Renaissance Notes

World History, November 2014

Why did the Renaissance start in Italy?

Italy an the center of the Roman Empire. Culture was reawaken from remnants of architecture, statues and inscriptions.
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Who were the Medici family?

The Medici family came into power in 1434. Their love of arts and humanities let Florence grow into the center of the Renaissance. They had an abundance of money which they put towards the arts.

What was the Renaissance?

  • A shift in thoughts: after the dark ages, peon celebrated rebirth. They had a new interest in culture. They were no longer preoccupied with life after death, but life before death. They tried to make their current lives as best as they could.


  • An openness to experimentation: The Renaissance sparked an interest in adventure. People were exploring new lands, inventing contraptions, and painting and sculpting.


  • A renewed interest in education: People began to get a better education. They continued to learn Latin. They also learned astronomy and mathematics, and made inventions.

Humanism - intellectual movement during the Renaissance, based on the study of classic culture.

What Greek and Roman ideals we reborn in the humanist tradition?

  • The subjects from during the times of Greece and Roman were taught.
  • Questioned past texts and thought for themselves.
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How was humanist thought reflected in Renaissance art?

Many of the painting were of well-known people, showing the value of achievement.

The 4 masters of the Italian Renaissance

  • Donatello- a famous Renaissance sculptor who lived in Florence.


  • Leonardo da Vinci- Born in 1492, he sketched and painted amazing pieces. He even dissected corpses to see how the body worked. He had ideas for today's inventions.


  • Michelangelo- Loved art. He was a painter, sculptor, and a poet.


  • Raphael- Studied Michelangelo and Leonardo's works. He blended classical and Christian styles of art.

How was Northern Renaissance art different than Italian Renaissance art?

  • Italian- paintings of mythology, religion
  • Northern- paintings of portraits, domestic interiors

Renaissance Authors

  • Machiavelli- Niccolo was a historian, philosopher, politician, and humanist. He lived in Florence.
  • Erasmus- Desiderius was a Catholic priest, teacher, and theologian. He lived in the Netherlands and wrote many works.
  • Castiglione- Baldassare was a prominent writer during the Renaissance. He was an Italian diplomat and lived in Toledo, Spain.
  • Petrarch- Francesco Petrarca was an Italian scholar and poet. He is often credited with starting the 14th century Renaissance.
  • More- Sir/Saint Thomas More was an English lawyer, philosopher, author, and humanist.
  • Rabelais- Francois Rabelais was a writer, doctor, humanist, monk, and Greek scholar. He lived in France for all 59 years of his life.
  • Shakespeare- William wrote over 154 sonnets in his life time as well as many plays. He is one of the most well-known authors of the Renaissance, and many of our common phrases today can be attributed to him.
  • Cervantes- Miguel de Cervantes was a Spanish novelist, poet, playwright.
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How did the printing press change Europe?

Obtaining books was now much easier. Before, they had to get hand-copied books from the church, which involved a lot of time and effort. Once books were easy to print, ideas spread faster and the literacy rate was rising.