Tour: Renaissance masterpieces

This self-guided short tour will take you on a journey from Italy to Northern Europe and showcases five examples of early and High Renaissance art by masters such as Leonardo, Raphael and Titian.

Renaissance, a French term which has come to describe the 'rebirth' of interest in classical art and learning, above all from Italy, from the early 14th to the mid 16th centuries. The term is applied as a stylistic label to the art of these centuries.

The rediscovery of ancient coins, sculpture and philosophical ideas contributed to debates in societies that were already changing. New religious practices placed greater emphasis on naturalistic art that could tell stories. Ancient sculpture offered extraordinary examples of this, stimulating contemporary artists who were already exploring believable ways to represent the world around them.

The system of mathematical perspective (which created the illusion of depth in a flat painting) was invented in Italy, while Netherlandish artists developed oil painting, which allowed them to achieve highly realistic effects.

Five key Renaissance artists:

active 1422; died 1441
Jan van Eyck
1452 - 1519
1475 - 1564
1483 - 1520
active about 1506; died 1576

Five examples of Renaissance masterpieces from the collection

The Virgin of the Rocks
Leonardo da Vinci