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The Renaissance in Italy and Northern Europe I The Emergence of Liberal Humanism WHGCE Era 5 Craig Benjamin.

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Presentation on theme: "The Renaissance in Italy and Northern Europe I The Emergence of Liberal Humanism WHGCE Era 5 Craig Benjamin."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Renaissance in Italy and Northern Europe I The Emergence of Liberal Humanism WHGCE Era 5 Craig Benjamin

2 Introduction During the 14th and 15th Centuries, intellectuals in Europe began to think of the previous 1000 years since the fall of Rome as the Dark Ages They saw this as a period of cultural stagnation in contrast to both the classical age that had preceded it, and their own age, which seemed to be enlightened and modern in comparison Thinkers of this new era called themselves humanists and dedicated themselves to the recovery and transmission of the cultural and artistic heritage of Greece and Rome They believed they were living through a cultural revolution that was associated with a rebirth of classical learning – renaissance means rebirth

3 Revolution or Continuity? Historians have called this period the Renaissance and discussed it as a distinct revolution that dramatically affected European culture Historians today realize that the Renaissance had its roots deep within the preceding Middle Ages, and now questioned the idea of a revolutionary rebirth, stressing instead the continuity of western civilization that simply evolved almost seamlessly into this age of enlightened humanism To that end, the first part of this lecture will look at the cultural achievements of the High Middle Ages, and consider whether intellectuals of that era were already staging a renaissance of their own Sandro Boticelli early 16 th C.

4 Rediscovery of the Classical Past But there is no doubt that the 14th Century witnessed an intensification of interest in classical literature and art, itself the product of a more outward looking and increasingly human- centered Europe Life was increasingly seen as something meaningful and fulfilling in its own right, not just as a temporary way- station on the road to eternity, as Christianity preached Scholars began to search monasteries for long-forgotten Latin and Greek masterpieces, and reintroduced classical learning back into the mainstream of Western thought At the same time, artists in Italy were stimulated and inspired by a study of classical art and architecture

5 Origins of the Modern World But the Renaissance was not just an attempt to slavishly copy and reinvent some ancient past The humanists that emerged were the forefathers of the modern world, widening and deepening the range of human interests, looking both backwards and forwards to the modern age with equal enthusiasm The Florentine thinker Alberti summarized the new confidence intellectuals felt in human potential by declaring that human beings could do all things if they only so desired The Renaissance was thus one of the major turning points in western history, challenging the beliefs and institutions of the Middle Ages, and setting human history off on a new trajectory of individualism, critical thinking and scientific enquiry that led directly into the modern age

6 To Include: Part One: Art, Culture and Education During the High Middle Ages Part Two: The Italian Renaissance Part Three: The Renaissance in Northern Europe

7 PART ONE: Art, Culture and Education During the High Middle Ages Education Before 12th C education carried out in church schools, but when the church began to limit admissions cathedral schools sprang up all over Europe Cathedral schools expanded their curriculums to include secular subjects, particularly classical literature Demand for professional studies in law, medicine and theology led to the emergence of universities (university = a group of people with a common purpose) Earliest universities (Bologna, Paris, Oxford) not officially founded but later popes and kings gave universities charters of self-government, granting them rights and elite legal status Uni of Bologna, 14 th C

8 Oxford University

9 Scholasticism Scholars in the 12th and 13th Centuries used logic and reason to attempt to understand the truth that they believed existed in Christian and classical literature Task carried out in schools – scholars used the method of Scholasticism Greatest thinker was Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica dealt with the great problems of theology, philosophy, politics and economics His goal was to reconcile Aristotelian philosophy with church dogma, arguing that there was no contradiction because ultimately all truth came from God anyway Thomas Aquinas ( )

10 Women and Learning Convents of Europe served as centers of learning for a select group of aristocratic and middle- class women who pursued both a devoted and intellectual life Outside of convents almost impossible for women to become scholars; the church declared a woman had to either be a housewife or virgin Some remarkable women made great advances in thinking, particularly the Benedictine nun Hildegard of Bingen ( ) A skilled composer of music, author of plays and religious works; also wrote scientific treatises which cataloged hundreds of plants and animals for their medicinal value Hildegard receives divine inspiration 12 th Century painting

