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The Early Renaissance. Italy during the Renaissance. Europe during the Renaissance. Outline Chapter 12. Chapter 12: The Early Renaissance OUTLINE Toward the Renaissance The First Phase: Masaccio, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi The Medici Era Cosimo de' Medici Piero de' Medici

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The Early Renaissance

Italy during the Renaissance

Europe during the Renaissance

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Outline Chapter 12

Chapter 12: The Early Renaissance


Toward the Renaissance

The First Phase:

Masaccio, Ghiberti, Brunelleschi

The Medici Era

Cosimo de' Medici

Piero de' Medici

Lorenzo the Magnificent

The Character of Renaissance Humanism

Pico della Mirandola

Printing Technology and the

Spread of Humanism

Women and the Renaissance

Two Styles of Humanism



Music in the Fifteenth Century

Guillaume Dufay

Music in Medici Florence

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Timeline Chapter 12

Timeline Chapter 12: The Early Renaissance

1401 Ghiberti wins Florence Baptistry competition

1420 Brunelleschi begins Florence Cathedral Dome

1434 van Eyck, Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride

1435 Alberti, Della Pictura (On Painting)

1456 Gutenberg prints Bible with movable type

1469 Lorenzo de' Medici rules Florence (1469-1492)

1478-1482 Botticelli , Spring , (c.1478), The Birth of Venus (1482)

1486 Pico della Mirandola, Oration on the Dignity of Man(Renaissance Humanism )

1486-1487 Cereta's humanist letters

1489 Savonarola preaches against Florentine immorality (d. 1498)

1495-1498 Leonardo, Last Supper, Mona Lisa

1501-1504 Michelangelo, David

1509 Erasmus, The Praise of Folly

1513 Machiavelli, The Prince

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Focus on Florence

The main focus of this chapter is on the city of Florence in the

fifteenth century. There are two basic reasons for this attention,

one rooted in politics and economics and the other based

in the complex and varied human resources of the city.

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The Political and Economic Significance of Florence

Florence was not a feudal city governed by a hereditary prince; it had

a species of limited participatory government that was in the hands

of its landed and monied peoples. It was the center of European

banking in the fifteenth century and the hub of international wool and

cloth trade. The vast monies in Florentine hands combined with a great

sense of civic pride to give the city unparalleled opportunities for

expansion and public works. The results can be seen in the explosion

of building, art, sculpture, and learning that stretched throughout the

century. The great banking families of Florence built and supported

art to enhance their reputations, that of their cities, and, partly, as a

form of expiation for the sin of taking interest on money, a practice

forbidden by the church. We tend to see Florence today from the

perspective of their generosity.

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The Social Fabric of Florence

Other forces besides politics and economics in 15th century Florence were, of course, at work. The urban workers were exploited; they had rioted during the end of the fourteenth century and were ready for further protest. An undercurrent of medieval religiosity in the city manifested itself most conspicuously in the rise of Savonarola, who not only appealed to the common people but who had a reputation for sanctity that could touch the lives of an educated man like Pico della Mirandola and a powerful one like Lorenzo the Magnificent. Every Florentine could visit the Duomo or see the art in the city's churches, but not everyone was equally touched by the great renaissance in ideas and art that bubbled up in Florence.

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The Wealth of Artistic Talent in 15th Century Florence

Most puzzling about Florence in this period is the sheer enormity

of artistic talent it produced. Florence was not a huge city; it often

portrayed itself as a David in comparison to a Roman or Milanese

Goliath. Yet this relatively small city produced a tradition of art that

spanned the century: In sculpture Donatello and Michelangelo bridged

the generations, as did Masaccio and Botticelli in painting. Part of the

explanation, of course, was native talent, but part of it also lies in the

character of a city that supported the arts, nurtured artists, and

enhanced civic life with beauty and learning.

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Masaccio (1401-1427?), was the first great painter of the Italian Renaissance, whose innovations in the use of scientific perspective inaugurated the modern era in painting.


Trinity with the Virgin,

Saint John the Evangelist,

and Donors,

fresco in the Church of

Santa Maria Novella,

Florence. 1425-28(?)

…used full perspective

for the first time in Western art.

Madonna and Child

with St. Annec. 1424Tempera on panel

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GHIBERTI, Lorenzo (b. 1378, d. 1455)

North Doors

(Life of Christ)1403-24Gilded bronze, 457 x 251 cmBaptistry, Florence

Last Supper1403-24Gilded bronze,

39 x 39 cmBaptistry, Florence

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Dome of the Cathedral1420-36-Duomo, Florence

Interior of the churchbegun 1436-Santo Spirito, Florence

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The Medici Era


by Andrea

del Verocchio, 1480

  • Cosimo de’ Medici - Patron

  • Donatello

  • Fra Angelico

  • Piero de’Medici - Patron

  • Boticelli

  • Lorenzo the Magnificent - Patron

  • Boticelli

  • Leonardo

  • Michelangelo

The patronage of the Medici family gave sustenance to many of the most important

Artists of the early Renaissance in Florence.

The artists above are grouped according to their respective Medici patrons.

(See the Notes section for each patron and artist for biographical information on this

slide and the slides that follow.)

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St Mary Magdalenc. 1457Wood, height: 188 cmFlorence

Davidc. 1430Bronze, height: 185 cmFlorence

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Fra Angelico

The Naming of St. John the Baptist1434-35Tempera on panel, 26 x 24 cmMuseo di San Marco, Florence

Annunciation 1450Tempera on wood, 38,5 x 37 cmMuseo di San Marco, Florence

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Primaverac. 1482Tempera on panel

Adoration of the Magic. 1475Tempera on panel, 111 x 134 cmGalleria degli Uffizi, Florence

St Sebastian1474Tempera on panel,

195 x 75 cm

The Birth of Venusc. 1485Tempera on canvas

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Leonardo da Vinci

The Last Supper, 1498Mixed technique, 460 x 880 cm

Virgin of the Rocks1483-86Oil on panel

Mona Lisa (La Gioconda)c. 1503-5Oil on panel, 77 x 53 cm

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Michelangelo (early work)


434 cmFlorence

Bacchus1497Marble, 203 cmFlorence



the Cross


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The Character of Renaissance Humanism

  • Renaissance = rebirth

  • Rebirth of classical aesthetics and human (secular) values

  • Democratization

  • Quest for worldly fame

  • Emphasis on learning and science

  • Pico della Mirandola – synthesis of learning yeilding elemental truth

  • Printing technology – spread of learning and human values

  • Role of Women – ideal of beauty and “nature” – education of women

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Two Styles of Humanism

Machiavelli – “The Prince” - principles of political action – amoral pragmatism

Erasmus – Christian humanism – synthesis of learning and “internalized” Christian morality – “Praise of Folly” - social critique of corruption in society and the church

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Music in the 15th Century

See text, Pages 307, 308 and discussion of musical selections in class )