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The main events in the renaissance



Renaissance, literally ―rebirth,‖ the period in European civilization immediately following the
Middle Ages and conventionally held to have been characterized by a surge of interest in Classical
learning and values. The Renaissance also witnessed the discovery and exploration of new
continents, the substitution of the Copernican for the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the decline
of the feudal system and the growth of commerce, and the invention or application of such
potentially powerful innovations as paper, printing, the mariner’s compass, and gunpowder. To the
scholars and thinkers of the day, however, it was primarily a time of the revival of Classical
learning and wisdom after a long period of cultural decline and stagnation
Origins and rise of humanism
The term Middle Ages was coined by scholars in the 15th century to designate the interval
between the downfall of the Classical world of Greece and Rome and its rediscovery at the
beginning of their own century, a revival in which they felt they were participating. Indeed, the
notion of a long period of cultural darkness had been expressed by Petrarch even earlier. Events at
the end of the Middle Ages, particularly beginning in the 12th century, set in motion a series of
social, political, and intellectual transformations that culminated in the Renaissance. These
included the increasing failure of the Roman Catholic Church and the Holy Roman Empire to
provide a stable and unifying framework for the organization of spiritual and material life, the rise
in importance of city-states and national monarchies, the development of national languages, and
the breakup of the old feudal structures.
While the spirit of the Renaissance ultimately took many forms, it was expressed earliest by the
intellectual movement called humanism. Humanism was initiated by secular men of letters rather
than by the scholar-clerics who had dominated medieval intellectual life and had developed the
Scholastic philosophy. Humanism began and achieved fruition first in Italy. Its predecessors were
men like Dante and Petrarch, and its chief protagonists included Gianozzo Manetti, Leonardo Bruni,
Marsilio Ficino, Pico della Mirandola, Lorenzo Valla, and Coluccio Salutati. The fall of Constantinople
in 1453 provided humanism with a major boost, for many eastern scholars fled to Italy, bringing
with them important books and manuscripts and a tradition of Greek scholarship.
Humanism had several significant features. First, it took human nature in all of its various
manifestations and achievements as its subject. Second, it stressed the unity and compatibility of
the truth found in all philosophical and theological schools and systems, a doctrine known as
syncretism. Third, it emphasized the dignity of man. In place of the medieval ideal of a life of
penance as the highest and noblest form of human activity, the humanists looked to the struggle
of creation and the attempt to exert mastery over nature. Finally, humanism looked forward to a
rebirth of a lost human spirit and wisdom. In the course of striving to recover it, however, the
humanists assisted in the consolidation of a new spiritual and intellectual outlook and in the
development of a new body of knowledge. The effect of humanism was to help men break free
from the mental strictures imposed by religious orthodoxy, to inspire free inquiry and criticism, and
to inspire a new confidence in the possibilities of human thought and creations.
From Italy the new humanist spirit and the Renaissance it engendered spread north to all parts of
Europe, aided by the invention of printing, which allowed literacy and the availability of Classical
texts to grow explosively. Foremost among northern humanists was Desiderius Erasmus, whose
Praise of Folly (1509) epitomized the moral essence of humanism in its insistence on heartfelt
goodness as opposed to formalistic piety. The intellectual stimulation provided by humanists
helped spark the Reformation, from which, however, many humanists, including Erasmus, recoiled.
By the end of the 16th century the battle of Reformation and Counter-Reformation had
commanded much of Europe’s energy and attention, while the intellectual life was poised on the
brink of the Enlightenment.

