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World History (Unit 6, #4)
Name _______________________
Date _______________ Pd ______
The Renaissance—Life in Florence
STATION 1: Trade in the Renaissance—Trace the growth of trade
during the High Middle Ages and Renaissance
1. Who did Italian merchants trade with during the High
Middle Ages & Renaissance?
2. What “luxury” products did merchants bring to Italy?
3. How might the growth of trade in Europe help bring about
the rise of the Renaissance in Italy?
STATION 2: Population Changes in the Renaissance—Use the data
1. Which city-state had the most people by 1600?
provided to chart the population changes in 3 Italian city-states
2. Which city-state had the largest population growth from
3. What trend do all these Italian city-states have in common?
STATION 3: Classical, Middle Ages, &. Renaissance Art—Examine
the chart and images provided to answer each question below
Identify each as “Classical,” “Medieval,” or
“Renaissance” (Each sentence may describe
or Medieval
more than 1 style)
________ 1. Figures in art look perfect, realistic
________ 2. Art was used to teach people about 1. ______
the Catholic Church
________ 3. Gold was often the main color used
2. ______
________ 4. Backgrounds were deep & used
perspective to show distance
3. ______
________ 5. Stain-glassed windows
________ 6. Did not show emotion
________ 7. Showed important people, not
4. ______
ordinary daily life
________ 8. Showed nudity
5. ______
________ 9. Showed people moving
________ 10. Art showed religious themes
________ 11. Used light to show depth
STATION 4: Architecture in the Renaissance—Carefully read
the description of Il Duomo and answer they questions. Then as
a team, follow the directions to construct a human dome.
What is a “copula”?
What contest did Brunelleschi win?
3. Why didn’t your human dome
4. Why didn’t Brunelleschi’s dome
STATION 5: Social Classes in the Renaissance—Examine the
reading and complete the chart below
1. Who are the “new rich” in Florence?
Who are the “grandi”?
Who are the “popolo grassi”?
2. Which group (in your opinion) most deserves to rule over
the people of Florence
Who is the “middle class”?
Who are the “working class”?
3. How is the social structure during the Renaissance different
from the social structure of the Middle Ages?
STATION 6: Middle Ages vs. Renaissance Outlook on Life—Read and use the information to complete the thought of each person .
I think…
Peasant in the
Middle Ages
Renaissance Man
I feel…
I feel…
I see…
STATION 7: Leonardo da Vinci—Leonardo was a great artist &
inventor. Guess what each of inventions is. Confirm your answers
by looking on the back (Remember, Leonardo wrote backwards!!)
A. What do you think it is? (Confirm your answer)
B. What do you think it is? (Confirm your answer)
I think…
I see…
STATION 8: The Medici Family—Read the biography on the
Medici Family and answer the questions below.
1. What gave the Medici Family so much power?
2. Why did helping Cossa turn out to be a great thing for the
Medici family?
What do you think it is? (Confirm your answer)
3. What did Cosimo encourage Giovanni to do with some of
the Medici family’s money?
In the space below, do a sketch of an invention that could be used
to help kids study their textbook as they walk to class.
4. Why do you think Cosimo was considered the “Godfather of
the Renaissance”?
Middle Ages vs. Renaissance Art
The construction of the cupola of the Cathedral was one of the most imposing tasks of the Renaissance, it
kept the Florentines engaged in debates and competitions for years but, once it was completed, thanks to the
genius of Filippo Brunelleschi, it became the symbol of the city itself and the new, revolutionary
Renaissance architecture. Arnolfo's project for Santa Maria del Fiore, which became even more imposing
with Francesco Talenti's modifications, had left the basilica with an enormous problem, that of closing the
chancel with a roof. Arnolfo's project certainly included a cupola, but a low one, similar to some of the
Byzantine-type spherical coverings that can still be seen today in southern Italy: a virtual portrayal of it is
shown in the fresco in the Spanish Chapel in Santa Maria Novella, carried out in 1365-67, where the
Cathedral is shown with a strange cupola which never actually existed. In the end, the cathedral was so
enormous that the usual methods of fixed scaffolding from the ground could not be used. After all, it seemed
quite impossible to roof over a space of 45,5 metres in diameter without some sort of reinforcement.
