Piero della Francesca, The Learning a painting of a child of Christ. This article about the development of themes in Italian Renaissance painting is an extension to the article Italian Renaissance painting, for which it provides additional pictures with commentary. The themes that preoccupied painters of the Italian Renaissance were those of both subject matter and execution- what was painted and the style in which it was painted.
The artist had far more freedom of both subject and style than did a Medieval painter. Certain characteristic elements of Renaissance painting evolved a great deal during the period. Italian Renaissance painting, both in terms of compositional elements and subject matter. Immediately apparent is Piero’s mastery of perspective and light. The religious theme is tied to the present.
The ruler is a portrait of the visiting Emperor of Byzantium. The term “scourge” was applied to the plague. Renaissance painting differed from the painting of the Late Medieval period in its emphasis upon the close observation of nature, particularly with regards to human anatomy, and the application of scientific principles to the use of perspective and light. The pictures in the gallery below show the development of linear perspective in buildings and cityscapes. In Giotto’s fresco, the building is like a stage set with one side open to the viewer. In Paolo Uccello’s fresco, the townscape gives an impression of depth.