Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam.
Sistine Chapel ceiling;
Italy’s Vatican City.
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Between 1300 and 1600
the Western world was
An extraordinary wave of
intellectual, artistic and
cultural innovation
shattered medieval
society and brought
European culture into the
modern era.
This was the era of
the Renaissance and
the knowledge of the Bible in the hands of the common man changed a
worldview that had boxed and fixed science for more than 1500 years.
The Greeks saw the universe as fixed and limited the elements of fire,
water, wind, and earth. The Scriptures showed a universe created by God
who fixed its laws and made it predictable. The Bible energized men to
create instruments (for example, the telescope, microscope, and
stethoscope) to see and hear things that were never possible before.
While these developments are commonly attributed to the Renaissance,
what occurred simultaneous with the Renaissance? The Reformation. As
God’s laws for the church and society found new meaning and
application, His laws were being discovered in nature by His people that
were foundational to modern science.
Only the monotheistic religions (Christianity, Judaism, and
Mohammedism) describe a universe created and inhabited (immanent
and omniscient presence) by God according to fixed laws and holding a
knowledge that is broad and deep, as a fitting testimony to its Creator.
Noah Webster’s Dictionary of 1828 is helpful.
Science is:
1. In a general sense, knowledge, or certain knowledge; the
comprehension or understanding of truth or facts by the mind. “The
science of God must be perfect.”
2. In philosophy, a collection of the general principles or leading truths
relating to any subject. Pure science, as the mathematics, is built on
self-evident truths; but the term science is also applied to other subjects
founded on generally acknowledged truths, as metaphysics; or on
experiment and observation, as chemistry and natural philosophy; or
even to an assemblage of the general principles of an art, as the science
of agriculture; the science of navigation. Arts relate to practice, as
painting and sculpture…
I. Both the Renaissance and Reformation had a significant impact upon the Catholic church.
A. The Renaissance reintroduced Greek and Roman thoughts within the intellectual elite: As a result the
church had to compete with the philosophies, literature and paganism of ancient Greece and Rome.
B. The Reformation, in contrast with the Renaissance, was an effort to reform the church. The church
had become more of a political institution as opposed to a religious institution For example: Popes
sought personal gain - not spiritual perfection
C. The Renaissance was an intellectual reawakening. Idealism of the Classic
Concept of the Universal man, humanism as the keystone
D. The Reformation was a religious reawakening.
E. Both the Renaissance and Reformation were very threatening to the church - The Church told you
"What to think" not "How to think". Renaissance and Reformation would change this.
F. Beginning of Protestant religion Protestants different from Catholics
G. Reformation resulted in "protest" against the Catholic church which became Protestant movement
Creation of Protestant religious beliefs which did not recognize the supreme authority of the Pope
H. The New Group of Renaissance Philosophers were called Humanists - The Universal Man - The
Renaissance Man, well versed in the arts, sciences, languages, well traveled, well mannered, skilled in
I. Three main beliefs of humanism Admired ancient Greeks, classics
emphasized joy of living - enjoy corporeal lives believed in "original goodness", not original sin.
one's corporeal life was worth contemplating
J. BASED ON HUMANISM: The humanists adopted much of the philosophical beliefs of
Plato and Aristotle. Humanists - believed in a philosophy that placed its focus on secular
concerns - on humans; as opposed to the other worldly or heavenly concerns of earlier
philosophies. "Secular Concerns" equals material and corporeal concerns
Remember - the ancient Greeks believed that the body played an important role in
human existence - this greatly appealed to the Renaissance way of thinking
Development of the Renaissance Man - "One who uses the mind and body - the well
rounded individual."
Universal Man
a. cultivated interest in the arts, science and language
b. valued Physical Education
C. Ancient Greeks and Roman views were studies and debated
vs. The Reformation religious reformers, argued that the body "housed" the soul
the body could not be denigrated because it was the Temple of God - housed the soul
K. Cultural Changes - The Renaissance was characterized by secular-humanistic
influence on thought and culture, Political development of Nations, Economic
development based upon trade and commerce etc.
The Renaissance undermines the authority of the Church. What happened if you ignored
the authority of the Church?
What could the church do?
And artistic movement
• As Europe’s Trade and Growth of Cities was reviving again in the Late Middle Ages,
the Plague struck.
• The only way to avoid the disease was for people to leave the city for the country.
This solution was, unfortunately, available only to the wealthy.
• The population decrease caused by the plague led to an economic depression.
Merchants and tradespeople had fewer people to whom they could sell their wares.
• Economic hardship spread as those who dealt with the merchants--bankers, suppliers,
and shippers--also lost revenue.
