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The Renaissance. What is a “Renaissance?”. Renaissance – French word that means “rebirth”. The Renaissance was a time of change throughout Europe, but especially in Italy. What caused the Renaissance?. 1) The Black Death

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what is a renaissance
What is a “Renaissance?”
  • Renaissance – French word that means “rebirth”.
  • The Renaissance was a time of change throughout Europe, but especially in Italy
what caused the renaissance
What caused the Renaissance?
  • 1) The Black Death
  • 2) Fewer people alive meant fewer people to feed, so Europe needed fewer farmers. This allowed for parts of Europe to begin specializing their economies
what caused the renaissance1
What Caused the Renaissance?
  • 3) Increased trade with Asia as a result of the Crusades
  • 4) Growth of city-states in Italy: cities like Florence, Venice, and Milan became cultural and economic centers
  • 5) Interest in the classical learning of ancient Greece and Rome
what caused the renaissance2
What Caused the Renaissance?
  • 6) People began to obtain great wealth which allowed them to spend money or things like art
  • 7) Increased desire for scientific knowledge
  • 8) Desire to beautify cities
pop quiz
  • What does Renaissance mean?
  • How did the Black Plague help cause the Renaissance?
  • What 2 ancient civilizations influenced the Renaissance?
renaissance ideas
Renaissance Ideas
  • Humanism – an emphasis on individuals and a belief that the potential of the human mind was limitless
  • Authors like Giovanni Boccaccio, Francesco Petrarch and Dante Alighieri began to write in the vernacular – the everyday language of the people (instead of formal Latin)
  • Humanists made advances in the fields of anatomy, geography, astronomy, and medicine
renaissance ideas1
Renaissance Ideas
  • During the 1500’s many authors began writing secular works – a worldly view rather than a spiritual focus
  • Niccolo Machiavelli – author of The Prince where he gave his opinions on how governments should be run.
  • “A prudent ruler cannot, and must not, honor his word when it places him at a disadvantage and when the reasons for which he made his promise no longer exist.

“If an injury has to be done to a man it should be so severe that his vengeance need not be feared.” 

“Men ought either to be well treated or crushed, because they can avenge themselves of lighter injuries, of more serious ones they cannot; therefore the injury that is to be done to a man ought to be of such a kind that one does not stand in fear of revenge.” 

“The first method for estimating the intelligence of a ruler is to look at the men he has around him.” 

“It is best to be both feared and loved; however, if one cannot be both it is better to be feared than loved.”

  • Curiosity about the world encouraged great thinkers to challenge the traditional ideas of science
  • Nicholas Copernicus – suggested that the sun is the center of the universe and not the earth
  • Galileo Galilei – wrote that the earth revolved around the sun which caused church officials to arrest him.
pop quiz1
  • Define these terms in your own words
    • Humanism
    • Vernacular
    • Secular
  • What part of culture was Machiavelli most interested in?
  • Why are Galileo and Copernicus good examples of humanism?
renaissance art
Renaissance Art
  • Even more than politics and writing, the arts reflected the humanist spirit of the Renaissance
  • Renaissance artists focused on the things they saw in nature, rather than symbolism and religious themes
patrons of the arts
Patrons of the Arts
  • During medieval times artists worked for the church. In the Renaissance artists worked for whoever was willing to pay them.
  • These buyers were called patrons
  • In Florence the Medici family gave huge amounts of money to artists and musicians
renaissance art1
Renaissance Art
  • Renaissance artists wanted to paint the natural world as realistically as possible.
  • Artists used perspective – allows artists to paint 3D objects on flat surfaces
  • Painters also experimented with new ways of using color to portray shapes and textures



  • Even the design of buildings reflected the humanist movement. Churches, palaces, and public buildings began using classical Greek and Roman style and moved away from the Gothic architecture of the medieval era.
pop quiz2
  • What are some of the characteristics of Renaissance art?
  • What allowed for more artists to become successful during the Renaissance?
  • Michelangelo Buonarroti was an Italian artist known for his Pieta and David sculptures, and his painting of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
  • A renowned painter and architect best known for his The School of Athens fresco
  • Fresco – a painting made on fresh, moist plaster
donato bramante
Donato Bramante
  • One of the main architects of the Renaissance movement in Rome.
  • His design of the St. Peter’s Basilica influenced the appearance of many other churches in Italy.
the renaissance goes north
The Renaissance Goes North
  • By the 1500’s the ideas of the Renaissance had spread out of Italy and into cities like Paris, London, and Amsterdam
  • Factors including trade, the movement of artists and scholars due to fighting in Italy, and the movement of northern scholars to Italy led to the Renaissance effecting areas in Northern Europe
a book revolution
A Book Revolution
  • In the mid 1400’s a German named Johannes Gutenberg created the moveable type printing press.
  • The printing press allowed for texts to be reproduced quickly and less expensively than by hand
  • Gutenberg’s first publication was the Bible
  • Printed books allowed for easier access to written materials and helped to spread the ideas of the Renaissance
philosophy and writers
Philosophy and Writers
  • Philosophy – the study of general problems in the world
  • Desiderius Erasmus – a priest in what is now the Netherlands who wrote about the need for a simple Christian life and that the church should avoid useless rituals and politics. He was later condemned by the Catholic church for his writings.
philosophy and writers1
Philosophy and Writers
  • Sir Thomas More – English, a friend of Erasmus, wrote the novel Utopia. More criticized the English government and gave his vision of the perfect society. His novel was so popular that people still use the word utopia today to describe an ideal society
philosophy and writers2
Philosophy and Writers
  • William Shakespeare – English playwright who drew inspiration from ancient and contemporary literature. He was able to describe human nature and natural science in his plays.
  • Shakespeare helped to spread Renaissance ideas, like humanism, to the masses.
  • Shakespeare’s plays focused on the lives of its realistic characters, instead of morality plays that were popular during the Middle Ages
  • Thanks to Shakespeare London became a thriving theater town and helped launch the first public theaters.
artists of the north
Artists of the North
  • While Italian Renaissance artists typically portrayed Greek and Roman gods, Northern artists often depicted people as they really were
  • Albrecht Durer – German who visited Italy and used the techniques of realism and perspective in his own works
  • Jan van Eyck – part of the Flemish school (Netherlands), often focused on landscapes and domestic life