Skip to content

How the Gothic and Renaissance Periods Shaped Western Art

  • Art

The following article was written in 2016 as part of the Humanities HUM 252 Course at Minot State University


The Gothic period in art began in France in the twelfth century, with the construction of the Abbey Church of Saint Denis by Abbot Suger. The architecture of Saint Denis featured many innovations, such as the flying buttress, which allowed for taller and more slender structures. The Gothic style quickly spread to other parts of Europe, and soon encompassed a wide range of artistic media, including painting, sculpture, and stained glass.

Gothic painting is characterized by its use of elongated figures, rich colors, and intricate detail. Painters of the Gothic period often depicted religious subjects, but they also produced secular works, such as portraits and landscapes. One of the most famous Gothic painters is Simone Martini, who is known for his lyrical and expressive style. His masterpiece, the Saint Catherine of Alexandria Polyptych, is a stunning example of Gothic religious painting.

The Renaissance period in art began in Italy in the fourteenth century, and was a time of renewed interest in classical antiquity. Renaissance artists rejected the Gothic style, which they saw as barbaric, and instead looked to ancient Greece and Rome for inspiration. Renaissance art is characterized by its use of perspective, proportion, and anatomy. Renaissance artists also began to experiment with new techniques, such as oil painting and fresco.

Some of the most famous Renaissance artists include Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael. Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam is one of the most iconic works of Renaissance art. The painting depicts God reaching out to touch Adam, and it is a powerful and moving image of the creation of humanity.

The Gothic period and the Renaissance were two of the most important periods in the history of art. The art of these periods continues to be admired and studied today, and it has had a profound influence on the development of Western art.

Here are some additional details about the works of art mentioned in the text:

  • Saint Catherine of Alexandria Polyptych by Simone Martini (1320) This polyptych is a large altarpiece that depicts the life of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. Martini’s use of color and detail is evident in the painting, and the figures are rendered in a realistic and expressive style.

  • Allegory of Good and Bad Government by Ambrogio Lorenzetti (1338-1339) This series of frescoes depicts the effects of good and bad government on a city. Lorenzetti’s work is a powerful and moving statement about the importance of good governance.

  • The Arnolfini Portrait by Jan van Eyck (1434) This portrait is one of the most famous and complex paintings of the Early Netherlandish period. Van Eyck’s use of oil paint allowed him to create a painting with a remarkable level of detail and realism.

  • Delivery of the Keys by Pietro Perugino (1481-1482) This fresco is located in the Sistine Chapel in Rome. It depicts Jesus giving the keys to heaven to Saint Peter. Perugino’s use of perspective and color creates a sense of depth and grandeur in the painting.

  • The Mocking of Christ by Matthias Grünewald (1503-1505) This oil painting is a powerful and moving depiction of the Passion of Christ. Grünewald’s use of color and detail is striking, and the painting is a powerful reminder of the suffering of Christ.

  • The Creation of Adam by Michelangelo (1512) This fresco is located on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome. It depicts God reaching out to touch Adam, and it is a powerful and moving image of the creation of humanity. Michelangelo’s use of perspective and anatomy is masterful, and the painting is a testament to his genius.


Cover: Saint Catherine of Alexandria Polyptych. © The Yorck Project (2002) 10.000 Meisterwerke der Malerei (DVD-ROM), distributed by DIRECTMEDIA Publishing GmbH.

Related Images:

With a rich experience spanning over 5 years, I am a dedicated Private Investigator based in Mexico. My proficiency extends across multiple languages and various investigative disciplines, including asset tracing, fraud detection, and advanced surveillance. Specializing in combating money laundering, corruption, and fraud, I have an established history of successfully recovering stolen assets and ensuring criminals face justice.

Beyond my investigative pursuits, I am an avid blogger. My topics range from crime analysis and literature to travel adventures and sports insights. My passion lies in leveraging my skills and experiences to assist others and make a meaningful impact globally.

Available for investigative projects throughout Mexico and Latin America, I am here to offer my expertise. For more information about my services or to discuss potential collaboration, please feel free to reach out to me here or via social media.

This Post Has 0 Comments

Question, Comment, Suggestion?

Fahad Hizam alHarbi, PI