Leonardo Da Vinci, who painted ‘Madonna of the Rocks’ in 1485, was very interested in science. He did various studies of plants, water and even controversial studies of the human anatomy where he cut open the deceased to see how the inside of the body works. All this was to provide the perfect naturalistic painting. In the painting ‘Madonna of the rocks’ his study of water can be seen in Mary’s hair and there is numerous plants and rocks that he studied.
Leonardo was the inventor of ‘blue air’ or aerial perspective where things got smaller the further away they were and eventually covered in a veil of mist. This shows Leonardo’s observation of nature in his quest of perfect beauty. The reason he wanted perfect beauty was because the Renaissance was the rebirth of classical ideas, which was beauty and order. In the painting ‘Tribute Money’ by Masaccio a way that science can be seen is with the naturalism in the background. This painting is a step up from medieval paintings that had gold gilding in the background.
Masaccio has actually studied real landscapes and has observed nature closely. In both paintings there is a large variation of different people, which is individualism which was a part of humanism. You can see the rebirth of classical ideas in the drapery of the figures, except the tax collector is wearing the clothes of the time this was painted which was around 1425-27. The architecture has linear perspective which was written about in a theory by a 15th century writer called Alberti.
The painting has a story within it, because a lot of people at the time were illiterate and this was the churches way to teach their story. In ‘Madonna of the Rocks’ the figures are very realistic and beautiful that they would evoke worship since the people couldn’t read the bible. Both paintings were done in Florence which was the center of the western world, it was between trading countries and so was extremely rich and with wealth they were able to commission more art for the newly built villars and cathedrals. The artists were not just laborers but some of the greatest minds.