culture of the period frequently referenced Roman and Greek antiquity.

most important renaissance artists4. Donatello

Born c. 1386, died December 13th, 1466 (approx. age 80)

Born in Florence, Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi, or Donatello, hailed from the period now known as the early Renaissance and preceded the others mentioned here. Donatello worked mainly as a sculptor, and the realism he was able to create marked a stark break from the stiff, un-lifelike statuary common in the Middle Ages. One of his most famous works depicts Saint Mark (shown here) and was completed in 1413 for a church in Florence where it can still be viewed today. According to legend, Donatello modified the proportions of the statue, making the head and shoulders larger to compensate for its final elevated position. When the statue was first revealed (at ground level), Donatello’s employers protested and the sculptor agreed to make adjustments. Then, the legend goes, he waited 15 days without making any modifications (during which time the statue was raised to its final position). His employers were satisfied: the proportions looked right.


We hope you enjoyed this look into art history. We know one thing: this just stimulates our thirst for more learning. Through a multi-year project involving hundreds of students, teachers, professors, and experts from different fields, Brainscape has compiled a critical base set of knowledge across a huge range of subjects. We call it Knowledge Rehab. Whether you want to review the arts, sciences, social sciences, or even pop culture and entertainment, it’s all here. And it’s optimized for the world’s best new study platform: Brainscape. Check it out and download it for FREE!

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Carl Kruse 3 years ago

I'm clearly the only one who has missed this, but where are the Ninja Turtles?

LudwigMapache 3 years ago

The ninja turtles names were based on their names.

Cro69 2 years ago

Yep an raph was the best

Interactive Whiteboard 5 years ago

Michelangelo is my idol!

boo. 3 years ago

nobody cares

A Great man 2 years ago

boo is actually a piece of garbage

jeffiefazioco 5 years ago

This article about the renaissance artists is really great! I am sure it is a very much important epocha and we should continue developing articles and information about it. In my opinion students can find more inetersting essays at for their colleges. It's really a helpful thing and there are a lot of information in any topic. Thanks a lot for this post and curious facts about artists

oofrobloxsoounds 3 years ago

this is a stupid comment report for sexual harrasment

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The Renaissance Pet 4 years ago

I think you'll get a kick out of my parody Renaissance portraits. Take a peek: http://www.therenaissancepe...

wscp 4 years ago


Dead To Life 3 years ago

i agree with your statement wscp :)

PreciousCat1234 4 years ago

Why are they all ninja turtles???

Kahoot MaN 4 years ago

The ninja turtles names were based on their names.

WhiteR 4 years ago


Dead To Life 3 years ago

L O V E _ T H A _ N I N J A _ A R T I S T _ T U R T L E _ P O W E R ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !

sorry i just love art and ninjas and turtles !!!! XD

william 3 years ago


Moses Hermosillo 3 years ago

ninja turtle suck turtle cock

oofrobloxsoounds 3 years ago

turtle pee pee

Cro69 2 years ago

U suck cock

DUSTIN DAVIS 2 years ago

That’s why ur
mom doesn’t love u

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