The term Renaissance [ ʀənɛsɑs ] ( French rebirth) describes the art of the period beginning with their modern times , especially in the 15th ( Quattrocento ) and 16 Century ( Cinquecento ). The name was in the 19th Characterized century and gives the perception again, after the Middle Ages did European culture again in the Greek and Roman antiquity oriented. Typical of the Renaissance is the idea of ​​man as an individual, as a creative individual.

Already in the Middle Ages, Europe looked back to ancient times, but after the one or two centuries, among other ancient texts were rediscovered and humanism studied the ancient polity. As the Renaissance under furthermore apply the many inventions and discoveries, which can be described as the result of spiritual awakening.

The core period of the Renaissance, the 15th ( Quattrocento ) and 16 Century ( Cinquecento ) viewed. The end of the era takes place in the early 17th Century in Italy by the newly prominent style of the Baroque . In Northern Europe, the Renaissance came later and was also replaced later by the new art of the Baroque era. In Protestant northern Europe the epoch of the Renaissance concept of the will of the Reformation superimposed.

When Renaissance artists we think primarily of Italians such as Leonardo da Vinci , Titian and Donatello , as well as to the German Albrecht Dürer . But are also great writers of this period to Dante to Shakespeare . The political philosopher Niccolo Machiavelli is considered analysts and representatives of a confident power politics, Erasmus of Rotterdam, in turn stands for morality and self-reflection. In music combines the era, especially with increased polyphony and harmony as new in Orlando di Lasso .


For the first time the term was ( Italian Renaissance Rinascita or [ ˌ ri ː naʃ imento ] Rebirth “) in 1550 by the Italian artist and biographer of artists Giorgio Vasari used to denote the overcoming of medieval art. Vasari distinguishes three periods in the development of Art:

the glamorous era of Greco-Roman antiquity;
an intermediate age of decay, which is about the era of the Middle Ages can be equated;
the era of the revival of the arts and the rebirth of the ancient spirit in the Middle Ages for about 1250th

According to Vasari, the Italian had already sculptors , architects and painters of the second half of the 13th Century, including Arnolfo di Cambio , Niccolò Pisano , Cimabue and Giotto , “in the darkest times of the masters who came after them, led the way, which leads to perfection “.

To 1820/30, the term “Renaissance” was taken from Italian into French in the common spelling today. Made in 1840 about the German literature is a loan from French, is a cultural-historical era in Europe during the transition from medieval to modern times to call. The term was used in this sense by the Basel authoritative historian Jacob Burckhardt embossed with his work “The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy” (1860).

Generally they speak also in other contexts of the Renaissance, when old values ​​or ideas return to the breakthrough. Thus, it is often referred to as the Renaissance, when regional cultures in the 19th and 20 Century, reinforced for their own species (and languages) are interested in how the Irish Renaissance . In English, we also referred to as the Renaissance Man and a man with lots of different skills.
Leonardo da Vinci – The Last Supper (1495-1498)

The beginnings of the Renaissance era to the late 14th Century saw in Italy, as the core period is the 15th and 16 Century. Compared to the older scientific model of an initial movement in Italy and the inexorable spread across Europe following you go today in cultural studies more and more of a multi-legged and networked situation of mutual influences. [1] [2]

The previous cultural history of the Renaissance era was the Gothic , the subsequent Baroque .

Typically divide the history of art of the Renaissance era, particularly the Italian Renaissance, in a three periods:

Early Renaissance ,
High Renaissance ,
Late Renaissance or Mannerist .

In contrast to the 19 Century sees today’s art history (and the history of science in general) break from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance less harsh. In the 13th Century or earlier announced on developments, reminiscent of the Renaissance, such as urban planning. As the Carolingian Renaissance is called the return to antiquity, under Charles the Great had around 800 used.
Appropriation of Greek and Arabic knowledge

The knowledge and ideas of antiquity that were forgotten in Europe in the early and high Middle Ages, were in monastic libraries, in Arab culture and Byzantium was preserved. Scientists like Poggio Bracciolini or Niccolo Niccoli, searched the libraries for works of classical authors such as Plato , Cicero and Vitruvius . [3] In addition, during the progressive fell Reconquista of the Iberian peninsula to Christian conquerors numerous works of Greek and Arabic authors in their hands. Just the Library of Cordoba should have included 400,000 books. [4]

