The main features of Italian Renaissance sculpture were its definition as one of the ways of acquiring knowledge and as an instrument of ethical education of the public, and its concern to integrate the opposition between the interest in the direct observation of Nature and the idealistic aesthetic concepts developed by humanism. At a time when man was placed at the center of the universe , his representation also assumed a central role, with the consequence of flourishing the genres of the artistic nude and portrait , which since the end of the Roman Empire had fallen into oblivion. The mythological theme was also retaken, a body of theory was established to legitimize and guide the art of the period, and emphasis was placed on the close association between theoretical knowledge and a rigorous discipline of practical work as the indispensable tool for the creation of a skilled work of art. The sculpture of the Italian Renaissance in its first three phases was dominated by the influence of the Tuscan school , whose focus was Florence, then the largest Italian cultural center and a reference for the entire European continent. The final phase was led by Rome , at the time engaged in a project of asserting the universality of the authority of the papacy as the heir of both St. Peter and the Roman Empire .
Ideology and iconography
One of the most characteristic features of the organization of the major Italian cities was their independence; many of them were autonomous city-states of republican government, with laws, customs and even dialects of their own, making it not uncommon to develop quite different art schools even when close to each other. But beyond this common trait, their economy also shared a general system, that of the guilds, which dominated virtually every major productive sector in each, including art, and possessed considerable political power. The guilds were similar to what would now be called trade unionsor class associations, regulating the relations between their members and providing them with assistance, managing the production and distribution of consumer goods and organizing vocational education in their specialties, even if this occurred not in schools, but in an informal way, between master and disciple.
However, even if artists, including architects, were part of a guild, it was never a major one, nor did art at that time give its practitioner the high status which he later enjoyed, more associated with the mechanical trades than with the prestigious liberal arts, to which only the nobles, clericsand the few commonerswealthy, and their protected. Despite their relatively low social position, they had an active participation in the Renaissance community, and they worked mostly only on demand, and the work produced spontaneously was very rare. In addition, the current practice was collective, that is, a master workshop leader received the order and performed it assisted by several collaborators, except in cases of very small works, when only a single craftsman could perform it. I
n this way, the concept of authorship of a work of art was very different from that of today, and the massive majority of Renaissance production can only be attributed to a given artist as his mentor, but not that he personally executed it in its completeness. These workshops provided the transmission of knowledge of artistic techniques; the apprentices entered under the tutelage of a master at a young age, under the age of ten, and remained there for a varying period of up to ten years of study before being allowed to work on their own by public examination. The conservative philosophy was that only a very hard work and through the imitation of the consecrated masters could form a good artist, and the efficiency of its methodology is attested in the high general level of quality of the works of this epoch, even those of the secondary artists. The workshops also functioned as commercial shops, where the master received his clients and offered his services. Women were excluded from learning, with very few exceptions. and remained there for a varying period of up to ten years of study before being allowed to work on their own account by public examination. The conservative philosophy was that only a very hard work and through the imitation of the consecrated masters could form a good artist, and the efficiency of its methodology is attested in the high general level of quality of the works of this epoch, even those of the secondary artists.
The workshops also functioned as commercial shops, where the master received his clients and offered his services. Women were excluded from learning, with very few exceptions. and remained there for a varying period of up to ten years of study before being allowed to work on their own account by public examination. The conservative philosophy was that only a very hard work and through the imitation of the consecrated masters could form a good artist, and the efficiency of its methodology is attested in the high general level of quality of the works of this epoch, even those of the secondary artists. The workshops also functioned as commercial shops, where the master received his clients and offered his services. Women were excluded from learning, with very few exceptions. The conservative philosophy was that only a very hard work and through the imitation of the consecrated masters could form a good artist, and the efficiency of its methodology is attested in the high general level of quality of the works of this epoch, even those of the secondary artists. The workshops also functioned as commercial shops, where the master received his clients and offered his services. Women were excluded from learning, with very few exceptions. The conservative philosophy was that only a very hard work and through the imitation of the consecrated masters could form a good artist, and the efficiency of its methodology is attested in the high general level of quality of the works of this epoch, even those of the secondary artists. The workshops also functioned as commercial shops, where the master received his clients and offered his services. Women were excluded from learning, with very few exceptions.
