The artists of the late Renaissance adopted a variety of strategies and styles. They were influenced by, and reacted to, the naturalism and harmonious ideals of three masters: Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo. As Raphael’s glorious Saint Sebastian demonstrates, by this time many painters had embraced the medium of oil, using strong hues and layers of transparent paint to build forms.
Many artists used dramatic lighting, theatrical, often irrational perspective. The stance of figures becomes twisted and exaggerated, their necks, fingers and other physical features elongated. Compositional groups occupy such a large area of the canvas they almost burst out of the frames. Portraits emphasise an emotional intensity and give a strong sense of the individual.