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The Creation of Adam, Michelangelo's work in the Sistine Chapel.

The High Renaissance, in the history of art, denotes the culmination of the art of the Italian Renaissance between 1450 and 1527. Because Pope Julius II patronized many artists during this time, the movement was centered in Rome; it had previously been centered in Florence.

The High Renaissance is generally held to have emerged in the late 1490s, when Leonardo da Vinci executed his Last Supper in Milan. The paintings in the Vatican by Michelangelo and Raphael represent the culmination of the style in painting. The style was introduced to architecture by Donato Bramante, who in 1502 built the Tempietto, with its majestic proportions signifying the full-scale revival of ancient Roman architecture. High Renaissance sculpture, as exemplified by Michelangelo's Pietà and David, is characterized by the ideal balance between statics and movement. The serene mood and luminous colours of Giorgione and young Titian exemplify the High Renaissance in Venice.

The High Renaissance is widely viewed as the greatest explosion of creative genius in history. Even relatively minor painters active during the period, such as Fra Bartolomeo and Mariotto Albertinelli, produced works remarkable for their perfect harmony and control of the painterly mediums. The elongated proportions and exaggerated poses in the late works of Michelangelo, Andrea del Sarto and Correggio prefigure the nascent Mannerism, as the Late Renaissance is referred to in the history of art. Raphael's death in 1520 and the sack of Rome in 1527 spelled the end of the High Renaissance.

High Renaissance sculpture was normally commissioned by the public and the state, this becoming more popular for sculpture is an expensive art form. Sculpture was often used to decorate or embellish architecture, normally within courtyards where others were able to study and admire the commissioned art work. Wealthy individuals like cardinals, rulers and bankers were the more likely private patrons along with very wealthy families; Pope Julius II also patronized many artists. During the High Renaissance there was the development of small scale statuettes for private patrons, the creation of busts and tombs also developing. The subject matter related to sculpture was mostly religious but also with a significant strand of classical individuals in the form of tomb sculpture and paintings.

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