The concept of art for the Renaissance was not based primarily on the principles of Aesthetics, and unlike today, works of art were of a functional nature, serving as propaganda vehicles for defined philosophical, political, religious and social concepts. pre-established by the collectivity. Little value was given to the individual interpretation of the topics covered as this is currently understood, and only at the end of the Renaissance, with the performance of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Rafael Sanzio, is that the concept of genius emerged as an independent creator, a self-motivated and original visionary, but even then the struggles of Leonardo and especially of Michelangelo and his patrons were notorious for their freedoms. Much of the success of the Renaissance artist was due to the fact that the elite considered him to be sufficiently reliable, skilled, and well-disposed to create pieces exactly in accordance with the wishes of those who commissioned them, and why he would certainly not question the status quowith their works. In addition, orders were often governed by a thorough legal contract, which discriminated the materials to be used, delivery time, size, theme and formal approach to the work. However, it is obvious that the artist was also expected to fully master the principles of Aesthetics to make the work beautiful and efficient, and indeed the Renaissance was a phase in which art as a branch of Aesthetics was extensively debated by enlightened circles, and in view of this the period is considered as the initial mark of modern art. On the other hand, within seemingly so rigid limits, there was still plenty of room for technical and formal experiments.
The social orientation of artistic production can be attested by the inscriptions that some monuments exhibited. In Florence the Medici commissioned a statue of Judith beheading Donatello, decapitating Holofernes, at the base of which read “The Salvation of the State.” Peter of Medici son of Cosme dedicated this statue of a woman both to liberty and to fortress, for which the citizens with heart invincible and constant can return to the republic, kingdoms fall by lust, cities rise through the virtues, behold the neck of pride cut by the hand of humility!. At the foot of David, by the same author, a symbol of liberty and civic identity dear to the Florentines, was inscribed:”God overcomes the wrath of a gigantic foe.” “A boy has conquered a great tyrant!. Even if the elite used art to promote itself, the Republican administration of the Medici was committed to associate with the ideal of the good and enlightened ruler, and survive chronicles of ordinary citizens who talk enthusiastically about the city’s decorative designs, not seeming to care about their high financial cost, on the contrary, supporting them explicitly and referring to the happiness they brought to the people. Towards the end of the century, however, public opinion began to question whether these projects were in fact directed to the common good or only to the personal glory of the Medici and other powerful families, and so the appeal, both among the people and between some members of the elite, from the religious preaching of the monk Savonarolaagainst the ostensible luxury, the oppression of the poor and the moral decay, which led to the destruction in public fires countless works of art until the movement was suppressed with its execution, also in a bonfire in a public square. Even with occasional oscillations like this, the public patronage system remained in place throughout the Renaissance, and not only in Florence, but a widespread practice. The contemplation of these works in modern museums, thus decontextualizing the pieces of their primitive location in palaces, churches and public squares, deprives them of much of their sociocultural meaning.
It is difficult today to grasp the immense importance that art assumed in those days, but historical accounts confirm that it aroused a truly intense enthusiasm in all layers of the population, and especially logically among artists, patronsand theorists. The documents describe the heat of intellectual debate in blunt criticism, in the execration of the lazy or awkward artist, in the overflowing praise of the masterpiece, in the exaltation of the enlightened and liberal patron. No matter how erudite Renaissance art may be in its theoretical foundations, no matter how refined it may have become the technical and formal question, one should not lose sight of the fact that it was a truly popular art. The greatest works of the period were created for public consumption and not for the private delight of a few enlightened ones, and for that reason their language must be – and was – understood by all, at least in its general principles, necessarily preserving the capacity for full communication with the masses. In the study of the conceptual bases that made this art such a wide circulation and receptivity, André Chastel defined two key ideas:
