Renaisance 1400-1650

Renaissance is referred to as the rebirth. There was a bountiful new development of music, painting, sculptures, architecture and even science. This was a very different time compared to the dark ages before it.

The Renaissance was influenced by its past and had great impact on the future times.

Started in Italy. Italy was not a feudal society. It was set up as city states that were self sufficient. They all had ties with the pope. This allowed Italy to "get away with stuff", that led to the Renaissance!


Political influences: Trade was changing during the thirteenth century. There was innovations that enhanced the trade of raw and manufactured goods, making independent states vital in this development. The placement of Italy allowed for them to have access to all the world. This new achievement lead to the appreciation of people's talents because of the developing social structures. Artists became known as individuals and even geniuses. The middle class was growing and becoming more important in the economic and social world. there was a deliberate decrease in the power of feudal modes of living. As humanism grew, people realized the power they had inside of themselves to grow and prosper. There was a marked steady rise in democracy and nationalism. Humanism allowed for new thinking in the schools and in the church.


The fall of Constantinople led to a flee of Greek scholars into Italy. They brought with them ancient Greek manuscripts full of knowledge. After the manuscripts were translated into Latin, they led to more learning. These ancient manuscripts had a lot of effect on the intellectual growth of the Renaissance period.

Economic: Printing press was developed and mastered. This allowed for the expansion of language, religion, politics and just about everything. Learning started growing, literacy rates increased in the decades to follow! Gave popularity to books, and authors. Works were being produced quickly and easily shared. But the books were being made so quickly and efficiently that the church did not have control over everything that is being printed. The trade between the eastern and western worlds increased. This caused an increase in the wealth of Italy. There was also a wealthy class that grew from this. They were the bankers, traders and manufacturers. They used art to display their wealth, so they were patrons of the art. They provided security and encouragement to artists

The black death was another cause for economic success. Many people died in the black plague. Those who lived had more money. There was less people to share the money with, so the pockets of the ones who survived grew! In Italy social mobility was better than most of Europe. So those with more money found themselves growing socially as well as financially.


Religion: Renaissance was a religious period. But as education spread, the curiosity about the world did as well. They wanted to better understand the natural world. This had a large impact on art. Naturalism became a new theme for paintings. They painted the observation of nature. Education grew and curiosity spread. People were educating themselves on greater things besides their trade. Another characteristic of the Renaissance was the changing of artist's audiences. although the popes and other clergy of the church still were patrons of the art. A lot of the art was commissioned by wealthy merchant families of Florence. A famous Florence family that had a large part in Renaissance art was the Medici family. They opened up an academy in Florence that allowed for the study of Platonic philosophy. This family took care of famous men including Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Bertoldo. Medici had money, and money was necessary to allow for expansion of art, science and literature.

Protestant reformation (1517): the catholic church was in need of money for new buildings. The church was selling indulgences in order for people to go to heaven and be saved from purgatory. It was in need of a reformation. Martin Luther agreed, he thought the sale of indulgences to be unjust. He developed and nailed the 95 Thesis to the door of the church, starting the Protestant reformation.

Power of the church was decreasing. The church had less authority over the products being printed on the new printing press. Another new invention that lead to the loss of ecclesiastical power, was the telescope. Men were starting to explore the night skies against the teaching of the Church. Humanism allowed for people to look at text to find it's meaning during the Renaissance. In contrast to the Middle ages when people looked at text written by people and the focus was to make that text religious. People no longer did that and they were able to find more humanistic meaning and values in text for the "here and now".


Major People of Renaissance: the famous men of the Renaissance are Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. These men were popular in a time referred to as the high Renaissance. Leonardo was known as the "Renaissance man". His humanistic values had a large influence on this title because that was such an important theme during these times. some well known work done by Leonardo includes "Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper". The Renaissance was an important time for painters and artists like Leonardo because their talents were appreciated on an individual level. This was a cultural time of enlightenment for artists like Leonardo and he was even known as a genius. Leonardo was a figure of the Renaissance because he embraced the idea of learning. He was educated in many subjects besides art, including anatomy, geology, botany, hydraulics and flight.

