The Italian and Northern Renaissance time periods evolved separately, but equally fruitful, and during the same time period. Since Italy was the most powerful representative of this period, Italian art is often identified separately from the Northern Renaissance, which covers the rest of Europe. The techniques used also made a difference between the two, making the study of history as equally important as the study of art.
In Italy, artwork was a priority among the most well-known families who loved to show up their riches by commissioning works. Frescoes, portraits and sculpture were particularly in boom during the Trecento (1300's/14th century) which found a revival of ancient Rome in its artworks. As far as the frescoes so typical of Italian art, the main techniques were
- buon fresco
- secco fresco
- mezzo fresco
These were paintings made on plaster. The buon would be the most permanent fresco in moist plaster. Secco fresco is painted over dry plaster and then gone over. This one flakes the most. The mezzo fresco is done over half-dry and half-wet plaster.
In contrast, the Northern Renaissance period worked mostly with oil canvas paintings which clearly reflected the fashions of the time. Of particular importance are the works of Van Eyck, Durer, and Holbein. These are just some of many, but their works are significant precisely because of their tendency to make portraits and self-portraits that gives us a glimpse into the quintessential phenotypes of that era.
Tapestry is another art form of which Raphael was quite fond and which also found itself mirroring civilization, its daily life, its fashions, and its unique traits.
Engravings, such as those by Dutch artist Hieronymus Wierix are also types of art works that certainly show fashion as well. Included below are Wierix's self portrait and Pieter Bruegel the Eldest's "Children's Games", Pieter Artsen's Girl with birds, and Durer's self portrait