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A history of the important events during the renaissance period

Few historians are comfortable with the triumphalist and western Europe-centred image of the Renaissance as the irresistible march of modernity and progress. A sharp break with medieval values and institutions, a new awareness of the individual, an awakened interest in the material world… Origins and rise of humanism The term Middle Ages was coined by scholars in the 15th century to designate the interval between the downfall of the Classical world of Greece and Rome and its rediscovery at the beginning of their own century, a revival in which they felt they were participating.

Indeed, the notion of a long period of cultural darkness had been expressed by Petrarch even earlier. Events at the end of the Middle Ages, particularly beginning in the 12th century, set in motion a series of social, political, and intellectual transformations that culminated in the Renaissance.

These included the increasing failure of the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire to provide a stable and unifying framework for the organization of spiritual and material life, the rise in importance of city-states and national monarchies, the development of national languages, and the breakup of the old feudal structures. While the spirit of the Renaissance ultimately took many forms, it was expressed earliest by the intellectual movement called humanism.

Humanism was initiated by secular men of letters rather than by the scholar-clerics who had dominated medieval intellectual life and had developed the Scholastic philosophy. Humanism began and achieved fruition first in Italy. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 provided humanism with a major boost, for many eastern scholars fled to Italy, bringing with them important books and manuscripts and a tradition of Greek scholarship.

ADDITIONAL MEDIA

First, it took human nature in all of its various manifestations and achievements as its subject. Second, it stressed the unity and compatibility of the truth found in all philosophical and theological schools and systems, a doctrine known as syncretism. Third, it emphasized the dignity of man. In place of the medieval ideal of a life of penance as the highest and noblest form of human activity, the humanists looked to the struggle of creation and the attempt to exert mastery over nature.

Finally, humanism looked forward to a rebirth of a lost human spirit and wisdom. In the course of striving to recover it, however, the humanists assisted in the consolidation of a new spiritual and intellectual outlook and in the development of a new body of knowledge.

The effect of humanism was to help men break free from the mental strictures imposed by religious orthodoxy, to inspire free inquiry and criticismand to inspire a new confidence in the possibilities of human thought and creations. From Italy the new humanist spirit and the Renaissance it engendered spread north to all parts of Europe, aided by the invention of printing, which allowed literacy and the availability of Classical texts to grow explosively.

Renaissance

Foremost among northern humanists was Desiderius Erasmuswhose Praise of Folly 1509 epitomized the moral essence of humanism in its insistence on heartfelt goodness as opposed to formalistic piety. The intellectual stimulation provided by humanists helped spark the Reformationfrom which, however, many humanists, including Erasmus, recoiled.

In the hands of men such as Leonardo da Vinci it was even a sciencea means for exploring nature and a record of discoveries. Art was to be based on the observation of the visible world and practiced according to mathematical principles of balance, harmony, and perspectivewhich were developed at this time.

Leonardo da VinciSelf-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci in red chalk, c. Nicholas, tempera on wood by Ambrogio Lorenzetti, c. Luca Borghi Palladio, Andrea: Francis of Assisi had rejected the formal Scholasticism of the prevailing Christian theology and gone out among the poor praising the beauties and spiritual value of nature.

His example inspired Italian artists and poets to take pleasure in the world around them. The great poet Dante lived at about the same time as Giotto, and his poetry shows a similar concern with inward experience and the subtle shades and variations of human nature. Although his Divine Comedy belongs to the Middle Ages in its plan and ideas, its subjective spirit and power of expression look forward to the Renaissance.

Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio also belong to this proto-renaissance period, both through their extensive studies of Latin literature and through their writings in the vernacular. Unfortunately, the terrible plague of 1348 and subsequent civil wars submerged both the revival of humanistic studies and the growing interest in individualism and naturalism revealed in the works of Giotto and Dante.

The spirit of the Renaissance did not surface again until the 15th century. Francis of Assisi Receiving the StigmataSt.

Defeated by the goldsmith and painter Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi and Donatello left for Rome, where they immersed themselves in the study of ancient architecture and sculpture. When they returned to Florence and began to put their knowledge into practice, the rationalized art of the ancient world was reborn.

