Renaissance Pavement Art Exploring the Boundaries of Perspective

The Renaissance pavement art series of Kurt Wenner is as enchanting as it is extraordinary, as much inspired by classical beauty as it is completely contemporary. The extent of multi-layered references, history, and visual magic awes those who see the art in public places, as well as those who see only the photographic remnants of the masterworks.

Phaethon Myth Renaissance Pavement Art
In Greek myth Phaethon overestimated his ability to steer the sun chariot, causing his death and the destruction of part of the earth. These kinds of epic stories are the perfect subjects for Wenner’s equally epic Renaissance pavement art.

The images are so memorable because they are anamorphic, meaning they appear three-dimensional when viewed from the proper angle. Wenner draws photo-realistically, a skill that drove his desire to initially move to Italy and study chalk paintings, as well as another reason his public installations are so extraordinary and eye-catching.

Epic Renaissance Pavement Art
The gigantic size of these pieces should not be forgotten. To paint that much detail in that big of a space is a truly epic task.

“Although I employ an arsenal of visual tools to create illusion, the classical language of form is the most essential. Classicism is vastly superior to other forms of realism for the creation of illusion because it is based on human perception.”

With geometry Wenner playfully tricks us into believing Phaethon is actually falling to his death below the very pavement where he is depicted. Although, because of his deep reverence for ideal Renaissance beauty and his unique interpretations of ancient motifs, his public paintings are much more than just illusions.

Gluttony Public Renaissance Pavement Art
Kurt Wenner presents common Renaissance themes like the seven sins, here gluttony, in public paintings.

The artist’s Renaissance pavement art series is a pastiche of Italian chalk drawings, classical painting, and sometimes contemporary themes. His dedication to the medium is intensive. He devotes time to the research and study of its history and to the improvement of his materials:

“I actually use handmade pastels, which are stronger and more permanent than commercial products.  When I first started street painting I used commercial chalks and pastels.  I soon found the chalks to be too dusty and they constantly blew away on the street.”

Colorful Renaissance Pavement Art
Handmade pastels allow for supreme vividness and perfect color in this public installation.
3D Renaissance Pavement Art
The detail captured by Wenner is unbelievable. The ship in a bottle is effortlessly incorporated into the composition.

Western classicism is indeed its own “language”, with its own definitions of space and form, its own reoccurring symbols that those familiar with the style can read. Some of these things have been lost in 20 th century art, but Wenner vibrantly reintroduces them into our time. This contemporary series has one major difference from Renaissance painting and that it its fleeting nature. The artist’s Renaissance pavement art lasts only a few days before it is rained or blown away, these beautiful photographs are all that remain. The timeline and life of his pieces adds another layer, one of the realm of contemporary performance. As they are produced in public, for the public, the creation and destruction of the paintings is witnessed as well. This urban art project entertains not just in its finished stages, but throughout each stage, of each painting.

Perspective Tricks Renaissance Pavement Art
This wide angle photo plays with perspective the same way as his public art installations.