The desire to give new life to antiquity, restitutio antiquitatis, which for them had been recklessly and unjustly forgotten in previous centuries, which later led to the coinage of the term “Renaissance.” The greatest compliment for an artist was to be compared to the great masters of classical antiquity. While in painting the Gothic remained more or less visible until the middle of the fifteenth century, it was in the three-dimensional arts, architecture and sculpture that innovations gained ground earlier, and where to put on the authority of the classics seemed a more pressing need. It was no longer a question of creating good works in itself, but of designing a whole system of general formal models. In this search for models, the practice of copying old works became an inescapable preparatory stage for every apprentice, and enriched the repertoire of forms available. As for theorists, repeatedly deplored the loss of treatises on the art of antiquity, which were known only through scant fragments or citations in later works, and which excited the imagination of all. One can glimpse what in this context meant the rediscovery in 1414 by the Florentine humanistPoggio Bracciolini from the treatise De architectura, from the Roman Vitruvius, which besides being a great work on architectural techniques, is also a valuable piece on classical aesthetics. In the same way, the sculptors, reading the available classical literature, saw those lists of famous names like Fídias, Policleto, Praxíteles, knew of the admiration that its production had attracted in its time, but not knowing its works – the great majority of that today sees in museums was only discovered later -, they wanted to create substitutes. In this sense, says Chastel, in many ways the fifteenth century was dedicated to the task of repairing the hardships of history, producing works equivalent to those that should never have disappeared. This led directly to the other idea:
The intimate association between the theoretical-literary discourse and the practical art. In order for that excellence praised in the ancients to be revived, it was indispensable to formulate a consistent conceptual body that solved the basic problem of representation-the antinomy between ancient idealism and the present interest in the observation of Nature, or between the universal and the particular. In the second half of the fifteenth century, as will be detailed below, the question was essentially settled; the humanistic ideas were consolidated, Vitruvius and Platonism were assimilated and Alberti had made a great additional contribution. For them, Antiquity was here again now. Evidence of this was the practice of systematic restoration of numerous fragmentary Greco-Roman pieces, but as historical distancing allows us to perceive, according to Renaissance and not truly ancient patterns. At that time the difference was apparently not immediately perceived in all its extension, and only with the gradual birth of Archeology as a science did Antiquity come to be seen from a perspective of historical fact.
This city of Rome, through the beneficence of Sixtus… has been so extensively restored and adorned that it seems to have been founded again. ”
All these theoretical concepts were consolidated, synthesized and reinterpreted in the final phase of the period, called the High Renaissance, approximately between 1480 and 1530, when the artists began a process of removal of their craft origins seeking a match with the intellectual, art began to to be seen as a good in itself, detached from its social obligations, the first ideas of systematizing artistic teaching in academies arose, many other cities entered the general renaissance current, and idealism seemed to predominate. At that time Florence was no longer the most important center of the Renaissance, having been supplanted by Rome, regaining its prestige as the seat of the papacy after being abandoned in the previous century byAvignon and have fallen into ruins. With the reign of Sixtus IV and his successors, his recovery began with a grandiose public building project, and by 1500 he could once again say that he was “the head of the world. ” Julius II gave even greater impetus to the glorification of the city and the papacy, declaring his universal leadership with a philosophy of territorial expansionism and with the reassertion of Rome as the direct heir of the Roman Empire and the Popes as successors of both St. Peter and Julius Caesar. The literati and sacred speakers of the moment went even further, saying that it was the new Jerusalem, the consummation of all that had been promised by the Patriarchs, the capital of a new Golden Age. The city had also become an important financial center, its bankrupt patriciate had been recomposed to seek rich marriages between the class of the great merchants and bankers, attracting several first-rate artists, founding a local school with its own characteristics and leaving there the most expressive set of works of the High Renaissance. The ecclesiastical patronage, with an order of values quite different from the lay patronage of Florence and other Italian communes, was decisive in defining the direction of this school. Besides the popes, much of the high clergy was actively interested in art. According to the analysis of Arnold Hauser, it was only under the papal empire that a grandiose and truly cosmopolitan style could be created that synthesized the visions of ancient classicism and made the other regional art schools seem all provincial. Michelangelo’s performance in Rome in the area of sculpture provided the most perfect examples of this synthesis.
The religious context and the sacred sculpture
The Renaissance has often been associated with a process of secularization of society, but this is only partly correct. As proven by today’s churches and museums, a huge amount of Renaissance art dealt with religious themes, and the Catholic Church was by far the greatest individual patron of all that ever happened. Even the secular philosophical debate devoted much of its efforts to try to better understand the relations between man and God, and at no time did any serious questioning arise about the truth of religion as a whole or of its specific dogmas, nor the enthusiasm of scholars by pagan classicism had any power to displace Christianity from its central place in that society.
