In an effort to learn, people began to want to understand the world around them. This study of the world and how it works was the start of a new age of science. Science and Art Science and art were very closely related during this time. Great artists, such as Leonardo da Vinci, would study anatomy to better understand the body so they could create better paintings and sculptures.
The Beginning of a New Age. The renaissance or rebirth is an Italian idea, and the Italian Renaissance generally covers the periods from the beginning of the fourteenth century to the end of the sixteenth century. The debate on it's beginning and end is largely immaterial, but for the purposes of this site we will begin at the start of the fourteenth.
The renaissance marked a great cultural change throughout the whole of Europe and is viewed as a bridge between the medieval and modern ages. The poet, historian and philosopher, Francesco Petrarch was one of the leading lights of the movement. It was this explosion of free thinking that eventually spread to the artists and architects of the fifteenth century.
The independent cities of central and northern Italy with their politically and economically successful institutions such as banking, workshops and universities provided ideal conditions for the emergence of Humanism.
Beginning in Italy the new thinking eventually spread to the rest of Europe. The fourteenth century, or Trecento, artists shed the mosaics associated with the Byzantine period and took inspiration from classical Greek and Roman sculptors. Typical Byzantine Mosaic 8th century. The Roman Empire was the centre of world civilization until its demise in Europe had entered the Middle Ages or Dark Ages lasting for a thousand years.
The lessons of classical antiquity, Greek and Roman sculpture, architecture and literature did not surface again until the start of the Renaissance in Italy. The beginnings of the Italian Renaissance centred on Tuscany and on Florence in particular.
The Italians of the period considered themselves to be living in a golden age, superior to anything since the fall of the roman empire a thousand years earlier, with painting, sculpture, music, poetry and architecture all awakening to a revival after sleeping for centuries. Italian Renaissance Art began with Giotto c.
Giotto made advances in representing the human body in a more realistic way, and his technique was the first to realise this change since the times of classical antiquity. Renaissance Influences and events. Florence was a major financial centre and, for around sixty years, was dominated by the Medici family.
The Medici became patrons of art and lie at the heart of the early Renaissance.
Go to the Medici page to see just how important their patronage was. It is largely due to the Italian painter and architect Giorgio Vasari that we have such a wealth of information about the artists of the Italian Renaissance.
His biographies have given us a valuable insight into the lives of the painters of the period and his influence cannot be overlooked. The Black Death of swept across Europe and it has been estimated that one third of the population died as a result of this pandemic. This decline in population continued and in the population of Europe was around half of what it had been in the early part of the fourteenth century.
This almost unique slump in population resulted in major cultural changes, land became more abundant and labour became scarcer.
This led to a society dependant on trade and industrial enterprise rather than on a land and rent based system. The result was that the innovation started by Giotto was not taken up again until much later by such artists as MasaccioDonatelloand Brunelleschi.
Brunelleschi's Dome of Florence Cathedral. Almost all of the art of the period has a religious theme with scenes from the bible taking prominence. Brunelleschi was responsible for the emergence of both renaissance architecture and perspective drawing, his work had a profound influence on the sculptors and painters of the day.
Donatello, along with his contemporary Ghiberti, was the greatest sculptor of the fifteenth century, he produced a range of astonishing work over a sixty-year period.
Masaccio was the most accomplished painter of the early fifteenth century. His paintings incorporate the lessons learned from his personal connections with Brunelleschi and Donatello. Following in the footsteps of Masaccio, Brunelleschi and Donatello came a succession of artists who produced work of outstanding quality.
The printing press and availability of books. The printing press was invented by Gutenberg who lived in Strasbourg in the 's. Before the printing press written works had been confined to manuscripts, Gutenberg's invention led to the production of affordable books that could be widely distributed on a scale that had been unimaginable previously.
Small editions of the classics begin to appear inchampioned by the printer Aldus Manutius in Venice. The Papacy was in exile in Avignon and it is only when Rome was once again the seat of the rejuvenated Papacy that Italy's leadership began to pass to that city.
The Early Italian Renaissance gave rise to many innovations in medicine and science and literature. The generation of artists after culminated in the flowering of the arts known as the High Renaissance and included such greats as MichelangeloLeonardo and Raphael. The High Renaissance features on this site, as an article in it's own right.Works produced during this period include Jan van Eyck's "Adoration of the Lamb" (), Leon Battista Alberti's essay on perspective called "On Painting" (), and his essay "On the Family" in , which provided a model for what Renaissance marriages should be.
Near the end of the Renaissance, the scientific revolution began. This was a time of great strides in science and mathematics. Scientists like Francis Bacon, Galileo, Rene Descartes, and Isaac Newton made discoveries that would change the world.
16th century mathematics The supermagic square shown in Albrecht Dürer's engraving "Melencolia I" The cultural, intellectual and artistic movement of the Renaissance, which saw a resurgence of learning based on classical sources, began in Italy around the 14th Century, and gradually spread across most of Europe over the next two centuries.
Most of the scientific advances during the Renaissance were made by scholastic thinkers and not humanists. The humanists, and their inherent dislike for ordered, logical thought may actually have slowed the advance of science. During the Middle Ages, a period that took place between the fall of ancient Rome in A.D.
and the beginning of the 14th century, Europeans made few advances in science and art. Italian Renaissance History. The Beginning of a New Age.
The renaissance (or rebirth) is an Italian idea, and the Italian Renaissance generally covers the periods from the beginning of the fourteenth century to the end of the sixteenth century.