• As the plague decreased at the start of the 1400s (15th c.), populations swelled,
creating a new demand for goods and services. A new wealthy middle class emerged again bankers, merchants, tradespeople and educated professionals.
• With the people’s respect of the once all-powerful Church weakened following its many
problems during the Middle Ages, this new educated, wealthy class began to pursue more
secular and human interests – art, science, philosophy, etc.
The invention of the printing press would.lead to increased literacy among the people,
the rapid spread of new knowledge, and education of the masses.
Rising merchant class growing out of intense
New Class System
Old Nobility and Merchant Class
Emergent capitalists and bankers
Less wealthy merchants
Peasants (25-30%)
Domestic Servants (smaller in numbers)
In art…
Artists discovered how to paint in three
dimensions, bringing new life and realism to
their subjects. Breaking away from the religious
traditions of the medieval world, they created
entirely new genres of art, rich in drama and
emotion. Radical new techniques were
invented, like painting with oils, and
perspective. Artists transformed the way we
saw our world.
What are the 8 elements of Renaissance Art?
In architecture and science…
Buildings were constructed that were bigger and better than ever before.
Taking inspiration from the classical past, new rules were invented
governing proportion and perspective. Magnificent temples to wealth
were designed across Florence and the largest dome in the world was
built by Filippo Brunelleschi, the brilliant engineer.
Men no longer accepted at face value the teachings of the Church. Now
they wanted to study the natural world, to discover for themselves the
secrets of the universe. Leonardo da Vinci pioneered the study of human
anatomy and Galileo Galilei rocked the Catholic establishment by
announcing that the Earth revolved around the Sun.
What made Galileo’s theory objectionable to the Church? How did it
differ from Copernicus’s theory? What happened in his trial?
In politics…
Coming out of the Catholic Church, education filtered down to the upwardly
mobile middle classes. Ancient texts, unread for more than 1,000-years, were
devoured and debated. With the invention of printing, ideas swept across Europe
faster than ever before, and thinkers and writers shared their opinions with the
general public. Vasari recorded the lives of artists and the contribution of the
Medici, in a precursor of today's PR.
Machiavelli, the Godfather of Realpolitik, wrote the first modern manual for
leadership, “The Prince”, visualizing a pragmatic world in which the end always
justified the means.
Throughout Italy, republics and duchies blossomed under the glow of creative
achievement. Around Europe, kings and princes turned their sights on the jewels
of Italy and an era of total war was soon unleashed.
In the realm of ethics and morals- do the ends justify the means?
In religion…
In this new world of communication and debate,
the corruption and decadence of the Catholic
Church was seen as almost intolerable. Martin
Luther begins the to publish his theories
worldwide. This German monk shattered
centuries of reverence and assumption, paved
the way for a revolution in faith and forever
divided the Christian world prompting the
Locate Florence.
1. The Renaissance- where did
it begin?
began in
Firenze-republic ruled by a
senate and powerful families
(Venezia also a republic)
2. Renaissance begins in Italy...Why?
• Italy’s thriving urban cities were the center for the renewed trade coming in from the
Middle East that brought in wealth and culture here first before the rest of Europe.
• Thriving cities meant opportunities for education, scientific pursuits, and
• A wealthy merchant middle class – became art patrons.
• Italy was the home of the old Roman Empire, surrounding everyone
still are the ruins & reminders of the classical Greco-Roman heritage.
Florence, Italy today.
Renaissance begins in Italy...Why?
• Italy’s thriving urban cities were the center for the renewed trade coming in from
the Middle East that brought in wealth and culture here first before the rest of Europe.
• Thriving cities meant opportunities for education, scientific pursuits, and even
arts and leisure.
• A wealthy merchant middle class who became art patrons.
3. What role did patrons of the arts
play in the development of
Renaissance ideas? And who?
Wealthy patrons spent money to help artists
and architects create works of genius.
Cosimo de MediciBuilds a banking dynasty in Florence , Neo-Platonism, Arts
Lorenzo de Medici (The MAGNIFICNET)- ruler of Florence and
Art Patron 1449 - 1492 contributed more than anyone to the
flowering of Florence’s artistic genius in the late 15th century,
supporting such giants as
Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Lorenzo treated the artists under his protection with respect and
warm-hearted familiarity.
Conflict with Savonarola
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Florence, Italy today.
B. Determining Word Meaning
Renaissance – the rebirth of great art and classical learning
that began in northern Italy around 1300 A.D.
Renaissance – is the French translation of the Italian word
rinascita which means, “rebirth.”
But “rebirth” of what?
