During the Renaissance, art was transformed in several ways, each of which has had enduring effects on Western art.
First, the secular spirit of the Renaissance led artists to emphasize physical beauty and perfection in their subjects. The human body in particular became a subject of particular fascination for artists, who portrayed the human form, often nude, in ways that emphasized physical perfection that was both realistic and idealized. In this, they harkened back to classical works that portrayed athletes, deities, and others in ways that emphasized physical beauty, especially in sculpture.
Second, the Renaissance brought a concern with technique that was largely absent during the medieval period. Painters experimented with new materials and techniques and emphasized such technical features as proportion, scale, and perspective. These remain concerns of modern artists.
Finally, the Renaissance ushered in a change in status for artists, who had previously been viewed as artisans. During the Renaissance artists were widely hailed as geniuses, even celebrities. Men like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci were celebrated for their works, which were publicly displayed and, in some cases, earned them great wealth and status.