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Ancient Rome to 1700’s
Augustus-first Roman emperor
Pax Romana-peace in Rome for over 200 years.
Accomplishments: written laws, aqueducts,
roads, and bridges.
Hundreds of years of warfare followed Pax
Romana. Western empire gradually broke
Christian faith-as the empire fell apart, the
people of Europe drew strength from
Christianity. In such dark times, faith was like
a welcoming light.
Feudalism-a way to organize society when there
is no central government.
Lords ruled the local areas. Lords swore loyalty
to king.
Lord owned land called a manor. Crops, taxes,
maintained order and enforced laws, protected
the serfs (people who lived and worked on the
The Renaissance was a time when creative
thinking and new technology helped people to
more accurately understand their world.
Renaissance thinkers explored new worlds and
reexamined old ones. Humanists based their
studies on the classical cultures of Greece and
Changes in Society
-1300, Black Death, starvation, warfare had
overtaken Europe
events, enormous loss of life may
have led to changes of the 1300s
in population led to:
Increase in food production
Decline in food prices
More money to spend
Specialization in products
new age had dawned in Western Europe,
given expression by remarkable artists and
Europeans called this age the Renaissance,
meaning “rebirth.”
It began in the 1300s and reached its peak
around 1500.
 The
Renaissance marked the transition from
medieval times to the early modern world.
A. changing world view
1. Reawakened interest in classical Greece and Rome
2. New emphasis on human experience and Individual
B. A spirit of Adventure
1. Looked at universe in new ways
2. Experimented with new forms and techniques
C. The Growth of humanism
1. Study of classical Greece and Rome to understand
their own times
2. Emphasis on humanities- Rhetoric, poetry, and
During the Renaissance, creative minds set out to transform
their own age.
Their era, they felt, was a time of rebirth after what they saw as
the disorder and disunity of the medieval world.
Renaissance thinkers had a reawakened interest in the
classical learning of Greece and Rome, which medieval
scholars had preserved.
They continued to use Latin as the language of the Church as
well as for scholarship.
 Yet they produced new attitudes toward culture and learning.
 Medieval scholars had focused more on religious beliefs and
 In contrast, Renaissance thinkers explored the richness and variety
of human experience in the here and now.
At the same time, society placed a new emphasis on
individual achievement. Indeed, the Renaissance ideal was a
person with talents in many fields.
 The
Renaissance supported a spirit of
adventure and a wide-ranging curiosity that
led people to explore new worlds or to
reexamine old ones.
 In
Navigators who sailed across the ocean,
scientists who looked at the universe in new
ways, and writers and artists who experimented
with new forms and techniques all shared that
part, that spirit of adventure came from a
new view of man himself.
As Italian thinker Pico della Mirandola asserted
in 1486:
“To [man] it is granted to have whatever he chooses,
to be whatever he wills.”
Italy: The Cradle of the Renaissance
 The Renaissance started in Italy and spread
throughout Europe. The Roman Catholic
Church and merchants who had grown rich
from trade financed the creation of works of
II. Italy: Cradle of Renaissance
Italy’s history and geography
Rome the seat of Catholic Church, an
important patron of the arts
Location encouraged trade with markets in
Mediterranean and Africa
Center of the Roman Empire
B. Italy’s vibrant city-states
Each city- state controlled by a powerful
family and dominated by wealthy
Florence was a symbol of the energy and
brilliance of the Italian Renaissance
At the heart of the Italian Renaissance was an
intellectual movement known as humanism.
Humanists studied the classical culture of Greece and Rome,
but used that study to increase their understanding of their
own times.
Though most humanists were pious Christians,
they focused on worldly subjects rather than on
the religious issues that had occupied medieval
Humanists believed that education should stimulate the
individual’s creative powers.
 They emphasized the humanities
subjects such as grammar, rhetoric (the study of using
language effectively), poetry, and history—that had
been taught in ancient Greek and Roman schools.
Interest in ancient Greek,
Roman culture
Characteristics of good
Scholastic education gave way
to classics: rhetoric, grammar,
poetry, history, Latin, Greek
Subjects came to be known as
humanities, movement they
inspired known as humanism
Humanists emphasized
individual accomplishment
Roots traced to work of Dante;
work contained glimpses of what
would become focus on human
Historians believe Renaissance
began with two humanists who
lived after Dante—Giovanni
Boccaccio, Francesco Petrarch
Both wrote literature in everyday
language not Latin
Advances were made in
medicine, as well as astronomy
 Francesco
Petrarch, a Florentine who lived
in the 1300s, was an early Renaissance
humanist, poet, and scholar.
He assembled a library of Greek and Roman
manuscripts in monasteries and churches.
In later years his efforts and those of others
encouraged by his example enabled the works of
Cicero, Homer, and Virgil to again become
known to Western Europeans.
 Italy’s
location encouraged trade with welldeveloped markets on the eastern
Mediterranean and in northern Africa, as
well as in northern Europe.
Ships carrying a great variety of goods docked at Italy’s
many ports.
Extensive banking, manufacturing, and merchant
networks developed to support trade.
