The period known as the High Renaissance in Italy marks the late fifteenth century and the first half of the sixteenth century. During this time, Rome succeeded Florence as the artistic center. During the High Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci emerged as the embodiment of the “Universal Renaissance Man”. Leonardo worked as a sculptor, architect, writer, and painter. Artists who were influenced by Leonardo include Bramante, Raphael, and Michelangelo, all of whom achieved their greatest success in Rome.
Leonardo’s most important painting is the great mural of the Last Supper. This painting emerged as the icon of Christian painting. Although the specific painting technique he used caused the painting to deteriorate rapidly, his talent at capturing narrative movement and character won him fame as one of the best artists of his time.
Michelangelo was also a “Renaissance Man”, in that his accomplishments included architectural design, painting, sculpting, and writing. His David sculpture differed from Donatello’s in that his was tense rather than relaxed. Michelangelo also broke away from the Classical proportions in that his David’s hands were large in relation to his overall size. Michelangelo is perhaps best known for his Sistine Chapel Frescoes, all of which depict in some way the Christian future. His Last Judgment fresco adorns the alter wall of the Sistine Chapel. The nude figures the fresco contained aroused some controversy, and after his death, loincloths and draperies were painted over the nude figures.