The influence of the Church on religious art and the most important biblical stories continued to be of paramount importance during the Renaissance. Renaissance art remains some of the finest and most awe-inspiring of all the works that have survived the various art movements over time. Since the Church served as a patron for much of the religious art during the Renaissance, artists aimed to inspire reverence.
It is a term used to describe the popular religious painting on walls of Italian and Greek churches during the Renaissance. Although many artists painted such frescoes, Raphael Sanzo's four frescoes, painted from A.D. 1509 to A.D. 1511 in the papal apartments of Pope Julius II (Disputa, the School of Athens, Parnassus, and the Cardinal Virtues), are probably the most famous.
Ecclesiastical art reached a zenith during the Renaissance, giving the world some of its most notable artists and works of art: Titian, Brunelleschi, Raphael, Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Rembrandt, to name a few. Masaccio painted his beautiful religious image of the “Virgin with Child,” and Sandro Botticelli painted the “Annuciation” and numerous paintings of Mary (often with Jesus as a child and angels). Unlike the flat images of medieval art and iconography, the Renaissance images, because many of the artists studied the anatomy of the human body, portrayed a natural realism with harmonious proportions of all of the elements. Painted portraits and engravings of the Madonna and Child, Eve and Adam, Jezebel, Bathsheba and David, Samson and Delilah, Judith, Susanna, and other biblical subjects became stunningly lifelike in the hands of the renaissance master artists. religious art included realistic portrayals of parts of a woman's body that in previous centuries would have been discreetly covered with clothing or a drape. For example, in A.D. 1540, Domenico Beccafumi painted the image of “The Madonna with the Infant Christ and Saint John the Baptist,” in which the infant Christ seems totally disinterested in the breast being offered by his mother. Sometime between A.D. 1507 and A.D. 1510, Andrea Solario also painted Jesus nursing at the exposed breast of Mary in “Madonna with the Green Cushion.”
Hans Baldung Grien, a contemporary of Matthias Grüenwald (famous for the Isenheim Altarpiece), was a German artist who trained with Albrecht Dürer, and who painted a number of religious pieces. In his work “Eve, Serpent, and Death,” a nude Eve stands in high relief against the dark images of the tree, the serpent entwined around it, and Death in the shadows with his hand gripping her wrist.
In early Renaissance literature, biblical tales were adapted for performance art as plays by French writers. Drawing upon the stories of the Bible for inspiration, the writers reconceived biblical characters to present in their stories.
In 1610, Artemisia Gentileschi, the daughter of painter Orazio Gentileschi, became recognized as an accomplished artist at a time when women had great difficulty in getting accepted into the male-dominated world of art. Known as a Baroque painter, Gentileschi painted religious works that included women figures of biblical narrative, such as “Susanna and the Elders,” “Judith Beheading Holofernes,” “Conversion of the Magdalene,” “Virgin Mary with Baby and Rosary,” and “Jael and Sisera.”