The statuary Renaissance sacred, like all sacred art of the period, was created with the purpose of establishing a means of mediated communication with God and the angels and saints, and as a kind of monument that would constantly remind the devotee the essential principles of faith through of a complex network of representational symbolic conventions, then of public domain, with respect to the attitudes, gestures, postures and physiognomic expressions of the figures and to the general character of composition and narrative. Speaking of the approach of the sacred statuary, Alberti had prescribed that artists should prefer sober and dignified manners, without overdoing grandiloquent or bizarre images, for these would seem more daughters of wrath than of virtue, and incapable by theirsublime too, to be reached by the understanding of the common public, failing in their pedagogical role, even if they were able to marvel the look. But during the High Renaissance there was a clear inclination to idealization and to the sublime. The saints, apostles, and martyrs could no longer be pictured in the features of the common man as they had in reality and as had been portrayed in most of the fifteenth century, although these features were largely generalist and non-specific, but became august, impassive, grave and solemn images. completely superhuman, in highly ritualized compositions.
Moreover, sacred art must be viewed against a larger picture as part of an elaborate policy of soul salvation through the patronage of devotional works, since salvation required at the time a combination of faith with pious works, works that could take on various forms – the commissioning of Masses for the dead, the costing of church embellishments and donations to the poor – regarding charity as one of the social cements. Through these acts the devotee gained the right to a reduction of his penalties after death, remaining less time in purgatory. With this it was natural that vast sums of money should be spent on the financing of sacred art.
The representation of the body and the artistic nude
After the dissolution of the Roman world and with the growing influence of Christianity, the theme of the human body left the artistic scene. Unlike the classical pagans, Christians did not cultivate athletic games and did not even have a deity that required an image, since it is clear in the Ten Commandments that man is forbidden to create idols. In addition, Christian morality encouraged celibacy and chastity, and the nude had become a symbol of sin from the legend about the fall of Adam and Eve. Based on these ideas, it is due to Christianity the destruction of most of the immense classic statuary collection, where the nude played a prominent role. After that the naked appeared only very sporadically, in general in the images of Adam and Eve, to signal their shame, the image of man became very schematic, abandoning any connection with naturalism, and the natural beauty of the human body was completely ignored. As already mentioned (see section Background), from the twelfth century began the process of recovery of naturalism in sculpture through humanistic teaching in universities, and, a little later, the reheating of the study of sculptural relics of antiquity, where the naked is a constant presence; hence in the Renaissance the nude was restored to a prestigious position, as a symbol at the same time of a reincarnation of classicism, and of a new position of man as the center of the universe and as a being endowed with beauty, extolling its natural form as a mirror of his divine spirit. Pico della Mirandola in 1496 summarized this new conception in his Prayer on the Dignity of Man, where invoking the Scriptures, exalted the human being:
free from all limits, according to the free will we bestow upon you, you will define for yourself the limits of your nature. We put you in the center of the world so that you could more easily observe everything that exists in it. We did not make you a creature from Heaven or Earth, neither mortal nor immortal, so that with freedom of choice and with honor, as the creator of yourself, you could model yourself the way you wanted. You have the power to degenerate into the lowest forms of gross life. You have the power, born of the discrimination of your soul, to be reborn in higher forms that are divine ” neither mortal nor immortal, so that with freedom of choice and with honor, as the creator of thyself, you could fashion yourself in the way you wished. You have the power to degenerate into the lowest forms of gross life. You have the power, born of the discrimination of your soul, to be reborn in higher forms that are divine ” neither mortal nor immortal, so that with freedom of choice and with honor, as the creator of thyself, you could fashion yourself in the way you wished. You have the power to degenerate into the lowest forms of gross life. You have the power, born of the discrimination of your soul, to be reborn in higher forms that are divine “.
It only gave a verbal form to a trend that had already been present in Italy since the thirteenth century, as was already perceived in the reliefs of Nicola Pisano, already cited, and after him a large number of sculptors worked the human body within this highly optimistic perspective and magnified, whether dressed or naked, although the nude appeared as a particularly attractive subject given its virtual absence in previous centuries.
From the early days of Christianity the Greco-Roman pantheon had been condemned. It was called the ancient gods of demons, and their religion was a devil’s deception to lose mankind, but the formal models of classical statuary, including that of worship, continued to be used by the Paleochristan artists, and the prestige of pagan statuary remained high over several centuries. Prudentius at the end of the fourth century still recommended that the statues of pagan idols be preserved as “examples of the skill of great artists, and as splendid adornment of our cities,” and Cassiodorusreported how efforts were still made in the sixth century AD to preserve ancient sculptures as a testimony of imperial greatness to posterity. However, soon afterwards the politics of the papacy and the empire changed, stimulating a haunting iconoclastic wave throughout the empire that decreed the disappearance of the vast majority of the fabulous collection of works of art accumulated over the previous centuries.
