Describe the main features of Early Renaissance art and architecture in style and subject matter.
The art and architecture of the early Renaissance emphasized realism. Artists wanted to faithfully depict human anatomy, emotion, and expression in paintings and sculptures. The architecture of the time emphasized symmetry and featured arches, domes, columns, and sculptures that hearken back to the temples of ancient Rome and Greece. Both the art and architecture of the Early Renaissance marked a return to the aesthetic values and styles of classicism. It was inspired by the philosophy called humanism, which focused on achieving human perfection here on earth. This was a dramatic change from the mentality and art of medieval times where the focus was always on the wonders of heaven. Early Renaissance subject matter was still religious, but it was very much about showing the greatness of man and what he could achieve. It was a time of great development in terms of art theory and technique as well. Perspective theory was developed by Leon Battista Alberti and recorded in his book Della pittura (On painting) in the early renaissance. This gave artists a system for accurately depicting three dimensional space on a two dimensional surface. Renaissance painters in Italy learned from this new perspective theory and created works such as The School of Athens by Raphael that showcased both their own artistic skill as well as the grandness of the architecture of the time.