high renaissance

High Renaissance Art: Masters and Their Masterpieces

“High Renaissance Art: Masters and their masterpieces” is a saga of ancient masters at the peak of the Art history of the entire world.

Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci, The Last Judgement by Michelangelo, The school of Athens by Raphael, high renaissance artists of greatest renown, that immortalized themselves through their epic masterpieces.

Art isn’t something just pleasing to the eye, it’s something that speaks to the soul of the beholder and creates turbulent waves even in the mind of the calmest person. Able to invoke passion in the heart of the quietest people.

It truly doesn’t matter whether or not you know much about art. To appreciate art, just feel its depth through your point of view.

If you are planning to go on an art tour, then these are some of the greatest works of the High Renaissance that you should get to know beforehand.

3 greatest High Renaissance artists of all time

Leonardo da Vinci

Mona Lisa-

Mona Lisa

Famously known as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, and the most parodied work of art in the world”.

Who hasn’t heard of the world-famous masterpiece by Leonardo da Vinci?

It doesn’t actually matter whether or not anyone knows anything about art to get lost in the mystical uniqueness of this painting.

Someone once told me that the painting reflects the mood of the beholder. If you observe it when sad, the lady in the painting appears sad, if you glance at it when happy, the lady appears smiling.

While I can’t confirm the myths and legends related to this masterpiece, I can tell you for sure that this is one of the most, if not the most, sought-after artwork by travelers around the globe.

After some in-depth research, it was revealed that the person in the painting was known as Lisa Gherardini. She was the wife of a cloth merchant, who might have commissioned the painting to be created.

The suspense in the situation intensifies by the fact that the painting was actually discovered in the possession of Leonardo da Vinci himself after his demise.

Displayed at Louvre Museum

Ticket Prices- Online tickets € 17, purchased at the museum €15, free to all visitors below 18 years of age and if you have spent more than 26 years I’m European Economic area.

How to reach– Take the Paris metro station called Palais-Royal-Musee du Louvre. There’s also a Batobus bus service that you can take. Take a short taxi ride alternatively from Notre Dame.

The Last Supper–

High Renaissance art: The last supper

The style of Leonardo da Vinci is known for its technical approach to art. He used to apply different techniques for his works and through much trial and error he would eventually figure out the right measures. It needs to be mentioned that even the great artist didn’t always succeed,

By the above statement, I don’t mean to imply the quality of his artistic genius in his works. No, what I mean is, not all the techniques applied succeeded in their intended job.

Let me explain it with a famous example.

Have you seen the painting “The last supper”? If not, google it. The painting is extremely popular throughout the world. It’s considered one of his greatest works.

It displays his innovative approach to the art of using multiple points of view in his work. This style is great for displaying the individuality of various characters in an artwork.

However, the problem is, the artwork has faded terribly with time. The techniques used by him in making his work long-lasting didn’t work as they were supposed to. Even after a great deal of care being used for its renovation, less than half of his work is left in proper condition.

Displayed at Convent of Santa Maria Delle Grazie in Milan

How to reach- You can easily find a taxi to here from most places in the city, it will be your fastest mode of travel.

If you have problems, just ask your hotel to provide a mode of transportation for you. Be ready to buy your tickets beforehand though, the tickets sometimes are sold out. It is one of the biggest travel attractions for art connoisseurs after all.

By metro– the most budget-friendly mode of travel here. From Milan’s central station, line 2 subway will take you through Cadorna Fn M2, it will take around 25 minutes.

Ticket prices- full price tickets are €25, for 18-25 y/o EU residents €4, For art students, disabled people and teachers, there is a good concession offered at only €2.


 Virgin Of The Rocks-

Virgin of the rocks

 This is one of the rare paintings which focuses more on the mother of Jesus, the Virgin Mary, rather than other subjects.

There are four subjects depicted in this picture; Christ and John the Baptist, as small kids, as well as an Angel along with them on the ground, while the Virgin Mary features prominently as the main subject. Her position at the top shows her higher importance.

However, it is notable that the Virgin Mary isn’t depicted as a higher divine being like a lot of other works show. This version of Mary shows her in a more humane and modest version, depicting her as a motherly figure.

Displayed at Louvre, Paris

How to reach– Take the Paris metro station called Palais-Royal-Musee du Louvre. Take a short taxi ride from Notre Dame.


Vitruvian Man-

art of Leonardo da Vinci


Vitruvian Man, one of his popular works, is a high reconnaissance drawing importance perfectly proportioned man is shown. While it may be an idealistic approach but it shows the ideal man fitting perfectly inside of a square which in turn is within a circle.

If you want to appreciate this artwork by Leonardo da Vinci, then you need to plan a trip to Venice. This drawing is displayed at Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice.

Displayed at- Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, Italy

Ticket prices- admission fee at Gallerie dell Accademia, Venice, Italy is around 16.5€.


High Renaissance art of Michelangelo


High Renaissance art: David by Michellangelo


The early renaissance version of David by Donatello depicts a normal young man who just slew his enemy. However, the high renaissance work of Michelangelo differs from it entirely.

It shows a young man before going to the battle, with exceptionally big hands and superhuman stature. The artwork by Michelangelo focuses on making his version of David appear larger than life. As the viewers have to literally look up the colossal figure.

The change in perspective makes all the difference. That’s High Renaissance art for you. A master can create any painting that appears lifelike, and any stone carved into appearing mythical.

