About 160 works by famous artists including Donatello, Filippo Lippi, Botticelli, Verrocchio, Ghirlandaio, and Antonello da Messina are being showcased at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Titled The Renaissance Portrait from Donatello to Bellini, the exhibition will run until March 18. It is an unprecedented survey of the period, providing new insight into the early history of portraiture.
Divided into three sections, the exhibition showcases creations spanning eight decades.
Beginning in Florence, where independent portraits first appeared in abundance, it moves to the courts of Ferrara, Mantua, Bologna, Milan, Urbino, Naples, and papal Rome, before ending in Venice, where a tradition of portraiture asserted itself surprisingly late in the 15th century.
Portraiture has great significance in the art world, whether it was undertaken to record the features of a family member for future generations, celebrate a prince or warrior, extol the beauty of a woman, or make possible the exchange of a likeness among friends.
The rapid development of portraiture was linked closely to Renaissance society and politics, ideals of the individual, and concepts of beauty.
During the early Renaissance, artists working in Florence, Venice, and the courts of Italy created magnificent portraits of people around them.
Ranging from painting and manuscript illumination to marble sculpture and bronze medals, the exhibition is a unique display of portraiture in the 15th-century Italy.