The Italian Renaissance and Beyond: The Politics of Culture, 1350-1550

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The Italian Renaissance and Beyond: The Politics of Culture, 1350-1550. The West CHAPTER 11. The Renaissance Republics: Florence and Venice. Dynamic political and social life created an environment of competition and freedom
The Italian Renaissance and Beyond: The Politics of Culture, 1350-1550

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The italian renaissance and beyond the politics of culture 1350 1550Slide 1

The Italian Renaissance and Beyond: The Politics of Culture, 1350-1550

The West


The renaissance republics florence and veniceSlide 2

The Renaissance Republics: Florence and Venice

  • Dynamic political and social life created an environment of competition and freedom

  • Dominant patriciates competed for public recognition and fame, through patronage

  • Artistic and scholarly creativity fostered by competition between many patrons

Princes and courtiersSlide 3

Princes and Courtiers

  • Patronage confined to prince and his court

  • The ideal prince was a paternal figure: a warrior, a scholar, a diplomat and a generous patron - Frederico II da Montefeltro (1422-1482), Isabella d’Este (1474-1539)

  • Evolution of courtly manners based on the need to maintain appearance

  • The ideal courtier cultivated nonchalant ease - Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529)

The renaissance papacySlide 4

The Renaissance Papacy

  • The Renaissance pope was both priest and prince

  • Need to regain control of the Papal State

  • Political and military adventurism - Alexander VI (r. 1492-1503), Julius II (r. 1503-1513)

  • Transformation of Rome into a cultural capital - Leo X (r. 1513-1521)

The contradictions of the patriarchal familySlide 5

The Contradictions of the Patriarchal Family

  • Renaissance ideal of patriarchy - Leon Battista Alberti Four Books on the Family

  • Family was insecure and survival was often tenuous

  • In reality, families were matriarchal - fathers were often absent or remote

  • Cultivation of distinct family theme

Petrarch and the illustrious ancientsSlide 6

Petrarch and the Illustrious Ancients

  • Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374)

  • Distinguished the human reality of the ancients from the ideals of their writings

  • Distinguished the ancient world as a historically specific time and place, rather than as a repository of timeless wisdom

  • Philological approach to ancient texts, to discern particular meanings

The humanists the latin point of viewSlide 7

The Humanists: The Latin Point of View

  • A literary movement that resurrected the use of classical Latin

  • Employed as teachers, bureaucrats, courtiers and ambassadors

  • Promoted an education that taught critical thinking

  • Organized experience by recovering words, models and categories of classical Latin - the Latin Point of View

Understanding natureSlide 8

Understanding Nature

  • Humanist science looked to ancient texts, rather than to nature itself, for answers

  • In astronomy and anatomy, observation of nature provided knowledge that surpassed ancient learning

  • Application of mathematics, to art, advanced knowledge of optics

  • Invention of paper and the printing press - widened the distribution of new ideas and discoveries

Sculpture architecture and painting real and idealSlide 9

Sculpture, Architecture and Painting: Real and Ideal

  • Creativity fueled by desire to unite the ideal and the natural in art

  • Use of geometry and natural proportions to create harmony - linear perspective

  • Chiaroscuro (“light and shade”) - imitation of natural light in painting

  • New techniques of oil painting, to create depth

Music of the emotionsSlide 10

Music of the Emotions

  • Musical innovation was slower than artistic and literary developments

  • The Madrigal - musical expression of shades of meaning and emotion

  • Opera - continuous music to accompany a full drama

  • Opera became popular entertainment

Monarchies the foundation of the state systemSlide 11

Monarchies: The Foundation of the State System

  • Establishment of professional standing armies

  • Systematic expansion of taxation

  • Elimination or erosion of urban and regional autonomy

  • Constraint of aristocratic and clerical independence

  • Institution of sophisticated intelligence networks

FranceSlide 12


  • Guarantee of autonomy to French Church opened clerical revenues and offices to monarch’s exploitation

  • Consolidation of power over nobility

  • Institution of the taille - direct annual tax

  • Patronage of Italian art and scholarship

SpainSlide 13


  • Creation of a unified kingdom. through dynastic marriages

  • 1492: Completion of Spanish Reconquest

  • Suppression and expulsion of Jewish and Muslim minorities

  • Financing of westward exploration. to outflank Islamic caliphates and reach Asia

The holy roman empireSlide 14

The Holy Roman Empire

  • Highly decentralized. with few unifying institutions

  • Creation of a Supreme Court and an Imperial Council

  • Institution of graded income and property taxes

  • Emperor dependant upon cooperation of German nobility and cities

EnglandSlide 15


  • Civil war between feuding factions of the royal family, 1455-1485

  • Recovery and stability achieved under Tudor dynasty

  • Court of Star Chamber punished unruly nobility

  • Confiscation of lands and prohibition of private armies

Historical and political thoughtSlide 16

Historical and Political Thought

  • Key to understanding lay in the detail of human events

  • Francesco Guicciardini (1483-1540)

  • Refined understanding of historical causation with psychological interpretations

  • Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)

  • Developed ideas of political necessity and the obligation to preserve the state above all else

The politics of cultureSlide 17

The Politics of Culture

  • Attempt to re-fashion society on the model of ancient cultures

  • Development of a critical approach to past and present

  • Transformation of the Western identity, from one defined by Christianity to one based upon a common historical experience

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