15th Century Art

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The 15th century marks a turning point in art history. In Florence, the advent of the Renaissance rekindled interest in Greco-Roman culture. Donatello’s David was the first freestanding nude statue since antiquity, and the architects Filippo Brunelleschi and Leon Battista Alberti took inspiration from the Roman writer Vitruvius, designing buildings based on mathematical proportion and basic geometric shapes. Painters like Masaccio and Paolo Uccello developed the system of linear perspective to convincingly depict three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional support. In Northern Europe, Jan van Eyck pioneered the use of oil paint, while artists like Petrus Christus and Hans Memling rendered textures, individual faces, and the local urban environment with a high degree of naturalism. The Americas saw the completion of monumental masonry projects like Macchu Picchu, an Inca complex in the Andean highlands. In China, the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), witnessed the rise of the Southern School of literati painting including artist and theorist Dong Qichang, as well as the development of an iconic blue and white porcelain style.