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The Renaissance
The Renaissance began in Italy
What made Italy so special?
1. Italy was the center of trade between
northern Europe and Asia.
2. It was the center of Greco-Roman culture
3. It was the center of the Catholic Church.
The Beginning
• The term Renaissance means
“rebirth” in Latin
• It was the rebirth of art and
• It was influenced by very
powerful and wealthy families
such as the Medici Family
• The Medici’s were bankers from
Florence, Italy
• The families gave financial
support to various artists.
Characteristics of the Renaissance
Humanism (study of classical works)
Questioning Attitude
Interest in secular, or non-religious
• Rise of the middle class (with
disposable income)
• Great achievements in the arts
• Humanism is the idea that is focused on
human achievements and potential rather
than religious themes
• Focused on the man and his world
• Concentrated on everyday human problems
and relationships
• Humanists focus on pleasure rather than
• The secular nature of humanism, as well as its
questioning attitude, often brought it into
conflict with the traditional teachings of the
Catholic Church and Medieval thinking
Medieval Art vs Renaissance Art
can you tell the difference?
Medieval Art
• unrealistic
• two-dimensional
• indicates the importance of the soul over the
Renaissance Art
• Used oil paints
• 3-dimensional (3D)
• Realistic, lifelike, facial
expressions show thought,
reflect increased knowledge
of human anatomy
• Full backgrounds show
Renaissance Artists
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
• Da Vinci was
considered a
“Renaissance Man”
–He was a painter,
sculptor, inventor
and a scientist.
The Last Supper
The Mona Lisa
Other Works…
Raphael’s School of Athens
Sistene Chapel
John the Baptist
Renaissance Writers
• Began to use the vernacular instead of
classical Latin
• Machiavelli
– Was a political philosopher
– Wrote The Prince, a guidebook for kings
on how to rule their lands
– In Machiavelli’s way of thinking,
the end justifies the means.
The Renaissance Moves North
• Because of the plague and
Hundred Years War, it was
not until 1450 that northern
Europe began to enjoy
economic growth that helped
support the Renaissance in
• Northern artists and writers
imitated Italian styles while
adding new methods and
ideas of their own
Humanism in Northern Europe
• Northern humanists, aka
Christian Humanists, stressed
education and classical
learning in order to be a more
pious (devout; religious) individual.
• They believed that the revival
in learning should be used to
bring about religious and
moral reform (change)
• The most famous Christian Humanist
• He wrote The Praise of Folly poking fun at
society of the time
• He believed that in order to improve society,
all people should study the bible because
Christianity was more than just ceremonies
and rules
Sir Thomas More
• Wrote the book Utopia about a perfect society
where there is no greed, corruption or war
and little use for money.
• Ironic because Utopia means “no place” in
The Elizabethan Age
• Queen Elizabeth came to power
in England in the mid 1500s.
• She was well educated and well
–spoken (she spoke French,
Italian, Latin, and Greek)
• She was a HUGE patron of the
arts and did much to support the
development of English art and
Northern Renaissance Writers
• Shakespeare
– Best known Renaissance writer (Elizabethan Age)
– Between 1590 and 1613 ( __ years), he wrote 37
plays that are still performed around the world today
Northern Renaissance Writers
• Miguel Cervantes
– Wrote Don Quixote, considered the first modern
European novel
The Printing Press
• In 1456, Johann
Gutenberg printed the
Bible using moveable
metal type on a machine
called the Printing Press
Prior to the
printing press
Effect of the Printing Press
• Printed books became cheap and easier to
produce that hand copies
• Now readers gained access to a broad
range of knowledge (from Medicine to Religion)
• The Printing Press greatly contributed to the
Protestant Reformation and to the age of