The Renaissance By: Emily Vang

Marco Polo and the Silk Road

The reopening of the Silk Road sparked the Renaissance because of increased trade between Europe and Asia. Marco Polo was the person who made the Silk Road popular again. When Marco Polo and his family traveled to China, they were greeted by the emperor Kublai Khan and he made Marco Polo a government official. At China, Marco Polo spent 20 years as a messenger and traveled to places such as India and Southeast Asia as stated in page 300 in the textbook. He learned of products such as coal and paper money. When he came back to Venice, many people didn't believe he had gone to Asia at first. Then, it states," Polo's description made many Europeans curious about Asia. As their curiosity grew, people began to demand goods from Asia" (Holt 300). This quote shows that because Polo had gone to Asia and told people about his findings, it made people want to trade products from Asia. Europe traded with Asia so much that they became so rich with goods and products. In conclusion, the Renaissance was started with the help of Marco Polo regaining the popularity of the Silk Road.

Left: Marco Polo | Upper Right: routes Marco Polo took | Bottom Right: Marco Polo on his expedition

Italian Trade Cities

The Medici Family

Top: The Medici Palace | Left: A beautiful building the Medic Family built with their money | Right: Portraits of the Medici Family

Rediscovering the Past

Greek and Roman classical ideas help shape the development of the Renaissance because people discovered old ideas from the Greek and Roman time periods. Their interest on these two cultures began when they found many of their ancient writings that they believed were lost. The artists from the Renaissance wanted to not only show religious ideas but also the importance of people and nature which is called humanities. If you compared two statues, one from the Renaissance and one from classical times, you can see they are very similar. Both show the human body in lots of detail and both look like the statue could come to life any minute. In conclusion, Greek and Roman ideas were the inspiration for many great works of art in the Renaissance.

Three statues from the Renaisssance. You can see how lifelike and detailed they are.

Statues from the classical times. You can see how similar they look to Renaissance statues.

A painting from the Renaissance. The people appear realistic and have depth into them (3D).

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci designed countless numbers of inventions during his entire lifetime. Unfortunately, many of his inventions were actually never built; maybe because he gave up on them or he didn't have the money/tools to make it. Whatever the reason, all of Leonardo da Vinci's inventions have been recorded in his notebook. Some inventions include the ornithopter, parachute, and the aerial screw which was like a helicopter. In conclusion, Leonardo da Vinci designed many fascinating inventions in his notebook.

Left: A drawing from Leonardo da Vinci's notebook about the parachute he was designing | Top Right: A sketch on the aerial screw Leonardo da Vinci was creating | Bottom Right: Leonardo da Vinci's ideas on the ornithopter


The video will summarize Michelangelo's life and focuses on his three most famous works of art.

Paper and Printing: Johann Gutenberg

Upper Left: A painting that shows how monks used to copy books by hand | Bottom Left: A drawing that shows the letter blocks used to stamp the pages | Upper Right: A drawing that shows how the printing press would operate | Bottom Right: A picture of the inventor, Johann Gutenberg

When Johann Gutenberg invented his printing press/movable type, this changed the world of literature forever. Anybody; rich or poor, woman or man, educated or not, could now read books. Before the printing press, books were copied by hand and this made books very expensive. Only the rich or the clergy were able to read these books. After this invention, anyone could be educated and read books without spending a lot of money. To conclude, the printing press Johann Gutenberg made has had a positive impact on people because anybody could read.

Renaissance Writing: William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare's writing reflected the ideas of humanism because his writings emphasize that each human being is important. In the text it stated," Ever since, people have enjoyed the beauty of Shakespeare's language and his understanding of of humanity," and "Shakespeare compares people to the actors in a play who should be watched with great interest" (Holt 316). These two pieces of evidence support the claim that Shakespeare's writing showed that each human being is important because his writings made sure that everyone had potential. Also, his plays attracted so many people because anyone, whether they were rich or poor, were able to watch his plays. His writings attracted a wide audience as well because it was written in vernacular so that everyone could understand the language and not just in Latin. In conclusion, the work of William Shakespeare showed humanism because his works of literature showed that everyone was worth something.

To be, or not to be: that is the question. - William Shakespeare's Hamlet

A painting of one of Shakespeare's most famous work of literature, Romeo and Juliet.
A painting of As You Like It, another piece of literature from Shakespeare.

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