Artistic developments and the emergence of Florence
It was in art that the spirit of the Renaissance achieved its sharpest formulation. Art came to be
seen as a branch of knowledge, valuable in its own right and capable of providing man with
images of God and his creations as well as with insights into man’s position in the universe. In the
hands of men like Leonardo da Vinci it was even a science, a means for exploring nature and a
record of discoveries. Art was to be based on the observation of the visible world and practiced
according to mathematical principles of balance, harmony, and perspective, which were developed
at this time. In the works of painters such as Masaccio, the brothers Lorenzetti, Fra Angelico,
Botticelli, Perugino, Piero della Francesca, Raphael, and Titian; sculptors such as Pisano, Donatello,
Verrocchio, Ghiberti, and Michelangelo; and architects such as Alberti, Brunelleschi, Palladio,
Michelozzo, and Filarete, the dignity of man found expression in the arts.
In Italy the Renaissance proper was preceded by an important ―proto-renaissance‖ in the late 13th
and early 14th centuries, which drew inspiration from Franciscan radicalism. St. Francis had
rejected the formal Scholasticism of the prevailing Christian theology and gone out among the
poor praising the beauties and spiritual value of nature. His example inspired Italian artists and
poets to take pleasure in the world around them. The work of the most famous artist of the proto-
renaissance period, Giotto (1266/67 or 1276–1337), reveals a new pictorial style that depends on
clear, simple structure and great psychological penetration rather than on the flat, linear
decorativeness and hierarchical compositions of his predecessors and contemporaries, such as the
Florentine painter Cimabue and the Siennese painters Duccio and Simone Martini. The great poet
Dante lived at about the same time as Giotto, and his poetry shows a similar concern with inward
experience and the subtle shades and variations of human nature. Although his Divine Comedy
belongs to the Middle Ages in its plan and ideas, its subjective spirit and power of expression look
forward to the Renaissance. Petrarch and Boccaccio also belong to this proto-renaissance period,
both through their extensive studies of Latin literature and through their writings in the vernacular.
Unfortunately, the terrible plague of 1348 and subsequent civil wars submerged both the revival of
humanistic studies and the growing interest in individualism and naturalism revealed in the works
of Giotto and Dante. The spirit of the Renaissance did not surface again until the 15th century.
In 1401 a competition was held at Florence to award the commission for bronze doors to be
placed on the baptistery of San Giovanni. Defeated by the goldsmith and painter Lorenzo Ghiberti,
Filippo Brunelleschi and Donatello left for Rome, where they immersed themselves in the study of
ancient architecture and sculpture. When they returned to Florence and began to put their
knowledge into practice, the rationalized art of the ancient world was reborn. The founder of
Renaissance painting was Masaccio (1401–28). The intellectuality of his conceptions, the
monumentality of his compositions, and the high degree of naturalism in his works mark Masaccio
as a pivotal figure in Renaissance painting. The succeeding generation of artists—Piero della
Francesca, Pollaiuolo, and Verrochio—pressed forward with researches into linear and aerial
perspective and anatomy, developing a style of scientific naturalism.
The situation in Florence was uniquely favourable to the arts. The civic pride of Florentines found
expression in statues of the patron saints commissioned from Ghiberti and Donatello for niches in
the grain-market guildhall known as Or San Michele, and in the largest dome built since antiquity,
placed by Brunelleschi on the Florence cathedral. The cost of construction and decoration of
palaces, churches, and monasteries was underwritten by wealthy merchant families, chief among
whom were the Medici family.
The Medici traded in all of the major cities in Europe, and one of the most famous masterpieces of
Northern Renaissance art, The Portinari Altarpiece, by Hugo van der Goes (c. 1476; Uffizi,
Florence), was commissioned by their agent, Tommaso Portinari. Instead of being painted with the
customary tempera of the period, the work is painted with translucent oil glazes that produce
brilliant jewel-like colour and a glossy surface. Early Northern Renaissance painters were more