 While
trade declined throughout most of
Europe during the Middle Ages, it remained
strong in Italy.
Trade provided the wealth that fueled Italy’s Renaissance.
Trade routes also carried new ideas, important in shaping
the Renaissance.
 Unlike
the kingdoms of most of the rest of
Europe, Italy was divided into many small
Each Italian city-state was controlled by a
powerful family and dominated by a wealthy
and powerful merchant class.
These merchant families exerted both political
and economic leadership, and their interest in art
and emphasis on personal achievement helped
to shape the Italian Renaissance.
With access to sea, Venice built
economy, reputation on trade
Had long history of trading
with other ports on
Mediterranean Sea
Shipbuilding prospered, sailors
traveled to Near East
Wealthy Venetian merchants
built unique city, “work of art”
Milan, Florence
Milan, west of Venice, based
economy on agriculture, silk,
Florence, to south, famous for
banking, cloth
Monarchs appealed to
Florentine bankers for money to
fund wars
Merchants refined raw wool
into fine cloth
Bankers, merchants created city
to rival any in Europe
The Medici family of Florence, for example, ranked among the
richest merchants and bankers in Europe.
Cosimo de’ Medici gained control of the Florentine government in 1434,
and the family continued as uncrowned rulers of the city for many years.
 Cosimo’s grandson Lorenzo, known as “the Magnificent,” represented
the Renaissance ideal.
 A clever politician, he held Florence together during difficult times in the late
 He was also a generous patron, or financial supporter, of the arts. At Lorenzos
invitation, poets and philosophers frequently visited the Medici palace.
 Artists learned their craft by sketching ancient Roman statues displayed in the
Medici gardens.
The Medicis’ great wealth and influence transformed Florence.
Perhaps more than any other city, it came to symbolize the energy
and brilliance of the Italian Renaissance.
Like the ancient city of Athens, it produced a dazzling number of gifted
poets, artists, architects, scholars, and scientists in a relatively short span
of time.
Early 1500s life in Italy seemed insecure, precarious
Church no longer served as source of stability, peace
Form of humanism developed from Petrarch’s ideas; focus was
secular, was worldly rather than spiritual
Renaissance Man
• Humanists argued that
individual achievement,
education could be fully
expressed only if people
used talents, abilities in
service of cities.
• Ideal Renaissance man
came to be “universal
man,” accomplished in
classics, but also man of
action, who could
respond to all situations.
How to Act
• Italian diplomat Baldassare Castiglione wrote book, The Courtier
• Described how perfect Renaissance gentleman, gentlewoman should act
• Book includes fictional conversation between duke, guests
Castiglione’s Advice
• Castiglione gave nobles new rules for refined behavior in humanist society
• Speak of serious, as well of amusing subjects; know Latin, Greek
• Be well-acquainted with poetry, history; be able to write prose, poetry
How to Rule
• Philosopher, statesman Niccolò Machiavelli also wrote influential book
• Experiences with violent politics influenced opinions on how governments should
rule in The Prince
Niccolo Machiavelli
-- “The Prince”
The goal of the prince
must be power
Cynical view of
human nature
Fear is a better
motivator than
Politics as the art of
Machiavellian advice seemed to encourage harsh
treatment of citizens, rival states
 Describes
 Advises
men as “ungrateful, fickle, liars, and deceivers”
rulers to separate morals from politics
Power, ruthlessness more useful than idealism
Ruler must do whatever necessary to maintain political power,
even if cruel
 Machiavelli’s
theory that “the end justifies the means”
deviated from accepted views of correct behavior
 Idea
that state an entity in itself, separate from its ruler,
became foundation for later political philosophy
Scientific Information
• Humanists searched archives, Arab
translations for classical texts
• Discovered wealth of scientific
Scientific Challenges
Natural World
• Focus of Renaissance on human
sciences, history, politics,
• New ideas about natural world
began to be explored also
Earth, Sun
• Science soon became important
avenue of inquiry
• Nicholas Copernicus said Sun was
center of universe
• Church’s teachings about world
were challenged, particularly that
Earth center of universe
• Galileo Galilei arrested by church
officials for saying Earth orbited
Renaissance art and artists flower
Reflecting humanist thought
Portrayed well-known figures of the day
Revived many classical forms
B. New artistic techniques
Invented perspective
Drew From live models
C. Architecture became a “social art”
Meant to blend beauty with utility and
improvement of society
Adopted columns, arches and domes
favored by Greeks and Romans
The arts a reflection of the new humanist spirit
Medieval artists—idealized and symbolic representations
Renaissance artists depicted what they observed in nature
Patrons of the Arts
• Medieval times, anonymous artists who
worked for church created art
• Renaissance artists worked for whoever
offered them highest price
• Buyers of art, patrons, might be wealthy
individuals, city governments, or church
• Profit-making became more important than
Church doctrine
Competition Among Patrons
• Wealthy individuals competed,
displaying wealth, modernity through
purchase of artworks
• Florence, Lorenzo de Medici
supported most talented artists
• Milan, ruling Sforza family benefactors
of artists, others
• To overcome guilt, profit-makers indulge in
Renaissance artists wanted to paint the natural world as
realistically as possible.
