Historical Context and A Modern-Day Look At The Masterpieces Of European Art

Historical Context and A Modern-Day Look At The Masterpieces Of European Art


The Renaissance was a time of great art and artists, but it’s also very complicated. We have a tendency to look at the past through rose-colored glasses, but that doesn’t mean we can’t learn from the struggles of our ancestors. Here’s a list of some of the most famous European masterpieces from this period:

The Italian Renaissance

The Italian Renaissance, which began in the 14th century and lasted until the 16th century, is characterized by a return to classical antiquity. This was a cultural rebirth in Europe that began with the development of humanism and spread throughout Italy.

It was during this period that artists became interested in art again after a long period of stagnation during the Middle Ages (500-1000 AD). They started looking back at ancient Greek and Roman art as inspiration for their own work, creating an explosion of new ideas about what could be done with painting and sculpture.

Dutch art in the 17th century

The Dutch Golden Age was a period in the 17th century when the Netherlands was one of the wealthiest countries in Europe. It was marked by discoveries, trade and colonization that led to its global power. The Dutch masters were painters who lived during this time and created their paintings during this time period.

Dutch art and architecture flourished during this period due to increased wealth from trade with Asia and America, which allowed artists to pursue their craft without worrying about money. Dutch artists were known for their realistic paintings depicting everyday life as well as landscapes; many of these works are still admired today!

The origins of French impressionism

The origins of French impressionism can be traced back to the late 19th century, when a group of artists decided they wanted their paintings to look like they were created by someone who was standing in front of the subject and observed it with his or her own eyes. These artists were interested in capturing not only what objects looked like but also how light appeared on them. They lived together in Paris as well as traveled around Europe together so that they could paint landscapes together and discuss ideas about art with each other.

German Expressionism

German Expressionism was a movement that began in Germany in the early 20th century, influenced by the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. It was a reaction to the strict formality and conservatism of the German society at the time. The art produced during this period is characterized by emotional intensity, distortion and experimentation with new techniques like collage or cubism.

The artists were seeking to express themselves through their work rather than simply create beautiful paintings for people’s homes as had been done previously (and continues today).

Spanish Renaissance art and architecture

The Spanish Renaissance was a period of cultural revival that began in the 15th century, influenced by the Italian Renaissance. It was characterized by an increase in literary output, an interest in classical antiquity and a focus on architecture. The period lasted until about 1650, when it came to an end due to political instability caused by conflicts between Spain and other European powers.

You can see some of these masterpieces for yourself.

You can see some of these masterpieces for yourself. Many museums have collections that contain some of the most famous works of European art, including:

  • The Louvre in Paris, France–This museum houses many paintings from the Renaissance period and beyond. It’s one of the largest museums in the world and has an extensive collection that includes Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa (1503) and Michelangelo’s David (1501). In fact, there are over 35,000 pieces on display!
  • National Gallery in London, England–This museum is home to paintings by artists such as Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669), Claude Lorrain (1600-1682), John Constable (1776-1837) and Thomas Gainsborough (1727-1788). You’ll find everything from landscapes to portraits here!


The masterpieces of European art are a testament to the creativity and ingenuity of artists over the centuries. From Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel frescoes to Monet’s Water Lilies, these works have been enjoyed by millions around the world. If you want to see them for yourself, we recommend visiting one or more of these museums: The Louvre in Paris (France), The Prado Museum in Madrid (Spain), The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City (USA) or Tate Modern in London (UK).