The Italian Renaissance, or rebirth, began in the late 13th century, but the boom of the period didn’t occur until the 15th and 16th centuries. During the Italian Renaissance, the Medici and the churches commissioned artists to paint for the church, so during the boom there were many paintings that included Madonna and Child, Christ or Adam and Eve, portraits, and nudity. This would later on create the era called the Enlightenment.
One of the most famous portraits is called the Mona Lisa, which currently hangs at the Louvre in France.
The Mona Lisa, painted by Leonardo da Vinci in 1503-06, is thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini. She is modelling in a subtle way, along with the atmospheric illusions surrounding her.
The Creation of Adam, painted by Michelangelo in the 16th century (1508-1512), is a fresco that sits on the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel. He was commissioned, probably by Pope Julius II, to paint this. Keep in mind- this is only PART of the Sistene Chapel. Throughout the rest of the of the ceiling, there are over 300 figures and is over 500 feet.
Of course, these are only a few of the many many portraits and paintings of the Renaissance. But with the Renaissance came the renewal in artwork and the proliferation of paintings led to its defining characterization of the period.
Now with this newfound cognization of the era, take a minute to look at any of the paintings you have, and make sure you add one of the other themes of the era- light. Light was key and was important in giving the painting another dimension.