The Masters of the Renaissance: Leonardo, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Donatello


The purpose of this project is to educate the reader more about these four magnificent artists who enlightened the Renaissance Era with their beautiful art work and with many other of their talents.


Leonardo Da Vinci, who lived from 1452 to 1519, was a recognized inventor and artisan. He was born in the town of Vinci, Italy. His upbringing was very good, he was given the best education that money could offer and he became a very bright man. He was taught about painting while working as a studio boy to a well-known painter and sculptor, Andrea De Verocchio.


Da Vinci eventually left his apprenticeship to become a master painter. Da Vinci is most known for being the painter of the Mona Lisa (1503-1506), a painting that is greatly treasured in our society. Da Vinci was also known for very rarely finishing paintings, which he started. His works were mainly observed in Florence, Italy, but for a few years he resided in Milan, where he created another highly important piece of his career, the Virgin of the Rocks (1506-1508). Although in his 67 years of life he spent only a small portion painting he has impacted many people with his beautiful paintings and has even come to inspire other artisans.


An artisan who was inspired by Da Vinci was Raphael (Sanzio). Raphael was born in Urbino, Italy. Raphael’s father who was a minor painter and a poet died when Raphael was 11 years old. Later on in his life he went to Perugia as an apprentice to his father\'s friend, the painter Perugino. Gradually he became a greater artist than his teacher. From 1504 to 1508 Raphael spent most of his time in Florence. In this great cultural center he met Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, he studied and copied the works of these and other artists and quickly absorbed the new Florentine style. Raphael spent the last 12 years of his life in Rome. He was called to the city in 1508, when Pope Julius II decided to have certain rooms in the Vatican redecorated. When he saw Raphael\'s sketches, he asked the young artist to redecorate the four walls of four rooms in the Pope\'s private apartments with frescoes. In these murals Raphael showed his genius for grouping crowds of magnificent figures. He is well known for his work, School of Athens (1509). The \'School of Athens\' shows Plato and Aristotle surrounded by philosophers past and present, this painting illustrates the continuity of Platonic thought. Raphael died on his 37th birthday, on April 6th 1520.


Donatello was another legendary artist but in a different field than Raphael and Da Vinci. Donatello is known to be on e of the greatest sculptors of all time, so great of an artist that his techniques are still used today. Donatello (Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi) was born in 1386, and died at the age of 80 in 1466.He was born in Florence, Italy. Donatello started practicing the art of sculpting at the age of 20. Later, on in his life he became a humanist and studied roman ruins. He started his own shop in Florence where he created many of his masterpieces. Donatello was greatly influenced by antique art and Humanist theories. His statues display, for the first time since antiquity, the human body as a functional organism. The city of Florence paid for the famous sculpture of David (1409), however many people complained that he was very hard to work with. David was the first nude statue of the renaissance. Donatello invented the shallow relief technique, in which the sculpture seems deep but is actually done on a very shallow plane. He also made the first bronze sculpture paving the way for other sculptors to use other types of materials. Donatello was not an intellect as Da Vinci and as another famous sculptor was Michelangelo.


Michelangelo (Buonarroti) was born on March 6, 1475 in Caprese, Italy. He became a very well known sculptor in history. Michelangelo’s mother was very ill during his childhood until her untimely death when he was only 6 years old. His father who was mayor of his hometown, Caprese, was obsessed with his son getting a good education to