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Word Count: 1,246
The rebirth of art in Italy was connected with the rediscovery of ancient philosophy literature and science and the evolution of empirical methods of study in these fields Increased awareness of classical knowledge created a new resolve to learn by direct observation and study of the natural world Consequently secular themes became increasingly important to artists and with the revived interest in antiquity came a new repertoire of subjects drawn from Greek and Roman history and mythology The models provided by ancient buildings and works of art also inspired the development of new artistic techniques and the desire to re-create the forms and styles of classical art Central to the development of Renaissance art was the emergence of the artist as a creator sought after and respected for his erudition and imagination Art too became valued--not merely as a vehicle for religious and social didacticism but even more as a mode of personal aesthetic expression Although the evolution of Italian Renaissance art was a continuous process it is traditionally divided into three major phases Early High and Late Renaissance The last phase has been the subject in recent years of complex interpretations that recognize many competing and contrasting trends But this report is basically focused on the Early and High Renaissance phases Some scholars date the beginning of the Italian Renaissance from the appearance of Giotto di Bondone in the early 14th century others regard his prodigious achievements in naturalistic art as an isolated phenomenon According to the second view the consistent development of Renaissance style began only with the generation of artists active in Florence at the beginning of the 15th century The principal members of the first generation of Renaissance artists--Donatello in sculpture Filippo Brunelleschi in architecture and Masaccio in painting--shared many important characteristics Central to their thinking was a faith in the theoretical foundations of art and the conviction that development and progress were not only as an inspiring model but also
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