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Collection overview

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