Idealism states that the physical world is less important than the spiritual, implicating that such gives life to the other and without the soul the material cannot live.

Plato’s theory of the Forms was the most important Classical influence on Renaissance Idealism.  The Ideas (forms) supposedly holds the unchangeable laws of the universe, while the material world is subject of transformations, being considered weak and shallow.

The leading artists of the High Renaissance – Leonardo, Raphael and Michelangelo – are all associated with slightly different forms of idealism. Michelangelo’s was most identified with the Platonic Forms because of his reliance on his imagination.  Michelangelo’s art also idealised the body by giving it monumental proportions, his figures are usually astonishingly muscular.  Raphael’s figures are equally idealised but they are characterised by sweetness of expressions, serenity, elegance and beautiful colors.  Leonardo’s idealism was characterised by an emphasis on finding the Divine in the perfectly human figure.  The renaissance idealism artists chose to paint in this style not to hide the human imperfection but to show their ability to create with absolute beauty what it could be.

Some of the Artists:

  •  Donatello
  • Albrecht Durer
  • Lorenzo Ghiberti
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Andrea Mantegna
  • Masaccio
  • Michelangelo
  • Raphael Sanzio