Axonometric drawing and section of the Cupola
The challenge was resolved by Brunelleschi, expert in the rules of perspective
and mathematics, as well as being a real enthusiast for the construction
techniques used by the ancient Romans. He got his final inspiration from an
attentive study of the cupola of the Pantheon, which had also been carried out
without scaffolding and with a double wall. When he returned to Florence, the artist suggested that a drum be
built above the chancel and then, when this structure was complete (in actual fact making it even more
complicated to construct the cupola), he returned to Rome, chased by desperate messages from the Opera del
Duomo. Eventually he suggested announcing a competition for the project of a cupola with the following
requisites: it had to be octagonal, measure 46 metres in diameter at the base, be built without scaffolding and
appear to be at least double in size: he was quite sure that he would win.
The drum of the
Cupola without marble
The competition was held in 1418 and Brunelleschi won it outright, but the directors of
the Opera del Duomo stipulated that Lorenzo Ghiberti (who had already managed to
snatch the commission from him for the north door of the Baptistery) should collaborate
as overseer for the work. The artist was so offended that he nearly destroyed his model (the
same one that we can see today in the Museum of the Opera del Duomo); his friends
Donatello and Luca della Robbiainstead advised him to pretend he was ill and leave all
the responsibility to Ghiberti. He followed their advice and Ghiberti soon came to a
standstill and had to admit that he was incapable of understanding the project and going ahead with the work.
Side view of the Cathedral
Having won a victory over his rival, Brunelleschi started the
construction in 1420 and spent the rest of his life working on it, although
in the meantime he did design other monuments that were to be a basic
part of the profile of Renaissance Florence. The final structure that he
elaborated and completed consisted in a double cupola of brick, laid herring-bone fashion, 91 metres high,
completely self-supporting and based on an unusual system of flying rather than fixed centerings (which
would of course have been impossible because of the size). The exterior of the cupola, with domical vaults
and stone ribs at the corners, appeared much larger and "blown up" than the
interior, however it reproduced the same pointed arch profile to perfection.
The Lantern on top of the Cupola
The "Cupolone" or great cupola (as the Florentines have called it ever since)
was completed in 1434. Two years later the lantern was placed in position
(taking it from 91 to 114,5 metres in total height), while the four tribunes
occupying the spaces created by the projections in the octagon of the apse were carried out in 1438. The
decorations in the lantern were finished by 1446, when the great architect was on his deathbed. The finishing
touches included the application of the decorations in the lantern (1461) and the positioning of the great
copper sphere on the top (1474). Cast in Verrocchio's workshop and raised up thanks to a machine that was
built with the help of Leonardo da Vinci, the ball fell off after being struck by lightning on July 17th 1600
and was replaced two years later by a larger one. A marble plaque commemorating the event is still visible
on the paving in the square behind the Cathedral.
Baccio d'Agnolo's
unfinished balustrade
The decoration of the gallery around the drum was never finished: the balustrade
designed by Baccio d'Agnoloand carried out on only one side of the octagon, did
not meet with the approval of Michelangelo who, defining it "a cage for
crickets", decreed its final condemnation. Brunelleschi's model was later to be
copied by Michelangelo for the cupola of St. Peter's in Rome. Tourists will find
the visit to the cupola really spectacular: although the climb up is somewhat tiring
(463 steps), it is extremely interesting for understanding the method the architect used to build it while also
giving a wonderful view over the city. It is also possible to stop in the interior of the dome on the way up to
see the frescoes of the Last Judgement by Giorgio Vasari and Federico Zucchari from closer at hand.
Social Classes in the Renaissance
Within Renaissance city states like Florence, competition among different
social classes was intense. There were four major social groups in Florence,
which is relatively representative of other city-states in Italy at the time.
Those social classes included:
1. The grandi—the “old money” nobles who had moved into the city to
take part in its growing wealth and prestige. These families were old,
and used to ruling. They saw it as their birthright to be the rulers of
the city, and believed that only their experience would be effective in
managing the people of Florence.
2. The popolo grasso—Florence’s “new rich”—bankers, merchants,
traders, saw themselves as the legitimate rulers because it was their
money and activities that had contributed to the growing wealth of
the city, and they employed most people in Florence. Therefore, they
thought they should run the place.
3. The shopkeepers, artisans, and small traders—because they were the
largest group of business people, who controlled trade inside the city,
had contact on a daily basis with the most citizens of Florence, and as
a group processed huge sums of money, saw themselves as the true
local leaders. Their interests were local, their business was local, their
customers were local, and their money was local. This made them, in
their own eyes, the ultimate citizens of Florence and, therefore, they
felt they should lead.
4. Working class—These people made up the 30,000 textile workers of
Florence, as well as supplying labor in other industries, including the
spice, silk, and porcelain trades run by the grandi and the popolo
grasso. These people felt that, as the biggest single segment of the
population, and as the engines of the economy (without labor,
everything would shut down) they should be the leaders of Florence.