concerned with the detailed reproduction of objects and their symbolic meaning than with the
study of scientific perspective and anatomy even after these achievements became widely known.
On the other hand, central Italian painters began to adopt the oil medium soon after The Portinari
Altarpiece was brought to Florence in 1476.
The High Renaissance
High Renaissance art, which flourished for about 35 years, from the early 1490s to 1527, when
Rome was sacked by imperial troops, revolved around three towering figures: Leonardo da Vinci
(1452–1519), Michelangelo (1475–1564), and Raphael (1483–1520). Each of the three embodied
an important aspect of the period: Leonardo was the ultimate Renaissance man, a solitary genius
to whom no branch of study was foreign; Michelangelo emanated creative power, conceiving vast
projects that drew for inspiration on the human body as the ultimate vehicle for emotional
expression; Raphael created works that perfectly expressed the Classical spirit—harmonious,
beautiful, and serene.
Although Leonardo was recognized in his own time as a great artist, his restless researches into
anatomy, the nature of flight, and the structure of plant and animal life left him little time to paint.
His fame rests on a few completed works; among them are the Mona Lisa (1503–05, Louvre), The
Virgin of the Rocks (c. 1485, Louvre), and the sadly deteriorated fresco The Last Supper (1495–98,
Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan).
Michelangelo’s early sculpture, such as the Pietà (1499, St. Peter’s, Rome) and the David (1501–
04, Accademia, Florence), reveals a breathtaking technical ability in concert with a disposition to
bend rules of anatomy and proportion in the service of greater expressive power. Although
Michelangelo thought of himself first as a sculptor, his best known work is the giant ceiling fresco
of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican, Rome. It was completed in four years, from 1508 to 1512, and
presents an incredibly complex but philosophically unified composition that fuses traditional
Christian theology with Neoplatonic thought.
Raphael’s greatest work, The School of Athens (1508–11), was painted in the Vatican at the same
time that Michelangelo was working on the Sistine Chapel. In this large fresco Raphael brought
together representatives of the Aristotelian and Platonic schools of thought. Instead of the densely
packed, turbulent surface of Michelangelo’s masterpiece, Raphael placed his groups of calmly
conversing philosophers and artists in a vast court with vaults receding into the distance. Raphael
was initially influenced by Leonardo, and he incorporated the pyramidal composition and
beautifully modelled faces of The Virgin of the Rocks into many of his own paintings of the
Madonna. He differed from Leonardo, however, in his prodigious output, his even temperament,
and his preference for Classical harmony and clarity.
The creator of High Renaissance architecture was Donato Bramante (1444–1514), who came to
Rome in 1499, when he was 55. His first Roman masterpiece, the Tempietto (1502) at S. Pietro in
Montorio, is a centralized dome structure that recalls Classical temple architecture. Pope Julius II
(reigned 1503–13) chose Bramante to be papal architect, and together they devised a plan to
replace the 4th-century Old St. Peter’s with a new church of gigantic dimensions. The project was
not completed, however, until long after Bramante’s death.
Humanistic studies continued under the powerful popes of the High Renaissance, Julius II and Leo
X, as did the development of polyphonic music. The Sistine Choir, which performed at services
when the pope officiated, drew musicians and singers from all of Italy and northern Europe.
Among the most famous composers who became members were Josquin des Prez (1445–1521)
and Palestrina (1525–84).

Competition from Mannerism
The Renaissance as a unified historical period ended with the fall of Rome in 1527. The strains
between Christian faith and Classical humanism led to Mannerism in the latter part of the 16th
century. Great works of art animated by the Renaissance spirit, however, continued to be made in
northern Italy and in northern Europe.
Seemingly unaffected by the Mannerist crisis, northern Italian painters such as Correggio (1494–
1534) and Titian (1488/90–1576) continued to celebrate both Venus and the Virgin Mary without
apparent conflict. The oil medium, introduced to northern Italy by Antonello da Messina and
quickly adopted by Venetian painters who could not use fresco because of the damp climate,
seemed particularly adapted to the sanguine, pleasure-loving culture of Venice. A succession of
brilliant painters—Giovanni Bellini, Giorgione, Titian, Tintoretto, and Veronese—developed the
lyrical Venetian painting style that combined pagan subject matter, sensuous handling of colour
and paint surface, and a love of extravagant settings. Closer in spirit to the more intellectual
Florentines of the Quattrocento was the German painter Albrecht Dürer (1471–1528), who
experimented with optics, studied nature assiduously, and disseminated his powerful synthesis of
Renaissance and Northern Gothic styles through the Western world by means of his engravings
and woodcuts.
The Renaissance was a time of ―rebirth‖ for Europe. Europeans rediscovered logic and the arts
during this important time period. Many museums in Europe focus on the collections of famous
Renaissance artists like Michelangelo or Leonardo Da Vinci. Without this time period, the world
would still be stuck in the dark ages without government and advancement. 73873685
The dark ages emerged after the fall of the great Roman Empire. The Roman Empire was the
largest and strongest Empire the world had ever seen. Seeing it fall was shocking to the people of
Europe. The people turned to the teachings Augustine. He was a very influential religious leader.
He said there were the city of God and the city of man. He taught that people should not focus on
the material world because it didn’t matter. He said the people should focus on the spiritual world
because in the end, the world of God was more important.
During these dark ages, the only educated people lived in remote mountains in monasteries. Most
of the world was illiterate and followed Augustine’s teachings so they did not focus on rebuilding
civilization. All advancement came to a halt after the fall of the Roman Empire.
The Renaissance emerged from Humanism, the study of the classic Latin arts. Islamic knowledge
was also re-discovered at the time as well. Humanism was the beginning of study again. Latin law
was re-established and education became important.