The Renaissance style would focus on 2 Main Components:
I. a “rebirth” or return of the classical style developed by
the ancient Greeks and Romans,
II. an intensified concern with secular life—interest in
humanism and assertion of the importance of the individual.
Michelangelo’s David *
is the very “definition”
of what the Renaissance is about:
• the return to the Greek style.
How is the Renaissance
emphasis on
different from the old
Medieval view?
• But also the influence of humanism –
here a young boy who slays his giant reminds us all
Man can achieve great things on his own!
B. Determining Word Meaning
Humanism – a new philosophy or
outlook that focuses on humankind’s
achievements and potential to achieve
great things.
1. How did humanism Humanists believed mankind’s
influence the growth achievements and successes should be
of learning?
praised – unlike the old Church teaching that
this was vanity or sinful. They encouraged
artists to copy the classical style of the
Greeks and Romans who had made great
advances in art, architecture, and the sciences.
“School of Athens” *
~ Raphael
In this wall fresco, Raphael (1483-1520)
pays tribute to mankind’s achievements Greek philosophers, scientists,
astronomers, and mathematicians engage
in philosophic inquiry together in one
place though they lived in different times.
Wall frescoe, Vatican Museums, Rome Italy.
In these two works we see
mankind “enjoying life.”
Left: The Peasant Dance
Pieter Brueghel the Elder.
2. How did ideas about
piety and
a simple life
Although people remained Christians; the
everyday society was becoming more
secular (emphasizing non-religious pursuits /
concerned with the here and now).
The wealthy, the educated, and even
upper-clergy believed they could enjoy life
now without fear of offending God.
3. What effects did the
Artists now painted portraits of prominent
emphasis on
citizens, showed their distinct characteristics;
individuals have on
painters and sculptors?
Chancellor Rolin and the Virgin
~ Jan Van Eyck
Louvre Museum, Paris.
3. What effects did the
emphasis on
individuals have on
painters and sculptors?
Artists now painted portraits of prominent
citizens, showed their distinct characteristics;
they developed perspective in order to
achieve realism in their art;
As a result, the painted surface was
regarded as a window on the
natural world, and it became the
task of painters to portray this
world in their art.
B. Determining Word Meaning
perspective – an art technique that gives
the appearance of
three-dimensional realism,
distance, or depth.
Marriage of the Virgin - Raphael
Does man appear
equal to God?
Care about God?
Need God?
(“Creation of Adam”);
The Sistine Chapel Ceiling *
~ Michelangelo.
Recently restored.
• Return to Classical Style
• Achievements of Man / Individual praised
• Religious subject matter fused with Classical
or depicted in present surroundings
• Emphasis on this world, not “other world,”
man’s ability to understand natural world.
Science viewed more positively
“The Ambassadors”
~ Hans Holbein the Younger
Reveals struggle between Faith vs. Reason; Biblical vs. Scientific;
Secular vs. Sacred, etc.
Is the Church being pushed aside,
Science now in the foreground?
Or, is the artist indicating that
from above Christ looks down in
judgement upon Science?
“The Last Supper” ~ Leonardo da Vinci *
Renaissance Ideas Spread to Northern Europe
1. What factors led to the
beginning of the Renaissance
in northern Europe?
• the northern population
began to recover from
the plague.
• Hundred Years’ War
finally ended.
• cities were growing
• city merchants were
becoming wealthy
enough to become
“patrons” as well as
educated in Humanist
Monarchs in England and in France (such as Francis I who hired
Italian architects to build his palace at Fontainebleau) supported the
arts and introduced Renaissance styles to northern Europe.
2. How did writers reflect They wrote in the vernacular;
Renaissance values in wrote about non-religious (secular) topics
their work?
– simply for leisure, fun, self-expression;
and pursued independent thought and
investigation other than or in addition to
what the church taught.
B. Determining Word Meaning
Petrarch, often called the
“father of humanism” authored
beautiful sonnets in the
vernacular Italian and they were
about a love of his life named
vernacular – the language of
the local people.
(not Latin!)
3. How did the writing of
Petrarch, Boccaccio,
and Machiavelli
demonstrate the values
of humanism?
Petrarch wrote about Laura – an ideal
Boccaccio wrote about the follies of
characters in the Decameron.
Machiavelli wrote about the imperfect
conduct of humans in The Prince.
Born May 3, 1469 in Florence, Italy, Machiavelli
was a political philosopher during the Renaissance,
and is most famous for his political treatise,
The Prince (1513),
It has become a cornerstone of modern
political philosophy.
“No enterprise is more likely to succeed
than one concealed from the enemy
until it is ripe for execution.”