The founder of Renaissance painting was Masaccio 1401—28. The intellectuality of his conceptionsthe monumentality of his compositions, and the high degree of naturalism in his works mark Masaccio as a pivotal figure in Renaissance painting.

The succeeding generation of artists—Piero della Francesca, the Pollaiuolo brothersand Verrochio—pressed forward with researches into linear and aerial perspective and anatomydeveloping a style of scientific naturalism. The civic pride of Florentines found expression in statues of the patron saints commissioned from Ghiberti and Donatello for niches in the grain-market guildhall known as Or San Michele, and in the largest dome built since antiquity, placed by Brunelleschi on the Florence cathedral.

The cost of construction and decoration of palaces, churches, and monasteries was underwritten by wealthy merchant families, chief among whom were the Medici family. George, bronze copy of a marble sculpture by Donatello, begun c. The original statue has been transferred to the Bargello, Florence. Instead of being painted with the customary tempera of the period, the work is painted with translucent oil glazes that produce brilliant jewel-like colour and a glossy surface.

Early A history of the important events during the renaissance period Renaissance painters were more concerned with the detailed reproduction of objects and their symbolic meaning than with the study of scientific perspective and anatomy even after these achievements became widely known.

Important Events During Renaissance Time Period

On the other hand, central Italian painters began to adopt the oil medium soon after The Portinari Altarpiece was brought to Florence in 1476. Leonardo da Vinci 1452—1519Michelangelo 1475—1564and Raphael 1483—1520. Each of the three embodied an important aspect of the period: Leonardo was the ultimate Renaissance mana solitary genius to whom no branch of study was foreign; Michelangelo emanated creative power, conceiving vast projects that drew for inspiration on the human body as the ultimate vehicle for emotional expression; Raphael created works that perfectly expressed the Classical spirit—harmonious, beautiful, and serene.

Although Leonardo was recognized in his own time as a great artist, his restless researches into anatomy, the nature of flight, and the structure of plant and animal life left him little time to paint. Mona Lisa, oil on wood panel by Leonardo da Vinci, c. Although Michelangelo thought of himself first as a sculptor, his best-known work is the giant ceiling fresco of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican.

It was completed in four years, from 1508 to 1512, and presents an incredibly complex but philosophically unified composition that fuses traditional Christian theology with Neoplatonic thought.

DavidDavid, marble sculpture by Michelangelo, 1501—04; in the Accademia, Florence. In this large fresco Raphael brought together representatives of the Aristotelian and Platonic schools of thought. Raphael was initially influenced by Leonardo, and he incorporated the pyramidal composition and beautifully modelled faces of The Virgin of the Rocks into many of his own paintings of the Madonna.

He differed from Leonardo, however, in his prodigious output, his even temperament, and his preference for Classical harmony and clarity.

His first Roman masterpiece, the Tempietto 1502 at San Pietro in Montorio, is a centralized dome structure that recalls Classical temple architecture.

Pope Julius II reigned 1503—13 chose Bramante to be papal architect, and together they devised a plan to replace the 4th-century Old St.

The Sistine Choir, which performed at services when the pope officiated, drew musicians and singers from all of Italy and northern Europe. Among the most famous composers who became members were Josquin des Prez 1445—1521 and Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina 1525—84. Josquin des Prez, drawing by Joris van der Straeten, 16th century.

The strains between Christian faith and Classical humanism led to Mannerism in the latter part of the 16th century. Great works of art animated by the Renaissance spirit, however, continued to be made in northern Italy and in northern Europe.

The oil medium, introduced to northern Italy by Antonello da Messina and quickly adopted by Venetian painters who could not use fresco because of the damp climate, seemed particularly adapted to the sanguinepleasure-loving culture of Venice.

A succession of brilliant painters— Giovanni BelliniGiorgioneTitian, Tintorettoand Paolo Veronese —developed the lyrical Venetian painting style that combined pagan subject matter, sensuous handling of colour and paint surface, and a love of extravagant settings.

  • The painting is held in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence;
  • The great poet Dante lived at about the same time as Giotto, and his poetry shows a similar concern with inward experience and the subtle shades and variations of human nature.