11 Literature Latin the common tongue for educated people, providing intellectual cohesion; but by 12th C more literature written in native languages Song of Roland (French, late 11th C) tells of the retreat of Charlemagnes army from the Pyrenees Poema del Mio Cid (Spanish, 12th C) a stirring epic of chivalry Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri (Italian) an allegorical tale of medieval man moving from earth (hell) through conversion (purgatory) to union with God (paradise) Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer ( ) provides a cross-section of English life and though through a series of stories told by pilgrims journeying to the shrine of Becket at Canterbury Geoffrey Chaucer El Cid Dante

12 Cathedral Architecture Great revival in architecture took place from the 11th Century; new style later named Romanesque (based on Roman models) Round arch a standard feature; cathedrals symmetrical, had massive stone walls with small windows, and plain interiors

13 Gothic Cathedrals featured vaults with pointed arches; used flying buttresses to distribute weight more evenly, allowing for large stained glass windows and light and lofty interiors In the 12th and 13th Centuries the Gothic style emerged Interior and Exterior, Notre Dame, Paris Cathedrals featured vaults with pointed rather than rounded arches, and used flying buttresses to distribute weight more evenly, which allowed for large stained glass windows and light and lofty interiors

14 Castles and Towns Castle building reached a high point by the 13th Century with round towers and bastions along the walls; parts of the castle could be independently abandoned and defended By the late Middle Ages there was less need for castles and fortified towns, and increased wealth encouraged secular Gothic architecture Town halls and guild halls, and the chateaux of the nobility, all borrowed the delicate Gothic style to construct magnificent secular buildings Loire Valley Chateau 15 th Century

15 PART TWO: The Italian Renaissance Eventually the Middle Ages flowed seamlessly into the Renaissance, initially in Northern Italy The Renaissance a product of political, social and economic changes that began to emerge during the late Middle Ages Revival of towns and commerce in the 12th and 13th Centuries, and the emergence of a middle class, set in motion cultural forces that culminated in the Renaissance Renaissance Florence

16 Emergence of the Italian City-States Particularly obvious in the city states of northern Italy, which experienced tremendous growth after the Black Death Italian nobles joined the wealthy middle class to fight off intervention in their citys affairs from foreign invaders By 1300 most of the land of northern Italy owned by commercial farmers and merchants who produced food and goods for city markets and trade Export industries like cloth manufacturing in Florence (employed 30,000) ensured emergence of a pre-capitalist system in these cities

17 Merchant-capitalists accumulated so much wealth that they turned to money lending and banking; between the 13th and 15th Centuries Italians monopolized banking in Europe - Florentine Bank

18 Arts and Humanism Italian upper-class wealthy and self-confident: effected their attitude to art Elites paid sculptors and painters to produce their busts and portraits Architects constructed palaces for wealthy families like the Medici, Pitti, Strozzia and Pazzi (still standing today) Dominant, wealthy, accomplished urban elite also promoted humanism, which stressed both individualism and a social conscience As well as continued patronage of the Catholic church, the elites embraced increasingly secular values, and sought examples of this from the classical past Michelangelo – Slaves

19 Pitti Palace in Florence: Stateroom Interior

20 The Renaissance and Patronage Elites displayed their wealth by patronizing artists and intellectuals (who also received support from city governments) Renaissance artists enjoyed security and protection, living in the great palaces and working on commissioned works Contrasts with later periods in art, when artists would paint whatever they wanted to paint, and then try and sell them to buyers Famous patrons included the Medici (ruled Florence ) Lorenzo Medici added so much magnificence to his city that he came to be known as Lorenzo the Magnificent Renaissance popes also lavish patrons who made Rome the foremost western center for art and learning, employing artists like Michelangelo to beautify the city with magnificent sculpture and painting

21 Renaissance Patrons Cosimo Medici: Portrait by Bronzino Lorenzo the Magnificent: Marble bust by Donatello Tomb of Pope Julius II, Vatican: Sculpture by Michelangelo

22 Studia Humanitatis Middle Ages intellectuals interpreted literature and philosophy of the classical past through Christianity, distorting original intentions of Greeks and Romans In 14th Century Italy a new perspective and fresh appreciation of classical literature emerged Medieval teachers called themselves humanists from a phrase Romans used to describe liberal, literary education – studia humanitatis Medieval scholarship focused on logic and professional training in law, medicine and theology at the expense of the arts

23 Liberal Humanism Humanists reversed this and focused on the values of human existence (the humanities) – history, poetry, philosophy and art Humanists saw themselves equal to the ancients, rather than inferior as medieval scholars had believed Montaigne quoted from the ancients not because he agreed with them, but because they agreed with him!

