Chapter Twelve
The Early Renaissance
Culture and Values, 6th Ed.
Cunningham and Reich
Toward the Renaissance
• Renewed interest in Classical texts
• New artistic realism
• Attention to the world of nature
– St. Francis of Assisi
• New growth in economics/trade
• Florentine banking and commerce
The First Phase:
Masaccio, Ghiberti, and Brunelleschi
• Florentine “representative” government
– Arti, senior guilds
• Wool trade
• Banking, banking families
– Stable monetary system
• Revolutionary Florentine art
– Renaissance
The First Phase:
Masaccio, Ghiberti, and Brunelleschi
• Characteristics of artistic change
• Gentile da Fabriano (c. 1385-1427)
– Adoration of the Magi (1423)
– Conservative International Gothic style
• Tommaso Guidi, aka Masaccio (1401-1428)
– The Holy Trinity (c. 1428)
– Clarity of line, perspective, realism,
The First Phase:
Masaccio, Ghiberti, and Brunelleschi
• Masaccio
– Realistic depiction of human beings
• The Tribute Money (c. 1427)
– Profound sense of emotion
• Expulsion of Adam and Eve from Eden (c.
– “…brought into existence the modern style”
The First Phase:
Masaccio, Ghiberti, and Brunelleschi
• Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455)
– Florence Baptistery, North Door
– Sentiment, mathematical perspective
– East Doors = “Gates of Paradise”
• Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1466)
– Renaissance architecture
– Dome of Santa Maria del Fiore
– Gothic + Classical Roman influences
The First Phase:
Masaccio, Ghiberti, and Brunelleschi
• Foundling Hospital, Pazzi Chapel
– Classical order
– Intricate mathematical proportions
– Serenity
• Florentine Renaissance style
– Space, ancient models, human realism
– Reaffirmation of Classical ideals
The Medici Era
• Medici rule of Florence: 1434-1492
• Immense banking fortune
– Branch banks throughout Western Europe
• Extensive geographic, sociological
– Giovanni Arnolfini and His Bride (1434)
The Medici Era:
Cosimo de’ Medici (1434-1464)
• Ancient manuscripts
• Greek language, philosophy
• Platonic Academy
– Search for truth and beauty
• Marsilio Ficino
– Platonic Love, Christian Platonism
• Pater Patriae
– Patron of the arts
The Medici Era:
Cosimo de’ Medici (1434-1464)
• Donatello (1386-1466)
– Saint George, David, Mary Magdalene
• Michelozzo (1396-1472)
– Convent of San Marco
• Fra Angelico (1387-1455)
– Annunciation fresco
• Paolo Uccello (1397-1475)
– Medici Palace paintings
The Medici Era:
Piero de’ Medici
• Ruled Florence from 1464-1469
• Continued Cosimo’s patronages
– Religious and civil art and architecture
• Medici and the theme of the Magi
– Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510)
– Benozzo Gozzoli (1420-1495)
The Medici Era:
Lorenzo il Magnifico
• Accomplished vernacular poet
• Ficino, Botticelli, Michelangelo
• Laurentian patronage of learning
– University of Pisa
– The Stadium of Florence
– Greek as export from Florence
The Medici Era:
Lorenzo il Magnifico
• Botticelli (1444-1510)
– La Primavera (Springtime), The Birth of Venus
– Platonic idealism, Christian mysticism
• Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
– Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Madonna of the Rocks
– Notebooks
– Mathematics, natural world and humanity, love for
The Medici Era:
Lorenzo il Magnifico
• Michelangelo Buonarroti (1476-1564)
– Cameo carving: Madonna of the Stairs
– Pietá
• Michelangelo’s David
– Statement of idealized beauty
– Palazzo Vecchio: symbol of civic power
The Medici Era:
Lorenzo il Magnifico
• Fra Savonarola (1452-1498)
– Dominican preacher, reformer
– Laurentian Florence vs. Medieval Piety
– Inspired many converts
– Defied papal excommunication, died publicly
The Character of the Renaissance
• When was the Renaissance?
– Jules Michelet
– Jakob Burkhardt
– Charles Homer Haskins
• Renaissance characteristics
– Artist as individual seeking fame
– Humanism as outgrowth of Classical learning
– Advancement of self and society through
intellectual efforts
Pico della Mirandola (1463-1494)
• Lorenzo de’ Medici, Marsilio Ficino
• Synthesis of all learning yields truth
– Student of languages and cultures
• Oration on the Dignity of Man
– Man bridges gap between heaven and creation
– Humanity is a great miracle
• Johann Reuchlin (1455-1522)
– Biblical studies in original languages
– Martin Luther
Printing Technology and the
Spread of Humanism
• Aldus Manutius (1449-1525)
– Humanists collated and corrected manuscripts
– Vast scope of Greek, Latin, vernacular texts
• Johann Gutenberg (c. 1395-1468)
• William Caxton
• Print technology and the diffusion of ideas
– 6-9 million books, 13,000 editions before 1500
Women and the Renaissance
• Humanist education
– Aristocratic families
– Families who saw education as priority
– Rise of printing / accessibility of books
• Woman writers
– Upper-class culture
– Convent life
• Women criticized for not following traditional
societal roles
Two Styles of Humanism:
Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)
• The Prince
– Secular study of political theory
– Inspired by Republican Rome
• Realistic pragmatism
– Success in governing is key to power
– Wisdom and ruthlessness
– Christianity’s role in politics is disastrous
• “The end justifies the means”
Two Styles of Humanism:
Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536)
• Wandering scholar, author
• Christian Humanism
– Classical learning + Christian living
• The Praise of Folly (1509)
– Attacked religious corruption
– Sweeping social criticism
– Outsold only by the Bible in the 16th century
Music in the 15th Century
• Guillaume Dufay (c. 1400-1474)
– Secularization of the motet, Chanson masses
– Synthesis of secular and religious
• Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1430-1495)
– Classical balance of intellect and emotion
• Music in Medici Florence
– No Classical models
– Platonic and Aristotelian significance
– Frittola, canto carnascialesco
Chapter Twelve: Discussion Questions
• Consider the role of art in Florentine politics. In what ways does artistic
patronage serve as a vehicle for state propaganda? Explain, including
principal discussions of the socio-religious works of Gozzoli and
• Contrast the medieval worldview with that of the Renaissance. What
was the role of the individual during the Middle Ages? During the
Renaissance? What was the role of the artist in each period? To what
may we attribute the shift in perspective? Explain.
• Citing specific artwork from Chapter Twelve, explore the artistic balance
between Classical and Christian prerogatives. Which of the artists in the
chapter had the most success balancing and/or synthesizing the two
• Compare the two styles of Humanism exemplified by Erasmus and
Machiavelli. What variation on the theme does each provide? Consider
the roles of Classicism and Christianity in their respective approaches.

Chapter Twelve The Early Renaissance