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The Northern Renaissance

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Presentation on theme: "The Northern Renaissance"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Northern Renaissance
In the 1400s, northern Europeans began to adapt the ideas of the Renaissance that began in Italy.

2 The Northern Renaissance Begins
Merchants from Italy began to carry the ideas of the Renaissance as they traveled into western Europe. Scholars were impressed by the humanist ideas and artists began to study in Italian cities.

3 France and England The ravages of the Bubonic Plague had greatly decreased the population of western Europe. The Hundred Years Was had devastated the land. As a result, there was a shift from rural to urban life. Cities grew rapidly, merchants became wealthy and the traditional feudal system was broken.

4 The Monarchs and the Renaissance
At this time, both France and England were unified nations under single monarchs where Italy was a combination of independent city-states. It was the rulers of France and England that sponsored the artists emerging in Northern Europe. They sponsored many Italian artists. The royal courts played an important role in bringing the Renaissance ideas into northern Europe.

5 Secular and Non-secular Renewal
The northern Renaissance, while inspired by Italy, took a different path. The Italian Renaissance was based on humanism (the expression of human achievement) while the northern Renaissance remained devoted to Christian values.

6 Artistic Ideas Spread In 1494, a French king claimed the throne of Naples and launched an attack through northern Italy. As a result of the turmoil, many artists and writers left Italy for a safer life in northern Europe. They took their artistic ideas with them.

7 Germanic Painters Albrect Dürer produced woodcuts and engravings that portrayed religious subjects. He also created prints that portrayed classical myths. He emphasized realism in his work.

8 Hans Holbein Holbein produced paintings with nearly a photographic quality. He specialized in painting the portraits of nobles and kings.



11 Flemish Painters Jan van Eyck began to use oil-based paints so he was able to blend his colors more easily. He created a variety of subtle colors in his paintings. This technique then spread to Italy.

12 Eyck’s Realism Eyck’s paintings displayed unusually realistic detail and personality of their subjects.




16 Pieter Bruegel Bruegel produced paintings that portrayed everyday events including peasant life, weddings, dances, harvests and the changing of the seasons. His paintings often illustrated proverbs or moral lessons.


18 Northern Writers Try to Reform Society
The reform attempted in northern Europe differed from that of Italy in that the reforms were based in Christian values. The reformers in northern Europe became known as “Christian Humanists”.

19 Christian Humanists Desiderius Erasmus, of Holland, wrote a book, The Praise of Folly, that poked fun at greedy merchants, heartsick lovers, quarrelsome scholars and pompous priests. He believed that Christianity dwelled in the hearts of man, not in the ceremonies performed in the name of Christianity. He believed that society would improve if people would read and live according to the Bible.

20 Thomas More More was concerned with the flaws he saw in society.
He wrote a book, “Utopia”, where greed, corruption, war and crime were weeded out of society.

21 Francois Rebelais Rebelais provided an alternative to More and Erasmus. He wrote about how humans are by nature good but that they are quickly made to feel guilty about seeking earthy pleasures. He believed that people should live by their instincts rather that by religious rules.

22 William Shakespeare Shakespeare was a famous English playwright who had an uncanny understanding of human beings. He revealed the souls of men and women through his dramas and tragedies. He also used comedy to poke fun at the flaws in society.

23 The Elizabethan Age Queen Elizabeth I was an educated woman who could speak French, Latin, Italian and Greek. She was a poet as well as head of state. She embodied the attributes of a Renaissance Woman.

24 Printing Spreads Renaissance Ideas
In 1045, movable type was invented in China. Through contact with Asia, the Europeans were exposed to new printing techniques.

25 Johann Gutenberg In 1440, Gutenberg adapted the Chinese movable print techniques. He invented the printing press, a machine that presses paper against a tray full of linked movable type. This invention allowed for very quick printing of multiple copies of text.


27 Gutenberg Bible The first book that was mass produced on Gutenberg’s printing press was the Gutenberg Bible in 1455.

28 Printing Spreads Learning
The printing press revolutionized learning in northern Europe because the press made printing inexpensive. Regular people were now able to afford to buy books. By 1500, over 10 million books had been printed and sold throughout Europe.

29 Writing in the Local Language
Ideas began to spread rapidly as writers wrote in a language the local people could understand. People began to educate themselves in reading and writing.

30 Interpretation Leads to Conflict
The best seller even back in the 14th Century was the Bible. It was written in many local languages. As people began to read the Bible, which before this was read to them in Latin by the priests, they began to interpret the Bible for themselves. This lead to criticism of the Church and the clergy and eventually led to major religious reform.

31 The End

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