24 Petrarch ( ) Petrarch known as the father of humanism Distressed by unrest in Italy in the 14th Century, he escaped into the literature of ancient Rome Fell in love with a married woman (Laura) and began to write superb lyric poetry, describing her as a flesh-and-blood human Then went through a period of inner conflict, torn by his feeling that mortal interest should come before his loyalty to Christianity Could not accept the Christian argument that the pursuit of individualism and human potential had to be subordinated to religion A line from the Roman poet Terrence was his motto: I am a man, and nothing human do I consider alien to myself

25 Giovanni Boccaccio ( ) Florentine romantic poet Boccaccio survived the Black Death (killed two-thirds of the population of Florence) and then used the event as the setting for the Decameron To escape the plague three young men and seven women seek seclusion in a villa where they entertain each other by telling 100 stories Stories ridicule the follies of knights and other middle ages people, and offer flesh-and-blood portraits of modern life Boccaccio then came under the influence of Petrarch and turned to the study of the ancient past, visiting monasteries in search of ancient manuscripts

26 The Search for Ancient Manuscripts Study of classical literature soon become a mania in Italy By mid-15th Century most of the surviving Latin texts had been found in monastic libraries Books had always been there, but medieval Scholasticists had not been interested Now well-educated nobles and merchants sought them out Greek classics brought to Italy in 1453 from Constantinople after that city fell to the Turks The Sinaiticus: An ancient Greek version of the New Testament preserved in a monastery

27 Revival of Platonism With the rediscovery of classical philosophy, humanists gravitated towards Platonism Cosimo Medici founded the Platonic Academy where Plato was studied in the original Greek, and translated into Latin Much like Thomas Aquinas had done, Neo-Platonists attempted to synthesize Platos philosophy with Christianity The term Platonic Love coined by Marsilio Ficino ( ) to describe an ideal, pure form of love Page of original manuscript of Ficinos Commentary on Plato, National Library of Hungary

28 Pico della Mirandola ( ) Mirandola had an insatiable appetite for knowledge - learned Latin, Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic to read everything he possible could Composed the essay Oration on the Dignity of Man – one of the defining works of Renaissance humanism He wrote: There is nothing to be seen more wonderful than man … To him it is granted to have whatever he chooses, to be whatever he wills

29 The Legacy of Humanism: Humanities v Science Humanism downgraded science (although Aristotelian natural philosophy remained a powerful alternative for many Renaissance intellectuals) This is the origin of the division between science and humanities that has continued to plague human knowledge ever since Top – Padnos Hall (Sciences) Below – Mackinaw Hall (Humanities) Grand Valley State University

30 Legacy of Humanism The Universal Man Educational goal of humanists (and the goal of liberal education today) is to cultivate the mind for individual happiness and to play an effective role in society Ideal person well-rounded, versatile, accomplished and socially assured – the uomo universale Universal Man (complete man) had to be capable in all aspects of human behavior, both intellectual and physical (including music, dancing and sports) reviving the classical ideal of a healthy mind and healthy body Leonardo da Vinci: Uomo Universale

31 Renaissance Women Wealthy Renaissance women took advantage of the new educational opportunities humanism afforded women Many became highly educated in Greek and Latin and produced outstanding literature, but were discouraged from pursuing a professional career Exception was Sofonisba Anguissola ( ), great female Renaissance artist whose work was highly regarded all over Europe Once she was appointed court painter to the Spanish court of King Philip II, male artists all over Europe became more willing to accept female students Sofonisba Anguissola: Self Portrait 1554

32 PART THREE – THE NORTHERN RENAISSANCE In time Italian Renaissance values spread to other parts of Europe, after hundreds of students from Europe enrolled at Italian universities When they returned home they took manuscripts by humanist writers, and scholars in the north were ready to welcome this new outlook The arrival of block-printing in Europe (following the work of Gutenberg in Germany in the 1440s) critical: up to 40,000 works of classical literature published between 1465 and 1500 Availability of printed texts profoundly influenced the evolution of intellectual life in Europe Model of Guttenbergs original printing press

33 Erasmus and Northern Humanism Dutch humanist Desiderius Erasmus ( ) dominated intellectual life in N. Europe in the first half of the 16th Century A cosmopolitan thinker, traveled all over Europe and corresponded with leading intellectuals of the day In The Praise of Folly (1511) Erasmus used satire to highlight both the achievements and faults of his age Erasmus balanced in his criticism, intolerant only of bigotry, ignorance, greed and violence, particularly amongst the clergy Where Italian humanists often wrote in praise of the elites in their city- states, Erasmus spoke out against a broad range of political evils Portrait of Erasmus (1517): Massays

