The Renaissance 1300 – 1700

Term generally used for periods that hark back to the culture of Classical antiquity Though it has applications elsewhere, it is most often used to refer to that era in Europe, beginning approximately in the 14th century, in which a new style in painting, sculpture and architecture was forged in succession to that of Gothic and in which, in a broader cultural sense, the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern age was made This period culminated in the High Renaissance, a brief phenomenon confined essentially to Italy in about the first two decades of the 16th century and supremely embodied in some of the work of that time by Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael Following this came that phase of the late Renaissance called ‘Mannerism’

The Renaissance began in Florence, in the 14th century Various theories have been proposed to account for its origins and characteristics, focusing on a variety of factors including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time: its political structure; the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici; and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks Other major centres were northern Italian city-states such as Venice, Genoa, Milan, Bologna, and finally Rome during the Renaissance Papacy

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The Italian artist and critic Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574) first used the term rinascita retrospectively in his book The Lives of the Artists (published 1550) In the book Vasari attempted to define what he described as a break with the barbarities of gothic art: the arts (he held) had fallen into decay with the collapse of the Roman Empire and only the Tuscan artists, beginning with Cimabue (1240–1301) and Giotto (1267–1337) began to reverse this decline in the arts Vasari saw antique art as central to the rebirth of Italian art

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence was felt in literature, philosophy, art, music, politics, science, religion, and other aspects of intellectual inquiry Renaissance scholars employed the humanist method in study, and searched for realism and human emotion in art

Renaissance was a cultural “advance” from the Middle Ages, instead seeing it as a period of pessimism and nostalgia for classical antiquity, while social and economic historians, especially of the longue durée, have instead focused on the continuity between the two eras, which are linked, as Panofsky observed, “by a thousand ties”

As a cultural movement, the Renaissance encompassed innovative flowering of Latin and vernacular literatures, beginning with the 14th-century resurgence of learning based on classical sources, which contemporaries credited to Petrarch; the development of linear perspective and other techniques of rendering a more natural reality in painting; and gradual but widespread educational reform In politics, the Renaissance contributed to the development of the customs and conventions of diplomacy, and in science to an increased reliance on observation and inductive reasoning Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term “Renaissance man”

The Renaissance is a new thinking became manifest in art, architecture, politics, science and literature Early examples were the development of perspective in oil painting and the recycled knowledge of how to make concrete Although the invention of metal movable type sped the dissemination of ideas from the later 15th century, the changes of the Renaissance were not uniformly experienced across Europe