ITALY AND THERENAISSANCE The Birth of Venus, Botticelli (1485)
What was the Renaissance? • The term means “rebirth” – in this case, the term refers to a revival of art and learning. • The Renaissance originated in Northern Italy and then spread throughout Europe.
Why Italy? • Italy had 3 advantages that made it the birthplace of the Renaissance. • 1. thriving cities • 2. a wealthy merchant class • 3. the classical heritage of Greece and Rome.
City-States • Overseas trade led to the growth of many large city-states in Northern Italy, making this part of the country predominately urban. • The bubonic plague caused labor shortages which pushed up wages. With few opportunities to expand business, merchants began to pursue art.
Merchants • A wealthy merchant class developed in each Italian city-state. • In Florence, a powerful banking family called the Medici came to power.
Cosimo de Medici Dictator of Florence, 1434-1464.
Lorenzo de Medici Followed his grandfather as ruler of Florence.
Heritage of Greece & Rome • 1. Artists drew inspiration from the ruins of ancient Rome. • 2. Scholars studied ancient Latin manuscripts. • 3. Greek manuscripts were also in Rome after being relocated from Constantinople.
Renaissance Values • Humanism: an intellectual movement that focused on human potential and achievements. • Represented a move away from the exclusively Christian values of the Medieval era.
Renaissance Values (cont’d) • Secularism: a focus on the worldly rather than the spiritual and concerned with the here and now. • Led to an emphasis on worldly pleasure, such as material luxuries, music and food.
Renaissance Values (cont’d) • The Renaissance Man: • All educated people were expected to master almost every area of study, such as dancing, music, art, poetry, horseback riding, wrestling, the classics, etc.
Renaissance Values (cont’d) • The Renaissance Woman: • Well-educated but non-political. • Expected to inspire rather than create art.
Renaissance Art • Renaissance art involved stylistic change. • 1. Emphasized realism. • 2. More of a secular focus, utilizing Greek and Roman rather than spiritual subjects. • 3. Used perspective, or 3-D painting.
Michelangelo • Painter, sculptor, architect and poet. • Most famous for the way he portrayed the human body as influenced by classical art.
Leonardo da Vinci • Painter, sculptor, inventor and scientist. • Ergo, often considered the quintessential Renaissance man.
Renaissance Literature • Writers produced works that were secular as well as religious. • Writers began to use vernacular languages to express their ideas. This refers to their native language, rather than Latin. • Writers focused on the individuality of their subjects.
Dante • Wrote The Divine Comedy. • Widely considered the central epic poem of Italian literature, the first great work of the Renaissance and one of the greatest works of world literature. • Tells the story of visiting hell from the first person.
Petrarch • One of the earliest and most influential humanists. • Great poet known for writing sonnets (or 14 line poems) to an unknown woman named Laura.
Machiavelli • Most famous for writing The Prince. • This book gives advice on how a ruler can gain and maintain power. • Argues that most people are selfish and corrupt. • Focuses on what was effective rather than moral; advocated lying if effective.
Printing Spreads Ideas • The Chinese first used block printing and the Europeans would expand on this • This process worked, but too slow to keep up with the demand for ideas • About 1440 Johann Gutenberg invented a printing press with movable type • Books could now be made fast and cheap • The fist book printed was the Gutenberg Bible
Before the press 5 months to copy a book by hand • After the press 5 months to print 500 books
Review: Humanism • What are the main characteristics of humanism? • Affirmed the worth of the human. • Emphasized the self and individuality. • Valued the secular rather than the spiritual. • Optimistic about the potential for social improvement.
The Northern Renaissance • Merchants, artists, scholars came to Italy from northern Europe and were impressed with what they saw from the Italian Renaissance • As a result, the northern Renaissance developed its own character, mainly realism
Albrecht Dürer German Known for woodcarvings and engravings
Pieter Bruegel and Jan van Eyck • Flemish painters (from Netherlands) • Van Eyck used oil-based paints to show layers and subtlety (i.e. jewels) • Bruegel showed scenes from everyday peasant life (Peasant Wedding)
Northern Writers: Christian Humanists • Critical of the Church and wanted to reform society • Erasmus (Netherlands) and Thomas More (England) are two best examples • Erasmus’ The Praise of Folly • More’s Utopia
Legacy of the Renaissance • Marked a break in religious focus of Middle Ages • Belief that the individual played a role in the rise of democratic beliefs • Arts: writers (vernacular) and painters (realism and secularism) • Society: learning and rise in literacy • Church’s power declines and monarchs’ rises • Paved the way for nation states