The Printing Press
The renaissance was when Europe came out of the dark ages and started to advance again.
Johann Gutenberg invented the first printing press. The printing press made it easier to record
information and communicate information. The first bibles were printed. Soon after, books were
printed which helped with education and the spreading of information and discoveries.
The Renaissance brought the study of medicine as well. In the dark ages, people blamed sickness
on demons and curses. Leonardo Da Vinci was not only an artist, but he was a scientist, and a
revolutionary one. He was one of the first to study anatomy, the human brain and pregnancy. The
study of medicine and working to cure all kinds of illnesses is one of the most important and

essential studies even today. Without the Renaissance, we would still be in the dark ages. The
Renaissance brought education and discovery to Europe and from Europe, the whole world.
Renaissance Begins 1 Jan 1350
The age of the Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned the period roughly from the
14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest
of Europe. Also included a huge artistic movement.
Bubonic Plauge Begins 1 Jan 1347
The Black Plauge killed about 1.5 million people from the total 4 million in Europe in that time.
Since there was no medical knowledge about the disease, there was no way of stopping it from
spreading and killing.
Brunelleschi creates linear perspective 1 Jan 1420
Brunelleschi is famous for two panel paintings illustrating geometric optical linear perspective
made in the early 1400s. His biographer, Antonio Manetti, described this famous experiment in
which Brunelleschi painted two panels: the first of the Florentine Baptistery as viewed frontally
from the western portal of the unfinished cathedral, and second the Palazzo Vecchio as seen
obliquely from its northwest corner.
Joan of Arc and the Siege of Orleans 1 Jan 1428
The Siege of Orléans (1428–1429) marked a turning point in the Hundred Years' War between
France and England. This was Joan of Arc's first major[5] military victory and the first major
French success to follow the crushing defeat at Agincourt in 1415.
Johann Gutenberg invents the printing press 1 Jan 1445
Johann's invention of mechanical movable type printing started the Printing Revolution and is
widely regarded as the most important event of the modern period.It played a key role in the
development of the Renaissance, Reformation, the Age of Enlightenment and the Scientific
Revolution and laid the material basis for the modern knowledge-based economy and the spread
of learning to the masses.
Cosimo de Medici Dies 1 Jan 1464
Cosimo died on August first, 1464 he was the first of the Medici political dynasty, de facto rulers of
Florence during much of the Italian Renaissance; also known as "Cosimo 'the Elder'" and "Cosimo
Pater Patriae" (Latin: 'father of the nation'). After his death the Signoria awarded him the title
Pater Patriae, "Father of his Country"
Spanish Inquisition Begins 1 Jan 1478
The Spanish Inquisition was used for both political and religious reasons. Following the Crusades
and the Reconquest of Spain by the Christian Spaniards the leaders of Spain needed a way to
unify the country into a strong nation.
Sandro Botticelli paints Birth of Venus 1 Jan 1486

Painting Sandro Botticelli. It depicts the goddess Venus, having emerged from the sea as a fully
grown woman, arriving at the sea-shore (which is related to the Venus Anadyomene motif). The
painting is held in the Uffizi Gallery in Florence.

Columbus Discovers the America's 1 Jan 149
At 2am on October 12th 1492, a sailor aboard the Pinta by the name of Rodrigo de Triana
shouted, ―Tierra! Tierra!‖ For his sighting of land, he should have received a yearly pension for
the rest of his life. But the Admiral of the three-ship fleet would later tell his benefactors,
Ferdinand and Isabella, that he had himself seen a light the evening before and claimed the
reward for himself. Thus, inauspiciously, began Christopher Columbus’s ―discovery‖ of the New
Raphael paints The School of Athens 1 Jan 1511
One of the most famous frescoes by the Italian Renaissance artist Raphael. It was painted as a
part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms now known as the Stanze di
Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. The School of Athens the second painting to be
finished there, after La Disputa, on the opposite wall. The picture has long been seen as
"Raphael's masterpiece and the perfect embodiment of the classical spirit of the High
Michelangelo paints the Sistine Chapel 1 Jan 1514
The painting is a cornerstone work of High Renaissance art. The ceiling is that of the large Papal
Chapel built within the Vatican The ceiling's various painted elements form part of a larger scheme
of decoration within the Chapel, which includes the large fresco The Last Judgment on the
sanctuary wall, also by Michelangelo.
Thomas More Utopia 1 Jan 1514
The book, written in Latin, is a frame narrative primarily depicting a fictional island society and its
religious, social and political customs. A 'Utopia"' refers to a perfect society or world. (so no war,
poverty etc. So this book is about a perfect place more or less.
Martin Luther 95 Theses 1 Jan 1517
The Ninety-Five Theses on the Power and Efficacy of Indulgences also known as, The Ninety-Five
Theses, was written by Martin Luther, 1517 and is widely regarded as the primary catalyst for the
Protestant Reformation. The disputation protests against clerical abuses, especially the sale of
Start of European Wars of Religion 1 Jan 1524
The European wars of religion were a series of wars waged in Europe from ca. 1524 to 1648,
following the onset of the Protestant Reformation in Western and Northern Europe. Although
sometimes unconnected, all of these wars were strongly influenced by the religious change of the
period, and the conflict and rivalry that it produced.

