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The Renaissance (1450-1550)
What were the factors that contributed to this cultural, political and
philosophical change?
 Revolts and famine and war in northern Europe caused greater
prosperity in the Italy (trade was predominantly through southern
 The crusades had contributed to wealth in Italy (through the port of
 Social structure in Italy not feudal = non landowner could get
power through wealth
 Invention of the printing press 1453… ends ignorance… more
education causes questioning of traditional ideas. Spread of ideas..
-philosophy that broke from medieval attitudes and ideas of the ‘City of God’ by
focusing on life on earth, physical love, and stressing an active life here and now
-led to artists and writers depicting humans realistically as they are on earth, not in
an idealized form (can show true emotions)
-ideal renaissance individual would be cultured, educated and well versed in the
classical Greek and Roman ideals, and competent in all forms of art
Northern Italy the area of origins for the renaissance:
-urban population of major Italian trade cities required and received higher levels of
education (e.g. Florence, Milan, Venice and Naples)
-following the Black Death the patriciate (wealthy merchants) emerged as a new
-middle class of merchants and traders developed as the ideal life
-middle class active politically in regulating growth of cities and trade
-new nobility did not have old traditions to follow, therefore patriciates encouraged
new trends in art, literature and philosophy
-became patrons (guardians) for artists, writers and philosophers
-spread of renaissance ideas enabled by the printing press
-Medici (1434) family ruled the city for 300 years
-Medici family also patrons of the arts
-heavily supported artists such as Botticelli (Adoration of the Magi, Venus)
and Michelangelo [David, Sistine chapel (Creation of Adam)]
Art and Architecture:
-urban planning began for cities
-patriciates hired architects to design new palaces and mansions
-also patrons to artists and sculptors to fill these homes with artworks
-artist also hired by churches to produce religious artwork as well
-most art developed from Greek and Roman ideas
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519):
-gifted painter, sculptor, inventor, engineer, mathematician
-influenced others who admired his greatness as a well rounded genius
-Mona Lisa, The Last Supper
Michelangelo (1475-1564):
-excelled in painting, sculpting, architecture and poetry
-fused humanist and Christian ideas in his artwork
-David, Sistine Chapel