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Chapter 1
European Renaissance and
Reformation, 1300-1600
Italy: Birthplace of the Renaissance
-During the Middle Ages people had turned to God and the
church to help them through war and plague
-Those who survived wanted a less strict life and began to
question the church and their teaching
-The Renaissance was a period in which art and learning were
-It began in Italy due to thriving cities, wealthy merchants,
and the heritage left by Greece and Rome
-Northern Europe lagged behind this rebirth because
England and France were still involved in the
Hundred Years War
-In Italy, urban centers (cities) grew as trade
increased after the Crusades
-The Bubonic Plague hit these cities hard, but
surviving workers could demand high wages due to
low population, therefore gaining more wealth
-The merchant (business) class became the
most powerful class in Europe
-The Medici family dominated Florence by
using their money to influence everyday life
in the city-state; eventually ruling as a
-With the fall of Constantinople in 1453,
scholars fled to Rome with ancient text that
helped in the rediscovery of classic Greek
and Roman ideas
-Renaissance thinkers began to focus on humanism:
a persons potential and achievements. Humanists
wanted studied classical texts to understand
Greek values, this influenced artists and
architects to carry on classical traditions, and
popularized the study of classical education:
History, literature and philosophy.
 Instead of wearing rough clothing and eating the plainest
foods, Humanists felt that people could enjoy life without
offending god.
 Living to the fullest now became a priority across
Renaissance Italy: luxuries, fine music and taste food.
This took place even took place within the church.
 Most people remained devout Catholics, but the spirit of
Renaissance society was Secular: Worldly and Concerned
with the here and now
 Church leader and other wealthy merchant paid huge
sums of money to have artist paint frescos and create
sculptures that reflected the time period. They also lived
in mansions had lavish banquets and expensive clothes.
 Renaissance Men were considered those with many varied
talents and high intelligence. (A man who excelled in many
 In a book called The Courtier: A young man should be
charming, witty, educated in the classics. He should
dance, sing, play music, write poetry. Be a skillful rider,
wrestler, Swordsman.
 Michelangelo looked to glorify the human body and created
many religious based works of art, evident in his statue
David, showed both classical and Christian ideas in painting
the Sistine Chapel
-Donatello looked to create realistic and natural
postures to reveal personality
-Painter Masaccio discovered the technique of
perspective or three dimension was another
element in Renaissance art
-Leonardo da Vinci was a painter, sculptor,
inventor, and scientist
-Studied the movement of muscles and how
flight was possible
-Painted the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper
-Raphael created many great works for Pope
Julius II
-Dante was one of the first writers to use the
vernacular or his native language in writing
-Petrarch used poetry and sonnets to explore
human nature and love
-Machiavelli’s The Prince serves as a political
guidebook for rulers of the time
-Wrote that rulers must be strong but clever,
they should not be concerned with what is
morally right, but with what is politically
-Women writers were also accepted in
Italian society