Other thematic groups
Within the representations of the body the portrait was highlighted, which since the end of the Roman era had been little cultivated in Europe, and which in the Renaissance received fresh impetus in a culture of glorification of fame and individual personality. At first the portraits followed the medieval conventions of impersonality and schematism, creating generic types rather than faithful imitations of Nature. But by the middle of the fifteenth century, great attention was paid to plausible physiognomic representation, capable of establishing the identity of the model more truthfully. The genre became popular at a time when the individual was valued as a unique being, different from all others and not just part of an amorphous and indistinct collective mass, but in sculpture he was not as prolific as in painting, all the artists of the period left one or another work in this genre, whether in bust, life-size statue or funeral monument. Some even became experts, such asDesiderio da Settignano and Francesco Laurana. Two main tendencies are observed – idealism, whose best representatives are these two masters, and realism, inspired by the Roman portraiture, with important examples of Donatello, Mino da Fiesole and Verrocchio, among others. In addition to the large works, the picture found in the Renaissance fertile farm field in medals, a category until recently overlooked by art historians as a subtopic of numismatic. Its importance is in that it constitutes an irreplaceable iconographic source for many personages of the period that did not have their recorded effigy of another way. Unlike coins, the medals had a commemorative function, and the advantages of being able to be commissioned by people of few resources to perpetuate their memory and be reproduced in large numbers, circulating with great ease – a Renaissance medal was found even in Greenland. In addition to the effigy, they usually contained an inscription that explained a principle that best defined the person’s character or life, or alluded to the reason for the coinage, and in the verse could contain some narrative scene as an additional illustration. The genus was initiated by Pisanello, apparently following a suggestion by Alberti to commemorate the Council of Florence in 1439. Despite their small size, in the hands of a skilled sculptor they turned into precious works of art.
Among the smaller forms of the sculpture were the merely decorative pieces used for adornment of urban palaces and rural villas. The theme was very varied, including images of real or fantastic animals, fountains, busts, allegorical or erotic figures, mythological monsters or even comic characters installed for the surprise and delight of visitors on the facades, patios and gardens. Some villas had an artificial grotto with internal decorations or a nymphaeum (nymphaeum), a mirror of water surrounded by statues of Greco-Roman deities. Also in this group can be included domestic bronze decorative objects such as chandeliers and vases of various types, in addition to wood carved furniture, and varied architectural elements in stone such as hearths, friezes, arches, frames.
Techniques of sculpture
The practice of sculpture began with drawing. After making preparatory sketches to define the general composition, the marble sculptor would take the block of rough stone and draw upon it the general forms which he had conceived. Then he would move to the carving of the stone, first with a pointed chisel and later with a toothing. Coming close to the definitive form, he wore a chisel with smaller teeth, proper to define details. Polishing was given with pumice and sandpaper. Often the sculptor before passing to the marble made a model in clay, plaster or waxto get a clearer view of your goal, enabling you to correct compounding mistakes or change your initial idea, since marble does not allow for extensive corrections midway. An especially important piece could require the making of a model in the same size of the definitive work and with a great degree of detail, and of this model, through an ingenious mechanism of transfer of measures called a bridge, if they were transferred to the block of stone, making it possible to produce a very faithful copy of the model. Wood carving did not require so much care, for the malleability of the material and the ease of adding, suppressing, or exchanging parts, whose splits disappeared under the layer of polychrome, greatly facilitated the work. Another technique was toterracotta, with pieces created in clay and then cooked in an oven to give them durability. It is due to Luca della Robbia and Andrea della Robbia the development of a terracotta vitrification technique, which lent them even greater resistance and allowed large pieces to be produced that could be installed outdoors. Often molds were used, reproducing the same work several times, to the point that Andrea della Robbia’s workshop had become a true industry and spread its creations through a large region of Italy and even abroad.