34 Sir Thomas More and Utopia First major English humanist was Thomas More ( ) best known for his novel Utopia (Land of Nowhere) Criticized his own age by comparing it to an ideal world and way of life a fictitious sailor stumbles upon Contrasts the poverty and misery of ordinary people in his pre-capitalist age with a Utopian planned, cooperative economy Executed by King Henry VIII for treason, because he preferred a state headed by the pope rather than a secular king Original facsimile edition of Utopia

35 Rabelais Gargantua and Pantagruel Best known French humanist was Francois Rabelais ( ); his coarse and hilarious novel is Gargantua and Pantagruel Based on French folk tales, it recounts the exploits of the giants Gargantua and his son Pantagruel Rabelais satirized his own society (particularly its hypocrisy) while promoting humanist views on education and basic human goodness Pantagruel (left) and Gargantua (below) eating! Sketches by Honore Daumier

36 Montaigne ( ) Last notable northern humanist was the French skeptic Michel de Montaigne Montaigne retired from the practice of law aged 38 and developed a new literary form called the essay He wrote 94 essays containing his personal views on a wide range of subjects – leisure, friendship, education, philosophy, religion, death – advocating open-mindedness and tolerance Chateau de Montaigne, Normandy

37 Cervantes and Don Quixote ( ) Transition from feudalism to Renaissance brilliantly realized by the Spanish satirist Miguel de Cervantes in his masterpiece Don Quixote de la Mancha By Cervantes time knighthood was an anachronism, although chivalry retained an appeal By creating a tragic but appealing character who clung to this outmoded way of life, Cervantes exposed the inadequacies of chivalric idealism in a world that had acquired more practical aims Quixote roams the Spanish countryside attempting to right wrongs, accompanied by his modern and realistic squire Sancho Panza On the surface Quixote a ridiculous old man longing nostalgically for a lost way of life On a deeper level he embodies a set of ideals each of us would like to live by, but that we must compromise in the real world

38 The English Renaissance – William Shakespeare English Renaissance climaxed during the brilliant reign of Queen Elizabeth I ( ) which produced a number of gifted writers and composers Court served as a center for intellectual life; English writers produced works that were emotional, romantic, extravagant and profound Supreme figure in western literature is a product of this Elizabethan Renaissance – William Shakespeare ( ) Wax figure of Elizabeth I, Madame Tussauds

39 Shakespeare the Poet Shakespeare was one of the finest poets in the English language, renowned particularly for his Sonnets Sonnet XXIX When in disgrace with fortune and men's eyes I all alone beweep my outcast state, And trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries, And look upon myself and curse my fate, Wishing me like to one more rich in hope, Featur'd like him, like him with friends possess'd, Desiring this man's art, and that man's scope, With what I most enjoy contented least; Yet in these thoughts myself almost despising, Haply I think on thee, and then my state (Like to the lark at break of day arising From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate, For thy sweet love remember'd such wealth brings, That then I scorn to change my state with kings.

40 The Plays of Shakespeare Shakespeare most famous for his 37 plays – comedies, tragedies, histories and romances Mainly borrowed plots from earlier works, and then created superbly realized characters, translating his profound knowledge of human psychology into dramatic speech and action Particularly in his tragedies, Shakespeare expressed the Renaissance concern for human beings and their emotions The Globe Theater, London Twelfth Night Midsummer Nights Dream

41 The Tragedies Othello analyzes jealousy; Macbeth ambition; King Lear family relationships; Hamlet mans struggle with his very soul Shakespeare was able to make every aspect of human thought and action a universal truth; his observations as accurate today as they were four hundred years ago Next to the Bible, Shakespeare is the most quoted of all literary sources in the English language

42 Macbeth Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow Creeps in this petty pace from day to day To the last syllable of recorded time; And all our yesterdays have lighted fools The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player That struts and frets his hour upon the stage And then is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing.

43 Conclusion In the Middle Ages in Europe people thought of themselves as members of a community first – manor, a guild, a monastic order, the Church A new sense of secular individualism emerged that manifested itself in art, literature and learning during an era we call the Renaissance This first became apparent in the city states of northern Italy – an intellectual movement known as humanism – before spreading to various other parts of Europe The next lecture considers the extraordinary achievements of Renaissance artists

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