Ivan the Terrible is born 1 Jan 1530
Ivan was Grand Prince of Moscow from 1533 until his death. His long reign saw the conquest of
the Khanates of Kazan, Astrakhan, and Siberia, Ivan managed countless changes in the
progression from a medieval state to an empire and emerging regional power, and became the
first ruler to be crowned as Tsar of All Russia. Historic sources present disparate accounts of Ivan's
complex personality: described as smart, but had a bad temper and mental illnesses.
Machiavelli writes The Prince 1 Jan 1532
The book is a political treatise by the Italian diplomat, historian and political theorist Niccolò
Machiavelli. From correspondence a version appears to have been distributed in 1513, using a
Latin title, De Principatibus (About Principalities). But the printed version was not published until
1532, five years after Machiavelli's death.
Henry VIII of England Excommunicated 1 Jan 1533
The pope excommunicated Henry VIII because he refused to submit to papal authority. He
challenged the church's decision not allowing him to divorce Catherine of Aragon, and in doing so
proclaiming himself leader of the church in England, thus being able to make his own decisions
regarding his divorce.
Desiderius Erasmus dies 1 Jan 1536
Erasmus was a classical scholar who wrote in a pure Latin style. He was an early proponent of
religious toleration, and enjoyed the sobriquet "Prince of the Humanists"; he has been called "the
crowning glory of the Christian humanists." Using humanist techniques for working on texts, he
prepared important new Latin and Greek editions of the New Testament.
Jesuit Order founded by Ignatius Loyola 1 Jan 1543
Ignatius Loyola founded the Jesuits (the Society of Jesus). The Jesuits were one of the major
spearheads of the Counter-Reformation. The work done by Ignatius Loyola was seen as an
important counter to Martin Luther and John Calvin.
Jesuit Order founded by Ignatius Loyola 1 Jan 1543
Ignatius Loyola founded the Jesuits (the Society of Jesus). The Jesuits were one of the major
spearheads of the Counter-Reformation. The work done by Ignatius Loyola was seen as an
important counter to Martin Luther and John Calvin.
Spain declares Bankruptcy for the first time 1 Jan 1557
Philip II of Spain had to declare four state bankruptcies in 1557, 1560, 1575 and 1596. Spain
became the first sovereign nation in history to declare bankruptcy.
Coronation of Queen Elizabeth I 1 Jan 1558
Elizabeth I was crowned Queen. She was the third of Henry VIII’s children to become monarch
and she was the last of the Tudor dynasty.Elizabeth had inherited the throne from her half-sister
Mary I, who had died on the 17th November 1558.
Saint Bartholomew's Massacre 1 Jan 1572

The St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in 1572 was a targeted group of assassinations, followed by
a wave of Roman Catholic mob violence, both directed against the Huguenots, during the French
Wars of Religion. Traditionally believed to have been instigated by Catherine de' Medici. The
Massacre is unknown to exactly how many deaths it caused, but the guess is anywhere between
5,000 and 30,000.
Edict of Nantes 1 Jan 1589
Issued by Henry IV of France, granted the Calvinist Protestants of France (also known as
Huguenots) substantial rights in a nation still considered essentially Catholic. In the Edict, Henry
aimed primarily to promote civil unity.The Edict separated civil from religious unity, treated some
Protestants for the first time as more than mere schismatics and heretics, and opened a path for
secularism and tolerance.
Da Vinci paints the Last Supper 1 Jan 1595
A 15th century mural painting in Milan created by Leonardo da Vinci for his patron Duke Ludovico
Sforza and his duchess Beatrice d'Este. It represents the scene of The Last Supper from the final
days of Jesus as it is told in the Gospel of John 13:21, when Jesus announces that one of his
Twelve Apostles would betray him.

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