RenaissanceReviewTitle.gif (8116 bytes)

Main Themes:

1. Why was the Renaissance a turning point in the development of Western civilization? Why was
    it a "rebirth"?
2. How was the Renaissance in Italy different from that in Northern Europe? How was it the same?
3. How did the Catholic Church loose the dominant position it had had during the medieval period
    in the Renaissance?

I. The Renaissance as the bridge between the medieval and the modern world.



philosophy:   scholasticism. humanism.
economics:   manorialism.
barter economy.
merchant princes of Italy.
money economy.
beginnings of Commercial
politics:   feudalism. city-states of Northern Italy.
rise of modern nation-states in
     Northern Europe.
the arts:   stylized, religious themes. harmony, balance, proportion.
modelled after ancient Greece
     and Rome.
classicism revised.
religion:   domination of Catholic Church. individual interpretation of the
classical literary criticism.
groundwork laid for Prot. Reform.
society:   chivalry.
feudal class structure.

II. Major Upheavals of the Lat 14c-Early 15c --> Period of "creative breakup"
                                                                          (The Calamitous 14c -- Barbara Tuchman)
        A.  Hundred years' War --> the rise of the modern nation-state.
        B.  Black Death --> economic and social upheaval.
        C.  Avignon papacy and the Conciliar Movement --> breakup of papal power.

III. Italian Renaissance:
        A.  "pagan" humanism
                -- revival of interest in the Greek and Roman classics.
                -- enjoyment of worldly pleasures.
                -- vernacular literature --> Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, etc.
l'uomo universale --> concept of the universal, "Renaissance Person".
                -- Castiglione's The Book of the Courtier
                -- Leonardo Da Vinci
                -- Michelangelo
                -- Isabella d'Este
        C.  great Italian cities
                -- Florence --> the "heart" of Italian Renaissance culture.
                -- Venice --> the main center of Italian Renaissance trade.
                -- Rome --> still spiritual capital of Christendom (corrupt popes -- ex., Alexander VI)
        D.  Italian politics --> Machiavelli's The Prince
                -- the "merchant" princes (Medici family).
                -- despots (Caesare Borgia).
machiavellianism and virtu.
        E.  Art -->
Quattrocento and the High Renaissance
                -- the different artistic styles of the two periods??
                -- how did these styles and the artistic themes of the paintings and sculpture reflect the
                   philosophy of Renaissance humanism??

IV. The Northern Renaissance:
        A.  "Christian" humanism
                -- Desiderius Erasmus --> In Praise of Folly
                -- Thomas More --> Utopia
                -- Rabelais  --> Gargantua
                -- Cervantes --> Don Quijote
                -- Michel de Montaigne --> Essays (skepticism)
                -- a trace of mysticism
                -- criticisms of the Church, but WITHIN the Church.
        B.  Gutenberg --> printing press --> What were its effects on the spread of humanist ideas??
        C.  vernacular writing --> Shakespeare, Cervantes, Rabelais.
        D.  the arts:
                -- differences in artistic style between Northern Europe and Italy??
                -- the Flemish School --> Jan van Eyck, Hans Holbein, Rembrandt, etc.

V. The Decline of the Renaissance Church:

        A.  general symptoms of failure??
        B.  the rise of national churches in England, France, Spain, Italy, and the Germanies (as a
             result of the breakdown in old feudal ties and obligations).
        C.  Conciliar movement.
        D.  indulgence controversy.


l'uomo universale