"The Birth of Venus" by Sandro Botticelli.
One cannot describe the "rebirth" of lifelike art without first describing its predecessor, therefore to understand the full glory of the Renaissance, a short explanation of the Middle Ages is needed. .
During the Middle Ages, art had strayed from elaborate depictions of great mythological stories and beautiful scenes from the bible, to images of humans as corrupt beings and scenes of judgment and salvation from the bible. It was not permitted to paint nudes during this period; moreover the clothed figures were done with blatant ignorance to anatomy. Art during this period was used as an aid to the church; therefore whatever was boorish or sacrilegious was destroyed. A change came from Italy in the mid 1400s when Masaccio burst onto the scene embodying all the qualities that make the Renaissance the rebirth and rediscovery of Greco-Roman art and literature. However the Renaissance did more than rediscover Greco-Roman technique, it surpassed it due to advances in science and technology, specifically pertaining to anatomy and perspective. As time passed this artistic movement spread across Italy to Venice and Rome, and by the Sixteenth century the rest of Europe. A short period known as High Renaissance (1500-1520) gave birth to some of the most influential and greatly known artists, among them Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Directly following this period is an interval that concluded the inspired majesty known as The Renaissance, this period is called The Late Renaissance. From approximately 1520 to the end of the sixteenth century the style associated with The Renaissance spread again, to the north this time, and with its growth came an evolution to the style of the period; hence the gradual movement to the Baroque period.
As it was said before the Renaissance birthed a new style in art marked by four key changes in painting: the use of perspective, the mediums used, a change in light and shadow and the overall composition of the work, most of which were discovered due to continual advances in science.