Monumental art is defined by its physical scale, the breadth of its subject matter and its ambition to be of lasting significance.  During the Renaissance, powerful patrons encouraged the development of monumental art, a trend which continued into the Baroque era.

Pope Julius, initiated the monumentalism of the High Renaissance when he commissioned the architect Bramante to rebuild St. Peters in Rome. With political ambitions the Pope instructed Bramante to design and build something which would dwarf all the most significant monumental buildings of the ancient world, including the Parthenon and the Basilica of Constantine.

Michelangelo also excelled in monumental painting and sculpture.  His frescoes in the Sistine Chapel feature hundreds of nudes arranged into an epic narrative of man’s creation, fall, redemption and judgement.  His giant figures all have heroically muscular bodies.  Michelangelo’s David, the first monumental Renaissance sculpture, measures four meters high and was commissioned as a symbol of the Florentine Republic.

As you can see Renaissance Monumentalism was meant to constitute a grandiose power; by its commissioner and also, and most importantly, by its creator.

Some of the Artists:

  • Leon Battista Alberti
  • Donato Bramante
  • Filippo Brunelleschi
  • Lorenzo Ghiberti
  • Giorgione
  • Hugo Van Der Goes
  • Andrea Mantegna
  • Michelangelo Buonarroti
  • Raffaello Sanzio (Raphael)
  • Tintoretto