13th to 15th century

Duccio, Uccello, van Eyck, Lippi, Mantegna, Botticelli, Dürer, Memling, Bellini

Most surviving late medieval pictures are religious, made for altars in churches or for private devotion. Many have exquisitely decorated gold-leaf backgrounds.

In the 15th century, portraits and scenes from ancient history and mythology increased in importance. Realism also affected the treatment of sacred subjects.

Figures were often placed in convincing architectural and landscape settings. Technical advances, such as oil paint, allowed greater subtlety in depicting facial expression and surface textures.

Next: 16th-century paintings

Botticelli, 'Venus and Mars', about 1485
Botticelli, Venus and Mars, about 1485 

 

Selected masterpieces from the collection

Venus and Mars
Venus and Mars
Sandro Botticelli
Doge Leonardo Loredan
Doge Leonardo Loredan
Giovanni Bellini
The Supper at Emmaus
The Supper at Emmaus
Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio
The Fighting Temeraire
The Fighting Temeraire
Joseph Mallord William Turner
Madame Moitessier
Madame Moitessier
Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres
Sunflowers
Sunflowers
Vincent van Gogh
 
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