Greek And Rome’s Influence On Renaissance Art

Renaissance art is known as the rebirth of art. Greek and Roman classical artworks influenced Renaissance art.

The Renaissance, a period of rebirth, was greatly influenced by the classical ancient arts of Greek and Rome. During this period, many Greek and Roman works of art were also rediscovered; this helped rediscovery of realism, symmetry, and harmony in the arts. Greek and Roman art also influenced the subject matter of many of the Renaissance artists.

The Rebirth Of Greek And Roman Influences

The Renaissance period was a time of rebirth; included in this rebirth was Greek and Roman Influences in the arts, including Greek and Roman architecture and sculptures. 

These ancient works of art inspired many Renaissance artists. Suddenly, what had once been a lost ancient work was now being discovered, and those discoveries helped show these artists things that were possible that they had never thought about before.

Pope Julius II was the Pontificate from 1503 to 1513. Pope Julius was very fond of antiquities and purchased many classical works. Pope Julius II had the Belvedere Court built to display many newly found antiquities and classical statues.

The Belvedere Court, located in the Vatican Palace in Rome, is probably the first museum-like structure to house works of art, including many Greek and classical Roman statues.

The artist Michelangelo was also in great favor with the pope. This gave him an incredible amount of access to these Greek and classical Roman works, and it helped to inspire him and his works of art.

Even though other Renaissance artists did not have the same access, the artwork they saw Michelangelo produce also inspires them.

Significant Greek And Roman Works Of Art That Influenced The Renaissance

Several influential works were found during the renaissance period that profoundly affected the Renaissance artists. These works of art show the artists things they never thought were possible before, so they then used this inspiration in their works of art.

Here are three of the most important Greek and Roman statues found in the Renaissance era and placed in the Belvedere Court by the Popes.

Apollo Belvedere

The Apollo Belvedere

The Apollo Belvedere is an excellent example of classical Greek arts and sculpture. The Apollo statue shows the best of nature, art, and humanity – all rolled into one figure.

The statue is a second-century copy of a Greek bronze original. It was hidden for a while but found in the late 15th century and acquired by the Vatican in 1511.

The Apollo is a perfect representation of the Greek and Classical Roman arts. You can see how realistic this statue is with the intricate folds of Apollo’s clothing and the perfection of his male figure and body.

Also, with Appollo’s stance, you can see how one of the legs is bent and almost like he is ready to move it anytime. This statue is seen as one of the nearly perfect representations of the human figure.

What makes this a perfect representation of the classical style is that Apollo is calm and peaceful. Apollo is not engaged in any action or emotion but is instead calmly posing.

The statue is considered a perfect representation of the classical style. It also represented everything that the renaissance artists were trying to achieve: the ideal human form and the realistic details in a classical stance.


Laocoon (42 and 20 BC) by Agesander, Athenodoros, and Polydorus

Laocoon is a Roman copy in marble of Greek mythology; this statue was made between 42 and 20 BC. It is rumored to have been made by three great sculptors – Agesander, Athenodoros, and Polydorus.

The statue was found in 1506 near Nero’s Golden House site. We are not sure if Nero or another wealthy Roman owned it.

The unearthing of the statue was an essential event in Rome in 1506. Michelangelo was in Rome at that time to witness the unearthing of the statue.

Pope Julius II, a lover of antiquity, immediately acquired the statue. The city celebrated with church bells being rung throughout Rome as the Laocoon statue was taken to the Vatican, where the statue still resides.

This statue had a profound effect on Michelangelo and his work. As in favorite artist of the Vatican and Pope. Michelangelo spent a lot of time studying this Laocoon statue.

The statue portrays three people -most notably the Priest Laocoon and his two sons – who are all desperately struggling to stay alive. You can see the expressions anf pain on their faces.

The statues showed muscular movement and power and not just strength. It also showed climax and emotion; this kind of climax and emotion in a work f art influenced Michelangelo and many other Renaissance artists.

Belvedere Torso

The Belvedere Torso

Unlike the ceremony that surrounded the unearthing of the Laocoon statues, the Belvedere Torso was also unearthed in 1523, but there was no ceremony surrounding its unearthing.

The statue Is a Roman copy of a Greek original, and it’s dated to be from the first century BC. We are not exactly sure who’s Torso it is, but many believe it was the Greek Gods Hercules or Apollo.

Even though the statue is just of a Torso, Michelangelo admired it immensely. He often referred to the statue as his teacher and used copies of the pose throughout his future work, notably in the Sistine chapel.

Listen To Our Podcast About Greek & Roman Art And The Renaissance below or by clicking here.

The Renaissance Influences With Greek And Roman Art

During the Renaissance, artists began to appreciate the Greek and classical Roman ideals. These classical ideals included things such as realism, symmetry, and harmony.

When Rome was undergoing reconstruction during the Renaissance era, many important works of art were rediscovered. Areas of Rome that had once been desolated and ruined for over 1000 years saw people finding valuable statues – sometimes while plowing a field or expanding a foundation for a building.

These classical artistic findings gave the Renaissance artists massive inspiration and even imagination. With those important discoveries came a renewed interest in the Greek and Roman Classical forms and art.

The Renaissance also showed that the arts could show the physical perfection of both the body and spirit. The Renaissance artists tried to show perfectionism in their works of art.

The Renassicace also showed how strong emotion could be part of the arts. Art subjects were painted to show human emotions.

There is no doubt that the Renaissance era was a time that was greatly influenced by Greek and Rome Classical arts.

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Why Was The Human Figure So Important To Renaissance Art?

The human figure was significant to the Renaissance artists; they showed the realistic human form. They understood that to show the human form adequately, they needed to study it and understand it better. The classical statues of Greek and Rome greatly influenced these Renaissance artists and their desire to depict the perfect human form. It can be said the Renaissance artist started on their study of the human figure where the Greek and Roman artists left off.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading Why Was The Human Figure So Important To Renaissance Art?.

British Renaissance Artists And Art

The Renaissance in Britain, known as the English Renaissance, took place from the early 16th century to the early 17th century. It took place later than the Italian Renaissance. It was also a complicated renaissance movement, and paintings were not emphasized as much as music and literature. One of the famous artworks that did come out of this era was portrait miniatures.

By clicking here, you can learn more by reading British Renaissance Artists And Art.

Anita Louise Hummel

Hi, I am Anita Louise Hummel. I am an artist and a blogger. I paint mainly oil paints. I love to paint women, animals (mainly dogs and cats), and abstracts. I use a lot of gold and silver leaf in my paintings. I also love to blog about anything to do with art, business, Procreate, and all the wonderful artists that inspire me.

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Greek And Rome Influence On Renaissance Art