Make your own free website on

Renaissance 1300-1600

Main Idea: European Renaissance, a rebirth of learning and the arts, began in Italy in the 1300s.


I.                 Italy—begins in the North

A.   Advantages

1.    urban centers: thriving cities

a      spurred by Crusades

b      bubonic plague

2.    wealthy merchant class: wealth and power

a      Medici family supported the arts

3.    Revival of the Classics: Greek & Roman

a      ruins

b      Latin & Greek manuscripts

B.   Values

1.    Humanism: focus on human potential & achievements

a      study history, literature, philosophy

2.    basic spirit: secular-worldly & concerned with the “here & now”

a      enjoy life without offending God; devout Catholics

3.    Patrons of arts: popes & merchants

4.    Renaissance individual: excels in many fields

a      Baldassare Castiglione: The Courtier (1528)

b      women: upper-class, well-educated but lack power

C.   Art

1.    Subjects: religious, Greek & Roman

2.    New techniques

a      more realistic: Donatello—David

b      perspective (three dimension): Masaccio

3.    Leonardo da Vinci: true Renaissance man

a      painter, sculptor, inventor, scientist

b      “how things work”

c       Famous works: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper

4.    Michelangelo Buonarroti: Renaissance man

a      painter, sculptor, architect, poet

b      most famous for his portrayal of the human body

c       Famous works: St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel (1512), David (1504)

D.  Literature

1.    Changes

a      vernacular style

b      wrote for self-expression or to portray the individuality of subjects

2.    Francesco Petrarch: early humanist; wrote poetry

3.    Boccaccio: stories expose follies of human nature with sarcasm; Decameron

4.    Niccolo Machiavelli: political guidebook for rulers; The Prince (1513)

5.    Women writers: wrote about personal subjects, not politics