Man: From Type to Individual
Medieval art depicts the human figure in stylised form, immobile and in a state of exalted calm against a background of gold.
Here you find no signs of either time or space. The gold background shines its light out towards the viewer, symbolising divinity; a fitting backdrop for angels, Christian martyrs, and characters from the Bible.
The Renaissance lets humanity take centre stage. The word "renaissance" means "rebirth" and became the term used for the period even in its own day.
The culture of Antiquity served as the role model for the Renaissance. It was studied and integrated into the Christian world.
As was done in the age of Antiquity, dignitaries would have their image immortalised in portraits. Sitters were often portrayed in the persona of past luminaries: men as learned philosophers or leaders of armies, women as mythological goddesses or Biblical heroines.
With the advent of the Baroque period portraits grew more faithful to reality, which was not always picture-perfect.