The Last Supper: Leonardo Da Vinci
Mona Lisa: Leonardo Da Vinci


Another artist that embraced the naturalism of the Renaissance was the painter Masaccio (1401-1428). Art was becoming a representation of the natural world. He painted for the church, which was common in this time. He painted frescoes of the Trinity in the Church of Santa Maria Novella (1426) and he painted another church's Chapel, Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine (1427) both in Florence.

Masaccio "Trinity with the Virgin" (1426)
Masaccio "Brancacci Chapel of Santa Maria del Carmine" (1427)

Oil Paintings

Developed in the Renaissance period and has flourished even now in modern days. Oil painting can be seen as early in 1400's by an important Renaissance painter, Flemish painter Jan van Eyck. he painted an altar piece in the cathedral at Ghent (1432) It was further developed by Giorgione (1477-1510) and Titian (1488-1576) to dominate the western world of painting during the Renaissance and even today.

To learn more about Michelangelo's creation in the Sistine Chapel. As well as the greatest threat to this masterpiece now.


Music of the Renaissance was changing drastically. This can be related to the invention of many instruments developed during this period. The influences of the music can be linked to the changing sociocultural status of many people, as well as enhanced education, understanding and thirst for knowledge. The unifying of music became a common theme of this time because of these influences. This type of music can be seen in the Franco-Flemish school's polyphonic music. The use of polyphonic music requires skill in math and an understanding of intervals and geometry.

Types of Music


Secular music: the music was no longer focused on the church. This allowed for the use of the new instruments. This has to do with the focus of the people not being on the church but being humanistic. People of this time period were expected to be able to read and play music. This has to do with the rise of class. This was done as a leisure pass time. a popular form of secular music during this time is the lute music. John Dowland wrote Flow my Tears which became a very popular lute song of the time. This song can be described as melancholy and uses and A B C sectioning and a descending four note pattern.


Madrigal singing became popular as a form of entertainment for the wealthy. It is a form of singing poetry. It is different though in the way that it stretches harmony. The middle class was growing and the need for entertainment grew with it. One composer of madrigals in the late Renaissance was an Italian as most were. This composer was referred to as "The Schubert of the madrigal". He had impressive technique and really made an art out of madrigals. He was a professional, a genius, at what he did.


Sacred Music is still present in this time. Harmony and Motet's began to grow in popularity during this time in Mass. A famous composer of Masses was Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina (1525-1594). He composed over 100 masses, madrigals and motets. although this was a time of secularism, there was still respect for the church and having the Pope as a friend was beneficial to all.


Italy is known in the Renaissance for the art and the students that Italy had. But the growth of literature in the Renaissance period was expounded in England. The intelligence of the people of England was increasing, as was literature. Popular literature of the Renaissance was poetry and drama. Focusing on poetry, a person can find many types of poetry in this period. Including lyric, elegy, tragedy, and pastoral. John Milton wrote an "epic" poem near the end of the Renaissance. This grand poem was called Paradise Lost. It was so highly referred to because of it's use of language. The popularity of poems has a lot to do with convention. The English experimented with different types and genres of writing. The largest impact of English Renaissance poetry was its ability to find the beauty and truth in words. This attribute can be seen in Edmund Spenser's Faerie Queen. This is a poem that uses its language to illustrate beauty. It also had different genres intermingled into the work, including romance, tragedy, epic and pastoral. The greatest part of this was that all of these were done in a way that flowed well.

Shakespeare was a famous creator of drama literature. One thing that Shakespeare did that relates to the Renaissance was his use of humor in his drama, against/about the court. The jokes may have been underlying, but still questioned the power of authority. The power of the king and queen still had an influence on literature and arts though and that is why all innuendoes about English court was done tactfully and subtle. Another characteristic of Shakespeare that is a similar to Renaissance literature is his profound use of different genres in one piece of art. Another feat of Shakespeare that led to the expansion of knowledge during the Renaissance period was his expansion of the English language.

The Renaissance made it possible for Europe to dominate the world.