This high renaissance art work by Michelangelo of David is displayed in the Galleria dell’Accademia, Florence.

Displayed at Accademia, Florence, Italy

Ticket prices– admission fee at Gallerie dell Accademia, Venice, Italy is around 20€ for adults including the reservation Fee with skip the line privileges.

Sistine Chapel Ceiling –

sistine chapel, vatican city

Have you ever been to the Sistine chapel? If you enjoy art and are interested in High Renaissance art works, then this is one of the best places to see.

The incredible artwork on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was the work of Michelangelo. He was commissioned by Pope Julius II for this work and he went above and beyond the expectation of everyone involved in creating this masterpiece.

It’s an interconnected artwork of myriads of tales from the Old Testament. From the ceiling used as a giant canvas to the structural elements of the architecture of the building used as separators, the brilliant artist left no space unused.

The stories range from Adam and Eve to Noah and his arc as well as various prophets to common nude youths.

Displayed at  Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, Vatican city

Entrance fee- 14€ for general and the reduced price is around 8€.


Moses by Michelangelo

Did you know that “Moses”, the incredible masterpiece of Michelangelo actually contains a glaring flaw? Or that it was commissioned for a tomb?

History is full of interesting little stories like that. The sculpture was based on the saint Jerome translated bible, which described divine rays of god on Moses. The interesting part is the translation error by Saint Jerome in translating “Rays” to “Horns” and hence the two little horns on the head of the Moses sculpture.

The sculpture was commissioned for a tomb for Pope Julius II, a tomb that was supposed to be 3 stories high. The pope passed away before the structure was complete. So, the people adjusted with the available space, setting up the soon-to-be-famous sculpture on the ground floor, instead of the 2nd level as it was meant to.

Displayed at  San pietro in Vincoli, Rome

How to reach– Metro station Cavour, bus 117, 75, N2

The Last Judgment-

the last judgement

Michelangelo is sometimes known as the “renaissance man” for his extraordinary contribution to High Renaissance art form.

This massive art is located at the Sistine Chapel as well, along with the massive ceiling artwork mentioned above. Comprising of a staggering 300 characters, it was assigned to Michelangelo by Pope Paul III.

Most of the figures depicted in this masterpiece comprise extraordinarily muscular characters with Jesus and his mother at the centre.

While the background around the saints and Jesus displays the heavenly sky, the bottom part depicts people being dragged to hell.

Different saints surround the figure of Jesus and his mother, St. Bartholomew featuring the main among them.

Displayed at- Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, Vatican city

Entrance fee- 14€ for general and the reduced price is around 8€.

The creation of Adam- a unique High Renaissance art

High Renaissance art: the last judgement

One of the most popular paintings of all time, this is another masterpiece by Michelangelo that you can find at Sistine Chapel.

It is considered that artworks end Sistine Chapel are a great way to understand the masterful knowledge of Michelangelo and the study of human anatomy. Most of the artworks depict legendary figures, mythic characters naked and in their natural element.

This masterpiece features God and Adam. Adam is shown sitting relaxed and his hands extended, while God is shown rushing towards Adam.

The incredibly detailed depiction of human anatomy as well as emotional expression in this piece is considered the peak of renaissance art.

Displayed at Sistine Chapel, Vatican City

Entrance fee- 14€ for general and the reduced price is around 8€.

High Renaissance art of Raphael-

The School of Athens

High Renaissance art: the school of Athens

It is customary in any discussion about art to mention the wonderful masterpieces of Raphael.

Raphael openly displayed his respect towards Michelangelo, Leonardo and his teacher Perugino in his painting. He was quite a young artist, and some of his works were inspired by the above three mentioned artists.

While Raphael may have lived until only 37 years, his artworks depicted his great wisdom and unquestionably superior talent.

The School of Athens is an incredibly thorough painting depicting famous philosophers from Plato to Aristotle and Michelangelo. Supposedly there is a character of him as well on the right side

with most of the philosophers discussing various topics.

Displayed at Raphael rooms, Vatican museums, Vatican city

Entrance fee- 14€ for general and the reduced price is around 8€.

 Sistine Madonna- the popular High Renaissance art

High Renaissance art: Sistine Madonna, Vatican city

This artwork was assigned to Raphael by Pope Julius II, to create a painting around Madonna as the focus.

This was Raphael’s first painting, in which Madonna featured as the main character with Christ in a child form while saint Barbara and Sixtus were positioned at both sides.

Did you notice the two angel kids at the bottom? Do you remember seeing them somewhere else before?

It’s almost a guaranty that you have. They have been used wildly to be added to a lot of commodities.

At first glance, that’s all someone unfamiliar with the painting notices. However, do a bit of thorough inspection of the painting. Did you see the numerous cherubs painted one after another in vague strokes? Don’t worry, I thought they were clouds too.

Displayed at Gemäldeegalerie Alte Meister, Dresden


The best thing I like about I art is that you don’t have to be an artist or an art connoisseur to marvel at its beauty or comprehend its meaning.

For me, Art is not about factual interpretation of what exactly the artist meant. I care more for just being in the moment and relishing the feeling that the art piece invokes within me.

Well, that’s enough about art for today, don’t forget to click a ton of pictures of everywhere you go. Memories are important.

Go on now voyager, have fun, Happy Travels!


3 thoughts on “High Renaissance Art: Masters and Their Masterpieces

Leave a Reply