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Wars of Independence at the end of the century, which greatly depleted the population of
Antwerp, resulted in a temporary break in its role as cultural hub, a position it would regain in
the following century.
Poland
Renaissance architecture was in full bloom in Poland during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Poland was a very stong country at this time and the Jagiellon dynasty supported the
development of sacral and secular architecture. There are many great examples of the
Renaissance style constructed by Polish as well as Italian and Nederlandish architects.
Stanislaw Samostrzelnik was the first recognised Renaissance painter in Poland, gaining
recognition for his ornamental miniatures. Humanism blossomed in Poland during this period
and satisfaction gained from the celebration of oneself and one’s own ideas. Samostrzelnik’s
characters were drawn with an appreciation of this and often express self-consciousness.
Portugal
Early 16th century Portugal witnessed the height of the exuberant Manueline style, which in the
early part of the century remained largely architectural and Gothic. In architecture the style,
financed by the lucrative spice trade in India and Africa, incorporated both the maritime
elements and the discoveries of the voyages of Vasco da Gama and Pedro Álvares Cabral.
Under the patronage of King Manuel I there were several important architects of the period
including Pedro de Trillo, Diogo de Arruda and Francisco de Arruda who were responsible for
the Evora Royal Palace (1525) and the Castle of Évoramonte (1531) as well as the Manueline
monument, the Convent of the Order of Christ at Tomar. Characteristics of this style are the
complex ornamentation of windows, portals, columns and arcades. It wasn’t until the end of the
century that Portuguese architecture abandoned the Gothic style in favor of the first ‘pure’
Renaissance constructions as seen in the Chapel of Nossa Senhora da Conceição in Tomar
(1532-40), the Porta Especiosa of Coimbra Cathedral and the Graça Church at Évora (c. 15301540). The Manueline style spilled over into the other arts, and a school of painting called the
Northern School was established. The style of painting is characterised by its sense of realism,
expressive detail and brilliant colours. Vasco Fernandes (Grão Vasco) is the most renowned
Manueline painter. His most notable works are the altarpieces at Viseu Cathedral. A different
group of painters developed under the Lisbon School including Gaspar Vaz, Jorge Afonso,
Cristóvão de Figueiredo, Garcia Fernandes and one of the best known artists of the 16th
century, Gregório Lopes. The influence of the Manueline style was carried through the
Portuguese Empire and remains evident in North Africa, Southern Spain and the Canaries, as
well as further afield in Brazil, Goa in India, Peru and Mexico.
Romania
In the 16th century Romania was under the direct control of Ottomon rule. At the end of the 16th
century, a Walachian voivode (a military commander), Michael the Brave, led a revolt against
the Ottomans and succeeded in bringing Walachia, Moldavia, and Transylvania under his rule
briefly at the end of the century. Michael is the national hero of Romania for his part in this
uprising and for being the first to combine the three territories that were to form Romania. In the
16th century the Renaissance, Humanism and Reformation brought new influences to
Transylvanian culture. However, apart from the humanist development from Italian influence
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