The Prado


Madrid for kids

The Renaissance (1400 - 1600) was a great rebirth of European learning and discovery.  It ended 1000 years of superstition and ignorance that followed the fall of Rome called the Dark Ages or Middle Ages].  The Renaissance began in Italy and then spread throughout northern Europe.  Art, science and literature all blossomed during the Renaissance, led by artists like Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, scientists like Galileo, and writers like Shakespeare.

Renaissance artists concentrated on investigating and representing the real world.  Artists continued to depict religious subjects but also began to portray the human experience in the religious scenes and mythical stories.  There was a renewed interest in naturalistic styles and formal rules of composition such as perspective. The Greek classical ideals of ideal proportions (for depicting the human body as well as for architecture and painting) also regained popularity

Fra Angelico's 'Annunciation' is the main part of an altar piece.  It depicts the Archangel Gabriel announcing the expected birth of Jesus to the 'Virgin Mary'.  Outside we see the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the garden of Eden.

It is an Early Renaissance Painting characterised by
- architectural detailing
-deep perspective
-medieval gilding still being used

The five small pictures are painted on the same panel and tell the story of the Virgin.  The work is tempera and gold leaf.  Gold leaf isn't like money growing on trees, but very very thin sheets of gold pressed onto the surface.
If you have google earth you can view this painting in very high detail.  Just Click on masterpieces.

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