The bronze sculpture was about ten times more expensive than one in marble. In general the bronzist workshops had all the apparatus to merge their production, and even if it had not, the dangerous and laborious casting process was invariably supervised by the master in charge of the order. However, until the second half of the fifteenth century only small pieces could be made in bronze, as the technique of indirect casting with lost wax had not yet been rediscovered, so that the statues remained massive. The direct casting required the creation of a wax model as if it were the definitive work, in its smallest details. The model was then covered with a layer of clayrefractory, leaving some open holes in that casing. Dry the set, it was heated in an oven that at the same time baked the clay, giving it resistance, and melted the wax, which flowed through the holes leaving the hollow interior. After cooling, the block became the mold for the casting, and the melted bonze was inserted into the hollow left by the wax. After the metal cooled, the mold was broken and the bronze copy was removed. This method had the advantage of allowing very detailed works to be done, but in the process the original model was destroyed, no other copies could be removed, and if the foundry for any reason failed, all work was lost.
The main legacy of Renaissance production was the foundation of modern sculpture. It established a body of theory and a series of technical and disciplinary procedures that were central to the evolution of all European sculpture of the sixteenth century, and this legacy remained influential until the modernist vanguards of the twentieth century put down everything that was tradition in the art of the West and discarded both idealism and naturalism on the artistic terrain. The main transmission line of the Renaissance tradition for the following generations was created by Michelangelo, who had begun his career in the High Renaissance with classicist works and from the 1520s he developed a mannerist style that created a large school. His contemporary, Giorgio Vasari, according to linear evolutionary perspective that period, said the fifteenth century sculpture had reached a point so close to the nature of the truth of imitation that little was missing for sculptors of his time to bring it to perfection, which would only have been achieved with Michelangelo. Called divine, he established an almost oppressive reputation for other sculptors, with none to rise to his height, all being compared to him on less favorable terms by the critics of the sixteenth century.
But concentrating the analysis of the impact of Italian Renaissance sculpture on the whole of Europe in this individual succession is misleading and greatly reduces the breadth of the process. From the beginning of the Renaissance the commercial and cultural exchanges of Florence with other points in Europe have laid the first seeds of the diffusion of the Tuscan style outside of Italy. Over time the influence intensified, and Italian masters between the end of the fifteenth century and the beginning of the sixteenth century already worked in other countries, others went to Italy to receive their training or improvement and at this time Italy was the main European culture. Francesco Laurana worked in France and there Francesco Primaticcio was one of the founders of the School of Fontainebleau, that influencedJean Goujon and Germain Pilon. Andrea Sansovino worked in Portugal and Spain, Pietro Torrigiano in England and Spain; the Spaniards Alonso Berruguete, Diego de Siloé and Juan de Junistudied in Italy, all these figures of outstanding performance in the sculpture of these countries, in addition to which works of art were imported in great quantity from Italy and celebrated pieces circulated widely through reproductions in engraving. When Italy between the late fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries was invaded by France, Spain and Germany, a huge amount of sculptures and other works of art were sacked and taken abroad. With this true flood of material references hardly any point in Europe can say that it was entirely immune to the spirit of the Renaissance as it was formulated in Italy, although that spirit in each place has blended with native styles, especially versions of Gothic, which gave a large multiplicity of regional schools.
From the seventeenth century onwards the direct Italian influence began to decline and other aesthetics took the place of the Renaissance, but what took place in sculpture outside Italy so can not be imagined had not occurred before Italian insemination, and even that which arose on the peninsula grew on those Renaissance roots.
The Italian Renaissance sculpture developed technical resources that made possible an immense leap in relation to the Average Age in terms of capacity of creation of free forms in the space and of representation of the nature and of the human body. Renewed the very meaning of representation, revived the genres of portraiture and nude, who had a most fertile career later, contributed to give the artist a more prestigious status in society and to stimulate general interest in ancient history. His theoretical foundations sought to define him a socially significant role, defending high humanistic values such as heroism, public spirit and altruism, which are fundamental pieces for the construction of a more just and free society for all, although this art has often been used as a vehicle for glorification of political views now considered as unjust and of the vain personality of the powerful.
Finally, the enormous sculptural production that survives, both in Italy and scattered throughout countless museums in the world, continues to attract crowds, is used by teachers as an educational tool for their pupils and by scholars in the knowledge of the period as a whole, and constitutes a significant part of the very definition of Western sculpture. Although studies of the Italian Renaissance in all its social, cultural, political, and religious expressions have multiplied overwhelmingly in the twentieth century.
Source from Wikipedia