Artists Methods
• Studied perspective,
represented threedimensional objects
• Experimented with using
color to portray shapes,
• Subject matter changed;
artists began to paint, sculpt
scenes from Greek, Roman
Classical Influence
• Religious paintings focused
on personality
• Humanist interest in classical
learning, human nature
• Building design reflected
humanist reverence for
Greek, Roman culture
• Classical architecture
Art started to focus on the
Humanism- studied the
classical culture of Greece
and Rome to understand
their own time.
Focused on worldly
subjects rather than on the
Religious Issues
Humanities- subjects such
as grammar, rhetoric (the
study of using language
effectively), poetry, and
Focus on man’s free will
The depiction of
Imitation of nature
was a primary goal
Pagan scenes and
myths were
popular subjects
with no apologies
to the Church
Boticelli’s “Birth of Venus”
Status of artist is elevated
to cultural hero
Renaissance art stressed
proportion, balance and
harmony—and was not
Artistic problems of
perspective and
composition addressed
Artists started emphasizing the
mathematical side of painting
--Brunelleschi’s “linear
Linear perspective is a
mathematical system for
creating the illusion of space and
distance on a flat surface. The
system originated in Florence,
Italy in the early 1400s. The
artist and architect Brunelleschi
demonstrated its principles, but
another architect and writer,
Leon Battista Alberti was first to
write down rules of linear
perspective for artists to follow
Innovations in Renaissance
The Big Renaissance Artist, Painters, and
Raphael (1483-1520)
Man of great
sensitivity and
Died at the age of 37
“The School of
Famous for frescoes
in the Vatican Palace
A few years younger than Michelangelo, Raphael (1483–
1520) was widely admired both for his artistic talent and
“his sweet and gracious nature.”
 Raphael studied the works of the great masters but
developed his own style of painting that blended Christian
and classical styles.
He is probably best known for his tender portrayals of
the Madonna, the mother of Jesus.
In The School of Athens, Raphael pictured an imaginary
gathering of great thinkers and scientists, including
Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, and the Arab philosopher
With typical Renaissance self-confidence, Raphael
included the faces of Michelangelo, Leonardo—and
Leonardo Da Vinci
True Renaissance
Scientist, inventor,
engineer and
Dissected Corpses
Short attention span
Artist Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) had an endless curiosity
that fed a genius for invention.
 He made sketches of nature and of models in his studio, and
dissected corpses to learn how bones and muscles work.
 As a result, Leonardo’s paintings grip people with their realism.
 The Mona Lisa is a portrait of a woman whose mysterious smile has
baffled viewers for centuries.
 The Last Supper, showing Jesus and his apostles on the night before the
crucifixion, is both a moving religious painting and a masterpiece of
perspective. Because Leonardo experimented with a new type of paint,
much of The Last Supper decayed over the years. However, it has recently
been restored.
Leonardo thought of himself as an artist. Yet his talents and
accomplishments ranged over many areas, including botany,
anatomy, optics, music, architecture, and engineering.
 He made sketches for flying machines and undersea boats
centuries before the first airplane or submarine was actually built.
 Though most of his paintings are lost today, his many notebooks
survive as a testament to his genius and creativity.
Ceiling of the
Sistine Chapel
Conflict with Pope
Julius II
Incredible energy
and endurance
 Artist
Michelangelo (1475–1564), like
Leonardo, had many talents—he was a
sculptor, engineer, painter, architect, and
 Michelangelo has been called a “melancholy genius”
because his work reflects his many life-long spiritual
and artistic struggles.
 In
his twenties, he created masterpieces
such as David and the Pietà marble.
 The Pietà which captures the sorrow of the Biblical
Mary as she cradles her dead son Jesus on her knees.
 Michelangelo’s heroic statue of David, the Biblical
shepherd who killed the giant Goliath, recalls the
harmony and grace of ancient Greek tradition.
More Michelangelo
One of Michelangelo’s greatest projects was
painting a series of huge murals to decorate
the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in Rome.
The enormous task, which took four years to
complete and left the artist partially crippled,
depicted the biblical history of the world from
the Creation to the Flood.
Michelangelo was also a talented architect. His
most famous design was for the dome of St.
Peter’s Cathedral in Rome.
 It
served as a model for many later structures, including
the United States Capitol building in Washington, D.C
The significance of
Gutenberg’s printing
Explosion of printed
--By 1500, 40,000 titles
printed and between 810 million copies
The impact of movabletype printing presses:
research and literacy
Popular publications
in the early days of
the printing press
Thomas More
--Executed by Henry
VIII in 1535
Christian Humanist
William Shakespeare
--Globe Theater
Shakespeare returns to
classical subjects and
His history plays were
the most popular at
the time
Macbeth: ambition
Hamlet: individualism
Keen sensitivity to
sounds and meanings
of words
How was the worldview of the Renaissance
different from the worldview of the Middle
How did humanism influence Renaissance
painting and sculpture?
Who was Petrarch, why is he influential?
What are the Humanities?
Of the five artists we have studied, who do you
think was the most influential to the
Renaissance? Why?