Population Changes in Renaissance (1300 to 1600)
During the High Middle Ages and Renaissance, European citystates began to undergo significant population changes. The
northern Italian city-states of Florence, Venice, and Rome are
excellent examples. Use the information in the chart below to
complete the table o your handout. You will plot the population
for each city from 1300 to 1600. It would be advisable to use
three different colors on this chart, one for each city-state.
When finished, answer the questions provided.
Middle Ages vs. Renaissance—Outlook on Life
Outlook on life:
Middle Ages: During the tough times of the Middle Ages, most Western Europeans
were focused on their Roman Catholic religion and the afterlife. They lived their
lives according to the rules of the Catholic Church in hopes of reaching Heaven when
they died.
Renaissance: By the 1300’s, especially in Italy, a shift had taken place. People were
more focused on enjoying their lives while they were on Earth, although most
people still practiced Roman Catholicism. Artists, writers and other individuals were
eager to be known and remembered as individuals. Fame became a reward for
talent and wealth. Wealthy merchants were willing and able to spend money on
portraits of themselves or relatives. Autobiographies began to be written because
people believed that their lives were interesting and important not just to
themselves, but to others.
Middle Ages: The Middle Ages are often referred to as the Dark Ages. This is how
the scholars of the Renaissance viewed the Middle Ages. They thought that
Western Europe has been living in darkness and ignorance since the fall of the
Roman Empire. Many people had forgotten how to read and write. Priests and
monks were typically the most educated people because they operated schools,
maintained libraries and copied books.
Renaissance: Humanists during the Renaissance loved and studied the writings of
ancient Greece and Rome. They believed in the potential of all humans and that
education was the way to enable people to reach their full potential. Renaissance
artists and thinkers wanted to learn more about the world around them, including
the human body and how it worked
Middle Ages: In the Middle Ages, devoutly religious people proved their devotion to
their religion by wearing poor, rough clothing and living on the plainest foods. This
was modeled by the monks living in monasteries.
Renaissance: Humanists suggested that a person might love and enjoy life without
offending God. In Renaissance Italy, almost everyone with money openly enjoyed
luxurious fabrics, fine music, tasty foods and beautiful surroundings; in fact, clothing
itself became a work of art.
Trade in the Renaissance
Leonardo da Vinci’s Inventions #1
Leonardo da Vinci’s Inventions #1
Leonardo da Vinci’s Inventions #2
Leonardo da Vinci’s Inventions #2
Leonardo da Vinci’s Inventions #3
Leonardo da Vinci’s Inventions #3
The powerful Medici Family
Giovanni Medici was born but his cousin Vieri gave him a job in the family
business, the Medici Bank. Giovanni ran the Rome branch of the Medici
Bank so well that he took over the entire enterprise when Vieri retired.
Giovanni chose his banking clients carefully; he demanded loyalty, as well
as profit. In 1410, Giovanni Medici helped an old friend (and former pirate),
Baldassare Cossa, become Pope of the Roman Catholic Church. When
Cossa became Pope (Pope John XXIII), he gave the Medici Bank full
authority to handle the money of the Roman Catholic Church. Giovanni
became “God’s banker” and grew very powerful.
Giovanni’s son, Cosimo de Medici, was
trained in banking from a young age.
Unlike his father, Cosimo was more
eager to learn about things other than
banking. As a young man he attended
lectures in classical philosophy and
literature and became one of the first
generation of Humanists.
encouraged his father to invest their
wealth in art projects to benefit the city
of Florence.
After his father’s death, Cosimo
assumed leadership of the Medici Bank.
He used his wealth and power to rule
Florence. In addition, Cosimo invested
in art and learning, helping transform Florentine into the leading
Renaissance city. During his lifetime, he commissioned artists such as Lippi,
Donatello, Michelozzo and Gozzoli to create magnificent works of art to
show off the wealth of Florence but also his power as ruler of the city.
Cosimo’s power made him the “Godfather of the Renaissance. “
1. Have the students stand in a circle around a ball. The students
should all place their fingertips on the ball and lift it, leaning in toward
the center of the circle and sliding their feet back.
2. Reach into the center and push down gently on the ball. Ask: Where
could the dome use more support? (Adding a few seated students as
buttresses at the base of each "rib" of the dome will help the dome
support more compression. As in an arch, the buttresses exert an
inward force on the sides of the dome that balances the outward force
created by the load pressing down on the top of the arch.)