—Machiavelli from The Art of War
“Being a good ruler means sometimes doing the unpopular in order
to achieve what is best for one’s people in the long run.”
“A shrewd politician knows he may have to sometimes
employ devious methods if he is to stay in power.”
“The End justifies the Means.”
“At any given time a ruler may be faced with sending men to their
deaths in battle. He must be willing to sacrifice those few in order
to save the many.”
“Rulers can not be expected to live under the same “morality” as the
masses they rule. They must at times choose corrupt, distasteful,
even evil means in order to achieve a final good for their people.”
“It is better that a Ruler should be feared by his people
than loved by them.” ~ Machiavelli
Niccolò Machiavelli was an Italian statesman and writer and is
considered one of the most significant political thinkers of the
Renaissance. His best-known work, The Prince, describes
cunning and unscrupulous methods for rulers to gain and keep
A.) The Prince (1532; trans. 1640) - describes the method by which a
prince can acquire and maintain political power.
B.) It is believed he was defending the tyranny of such cruel rulers of
his day as Cesare Borgia.
C.) He believed that a ruler is not bound by traditional ethical norms
like the people the ruler’s rules should be.
D.) a prince should be concerned only with power and be bound only
by rules that would lead to success in political actions.
“The End justifies the Means.” “Better to be feared than loved.”
E.) believed that these rules could be discovered by deduction from the
political practices of the time, as well as from those of earlier
Today we still use the phrase machiavellian
to refer to someone who
pursues an action that,
though may not be viewed as morally right,
he believes will be politically effective.
Can you think of
examples in
American or World
History / Politics
of leaders whose
decisions might be
machiavellian ?
4. Renaissance Ideas Spread to Northern Europe
Since antiquity it had been scribes and later, monks
in the Medieval period, who copied all manuscripts
by hand …
Johann Gutenberg invented a
“printing press” – or,
the technique of printing from
movable blocks of type letters.
Gutenberg was a 15th-century German craftsman, inventor, and printer.
He used hand-set type cast in molds to print multiple copies of
manuscripts. Copying now became
mechanized and much faster.
The invention of movable-type printing
facilitated an easier exchange of ideas
throughout Europe and helped spread
the ideas of the Renaissance.
Renaissance Ideas Spread to Northern Europe
Johann Gutenberg invented a
“printing press” – or,
the technique of printing from
movable blocks of type letters.
The Gutenberg Bible – one of only 5 existing copies,
purchased by the University of Texas
Harry Ransom Center museum in 1978.
It is said that other
great historical events
such as the Protestant
Reformation of the
1500s, the Scientific
Age of Enlightenment
of the 1600s, and the
French Revolution in
the 1700s would likely
have not been such
transforming forces
had it not been for the
invention of the
printing press.
Explain why historians
would make such an
Northern Writers Try to Reform Society
“Northern Renaissance writers also adopted the ideas of Humanism...
however, some gave it a more religious slant.”
5. Desiderius Erasmus – a Christian humanist, wrote “The Praise
of Folly” which poked fun at people’s human flaws such as greedy
merchants, arrogant priests, etc. He believed mankind could improve
society by reading the Bible and that Christianity was about “the
heart” and not a bunch of “rules and ceremonies” done in Church.
Erasmus was from the
Dutch region of Holland
and received many honors
in his lifetime. He was often critical of the “mindless” rituals
Christians performed during church services and their
ignorance about the actual Bible itself.
“It is the chief point of happiness when a man is willing to be what he is not what others would have him be.” ~ Erasmus, 1527.
Northern Writers Try to Reform Society
6. Thomas More – an English humanist concerned about society’s
problems. He wrote “Utopia,” about an ideal model of society.
Utopia is Greek for “no place” – More’s sense of humor is
shown since this perfect society he gives this name to
clearly did not exist.
More served as Speaker in the House of Commons and
Lord Chancellor during the reign of King Henry VIII of
England. When Henry began his plan to separate the
Church of England from the Catholic Pope, More
defended Catholicism and the struggle with his king
would lead eventually to his trial for treason and his
beheading in 1535 at the Tower of London.
The events are dramatized in a classic film entitled
“A Man for All Seasons.”
Statue of More in Chelsea, London
Northern Writers Try to Reform Society
7. William Shakespeare – English playwright whose plays
examine human flaws but also express the Renaissance view of
humanity’s potential. Many of his plays focus on Greek or
Roman subjects and classical plots.
The Globe Theater
Shakespeare had this
“theater in the round”
built on the banks of the
Thames River in London,
1599 – 1614.
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The Italian Renaissance - World His