The Renaissance The Italian Renaissance

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The Renaissance

The Italian Renaissance

  • Renaissance-French in origin-Meaning Rebirth.
  • Emerged in Italy because of economic growth and governmental factors.
  • Trade flourished here-ramification of the Crusades.
  • Italian city-states had maintained political independence.

Italy is closely attached to the classical traditions of Greece and Rome.

  • Italy is closely attached to the classical traditions of Greece and Rome.
  • Interest in the classics was labeled humanism.
  • Scholars who pursued this-humanists.
  • The very philosophy of life changed
  • Seek fulfillment in daily living rather than merely the afterlife.
  • Emphasis on the individual.


  • Humanities – history/philosophy
  • Emphasis upon becoming a “well rounded person” with a variety of interests-art, music, sports, literature, and politics.
  • Today’s education based on this philosophy.

Humanist Writers

  • Petrarch—Sonnet—14 lines-unrequited love.
  • Cellini– Autobiography.
  • Machavelli—The Prince– End justifies the means.

Italian City-States

  • Because Italy resisted feudalism and control of the emperor a social order emerged in which wealth and ability was valued over titles and land ownership.
  • City-States are governed by wealthy families.

Leading City-States

  • Florence: birthplace of Italian Renaissance
    • Wealth in textile industry.
    • Medici’s made their money in banking—patrons of the arts.
    • Instituted a graduated income tax
    • Medici rule was for a time interrupted by an uprising led by a Dominican friar: Girolamo Savonarola.
    • Savanorola strict regulation of public behavior soon aroused public opposition.

Rome and Venice

  • Rome: Pope and cardinals comprise wealthiest class. Replaces Florence as leading city- state
    • St. Peter’s Basilica (largest Christian church in the world)
  • Venice: By late 1500’s assume leadership of the Renaissance.
  • Dominates trade with Asia
  • Governed by a Republic


  • Republic headed by a Doge (Duke)
  • The council of ten (wealthiest merchants) had the real political power.
  • Revenue generated via tariffs.
  • Artists flocked to this commercial center.
  • Artists emphasized realism and secular activities, Human Emotions.

Architecture returns to classical style


  • Donatello
    • 1st to cast in bronze since the ancients.
  • Michelangelo
    • Statue of David
  • Ghiberti
    • 10 magnificent New Testament Scenes


  • Realistic
  • Emphasizing Human Emotions
  • DaVinci



Michelangelo-Sistine Chapel Christ giving the key to St. Peter

The Renaissance filters to the North

  • France
  • England
  • Netherlands

The Northern Renaissance

  • Spread of the Renaissance to Northern Countries
  • War Spreads it
  • 1494 France invades Italy
      • King Frances I becomes fascinated w/Italian Renaissance fashion and art.

Brings Leonardo Da Vinci and others to France

    • Brings Leonardo Da Vinci and others to France
  • Other rulers in North follow –bring humanists to their country

Spread of Renaissance Cont.

  • Traders
  • New found wealth amongst the Northern merchants begin to spend money on (values) education, arts, fine goods and expensive housing.
  • Travel
    • To Italy to study w/Italian masters

Newly educated middle class knowledge among middle class aided by the invention of the printing press.

Printing press

  • Johannes Gutenberg
  • About 1440 German metal worker
  • Used moveable type
  • Result: publish books more quickly and less expensive

Northern Scholars adapt Italian Renaissance to fit better their needs.

The French Renaissance

  • Unique-blended French medieval Gothic with the classical columns used by Italian architects to create the Chateaux (castles)
  • Francis I and Nobles built large country estates.


French Writers

  • Pierre Ronsard-own sonnets inspired by Petrarch. Wrote on love, passing youth and immortality

Michel de Montaigne

  • Autobiography
  • Personal Essay
  • Short Phrase composition
  • Express clearly personal view
  • Disadvantage of royalty—”A heavy burden to be a king.”

Francois Rabelais (RA-buh-lay)

  • Most popular of French authors
  • Wrote on many topics-themes were of rejecting Middle Ages focus on the after life.
  • People should enjoy life to the fullest
  • Wrote on law, medicine, politics, theology & navigation

Northern Europe


  • Accepted Italian Renaissance
  • Universities and schools promoted the humanist learning
  • Latin still the scholarly language (increase in German and Dutch)

Christian Humanism

  • More religious tone
  • Wanted reform in the Catholic Church
  • Believed that humanist learning and Bible study were the best way to promote these goals

Most Famous Christian Humanist

  • Desiderius (Dez-ih-deer-ee-us) Erasmus
  • Inspired colleagues to study Greek and Hebrew
    • Can understand older versions of the Bible.
    • Take a more critical view of the Catholic Church.

He attacked the extravagances of the Renaissance Popes.

  • He attacked the extravagances of the Renaissance Popes.
  • Noted work, “The Praise of Folly”
    • Describes these popes as no longer practiced Christians.

Quote from Erasmus: “Scarce any kind of men live more devoted to pleasure or with less troubles…To work miracles is…not in fashion now;to instruct the people, troublesome; to interpret scripture; to pray, a sign one has little else to do…”

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Northern European Painters

  • Their style relies more on Medieval than classical models
  • 1400’s Flemish painters Jan & Hubert Eyck (EYEK) painted scenes from the Bible and daily life in sharp realistic detail

Developed Techniques

  • Developed painting in oils
  • Gives richer colors
  • Soon spreads to Italy-oil painting technique

Pieter Brueghal (Broy-gahl)

  • Combine Italian technique with artistic traditions of his homeland.
  • Paints realistic portraits, landscapes and scene from peasant life.

The English Renaissance

  • Ideas of Renaissance did not spread to England until 1485---War of the Roses—ends
  • Henry VII invites Italian Renaissance scholars to England—Teach Humanism

Thomas More-English Statesman

  • Writes “Utopia” in Latin
  • Criticizes today's society and compares it to a perfect society

William Shakespeare

  • Drew ideas from Medieval Legends and classical mythology.
  • History of England, Denmark and Rome.

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Christopher Marlowe

  • Wrote on: humanistic qualities such as:
  • Love, jealousy, ambition, and despair.

Plays are still relevant today

  • Still done.

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