The end of the middle ages: The crusades. without the crusades the renaissance would not have happened. The crusades led the Christians from Europe to the Holy Land to fight. This led to trade with the Muslims because the transportation with ships. So after the ships take the Christians to the Holy Land, they bring back goods. They bring back other things. These other things include the culture of the Muslims so there is an expansion of knowledge. The trade led to the start of the Renaissance in Italy because it was one of the first stops in the trade lane. This trade also led to the plague. Italy was the first to be hit with the plague and this led to the wealthy merchant class because the death of so many people. The wealthy merchants led to involvement in politics and importance of the individual.

From Sacred to Secular

The spread of the plague and failure of the crusades led the people to question the church. They lost faith because the Catholic Church was not able to stop these things. They looked to other things and the culture was changing from the sacred of the middle ages to the secular of the Renaissance.

The dark ages before the Renaissance had impact on the world. Although there were places of halt in learning, science and art. There were still places of exploration. Especially advances in economics and religion.

Impact of the Renaissance

1: Humanism 2: Secularism 3: Invention of the printing press

The end of the Renaissance: Many ideas that had started and flourished during the Renaissance were put to and end when the humanistic ideas turned to decadence, cynicism and an introversion. All of these subjects turned into a halt of intellectual growth and expansion of art. The puritans were a product of the Renaissance. But the puritans were the one who stopped the growth of the Renaissance. The baroque period was a swing back into a very religious time. The Middle Age before the Renaissance was very religious, the Renaissance was not, and then the Baroque period was. The thirty year war was religious, there was a want for everyone to be Catholic.

The exploration that started in the Renaissance still happened in the following Centuries. Leading to the Spice Market and control of trade including the Dutch having control in much of Africa. America was being established with expansion of independence. Settlements started in the 1600's and the puritans started taking over. 1636 Harvard was established in America, very late after the scholarly places in Italy. The renaissance had scientific study. The baroque period really took advantage of the scientific method. There was also expansion of knowledge about the earth and sun. By using the telescopes, Galileo discovered that earth revolved around the sun.

1500 Catholic Church was threatened. in 1535-1563 Council of Trent was formed and combated the protestant threat. The uneducated masses was large so they were targeted because they could not read. the church used art to reach the unable to read. This started the art of the baroque. This art was filled with religious symbolism.

The Renaissance led to the contemporary world. Even today the Renaissance can be seen in the science and math as well as the idea of individualism.

Was the Renaissance a thing?

This video causes a person to think about art and how this time period is portrayed to students.

Personal Understanding

1: The music of this time was changing. I appreciate growth and growth can be seen in the invention of instruments. Before this time I imagine that music would lack variety based on just voices. The inventions of the instrument has laid way for the development of orchestras, dancing and even musical scores.

2: The art of this time was natural. The changing world had caused a change in the artists approach. There was a capture of beauty in the surroundings of the artist. God created such a beautiful earth and I appreciate art that captures that beauty

3: There is an amazing concept captured in this period. The idea of Humanism is very beautiful and I love that people were expanding their independence and love for one another. I realize how hard the artists work in their fields. I believe that they should be considered genius' and this period embraces that idea.

One artist that stood out to me was Leonardo Da Vinci. He truly embraced all aspects of the Renaissance. He not only was an amazingly famous artist. He also extended his understanding and knowledge of other things like science. He wanted to learn and I love when people want to learn. It shows that they don't want to waste their time on earth, but make the most of it.


The information for this Adobe project was extracted from many places. One educational reference is the lesson from class, 2016P1 HUMA-2003-GNO70 Survey of the Arts (10/24-12/10/16).

Another site that information was extracted from is Staff. (2010). Renaissance Art. Retrieved from

Information was also retrieved from this source, S. (2016). What are the important causes for the beginning of the Renaissance in Europe? Retrieved from

Other references include Renaissance Literature. (2016). Retrieved from

"The Italian Madrigal of the Renaissance." The Italian Madrigal of the Renaissance. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Dec. 2016.


Created with images by reginaspics - "cathedral of our lady antwerp belgium"

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