The decline of the Byzantine Empire after the Fourth Crusade to the conquest of Constantinople by the Turks meant that Greek scholars came to Italy, the knowledge about the culture of Greek antiquity brought, which the Byzantine Empire after the fall of the Western Roman Empire preserved nearly 1,000 years had been. Already some years before the end of the Eastern Roman, Byzantine Empire, which included Greece and parts of present-day Turkey, the Italian was Giovanni Aurispa gone to Constantinople Opel and had brought in 1423 from there over 200 codices with texts of ancient profane literature to Italy. [5]
Social and political structures

The social and political conditions in Italy in the late Middle Ages contributed to the upheavals. Italy did not exist as a political entity but was divided into smaller city states and territories. In the 15th Century it was one of the most urbanized areas in Europe. The cities were republics (from today’s perspective oligarchies ) and provided relative political freedom, which was reflected in scientific and artistic progress. [6]

In Italy, the memory of antiquity still at its liveliest. Was [7] It was developed by the connecting routes of the Mediterranean in all directions. The centers of the towns brought it into contact with remote areas, especially with the Levant (see: Economic history of the Republic of Venice ). The prosperity that was created by the trade, made it possible to give large public and private art projects commissioned. In addition, more time could be spent on education. [8]
Black Death

Another theory makes the Black Death and the resulting change in belief in the 14th Responsible for the renaissance century. It led to a concentration on the earthly rather than on spirituality and the afterlife. However, all this does not explain why the Renaissance began in Italy because it is the plague a pandemic acted that raged everywhere in Europe and not only in Italy. Probably the Renaissance must be seen as a complex interaction of all factors.

A main characteristic of the “Renaissance” is the rebirth of the ancient spirit. The humanism is the essential spirit of the movement time. The pioneers were Italian poet of the 14th Century, such as Petrarch , the belief in the value of humanistic education promoted by his extensive study of ancient writers and by its individualism and the study of the languages ​​, the literature , the history and philosophy advocated outside of a religious context as an end in itself. The theocentric worldview of the Middle Ages was replaced by a more anthropocentric view of things.

This “rebirth” was manifested in the fact that many elements of the body of thought of antiquity were discovered and revived (fonts, monuments , sculptures , philosophical thinking, etc.). This is particularly evident in the arts and their new perceived as progressive principles, in which the mystical-spiritual-oriented design language of the Middle Ages gave way to secular, mathematical and scientific clarity. As an example of the new world view, the study of proportions of Leonardo da Vinci can be viewed. In it, the man is set in his physical condition in the center and made to measure for a new classification system. You can use it as the beginning of the renaissance of modern anthropocentric worldview comprehend.

Enjoy the arts and sciences in the Italian city-states again similarly high regard as ancient Greece. Artists are no longer anonymous craftsmen, but occur with the self-confidence of polymath. Their works are viewed as individual creations of high rank.
→ Main article: Philosophy of Humanism and the Renaissance
Page woodcut from the first volume of the total nine-volume work on the writings of St. Jerome (ca. 350-420), at the John Froben (1460-1527) in Basel from 13 January to 25 August 1516 was printed. Has significantly contributed to the edition of Erasmus of Rotterdam. The original is owned by henryart.

The philosophy of the Renaissance turns away from the scholastic – Aristotelian thought and is mainly from the Platonism committed. All the writings of Plato have been translated into Latin. Many Renaissance thinkers hang the Neoplatonism of which by Georgios Gemistos Pletho , Marsilio Ficino and Giovanni Pico della Mirandola is widespread. A widespread attitude among scholars of the Renaissance was humanism , which was represented among others by the following thinkers:

Coluccio Salutati (1331-1406)
Nicholas of Cusa (1401-1464)
Erasmus of Rotterdam (1466-1536)
Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527)
Thomas More (1478-1535)
François Rabelais (1494-1553)
Polydor Virgil (1470-1555).

Visual Arts

For imitation of ancient art joined in the 15th Century, the intense preoccupation with the nature , which is an important aspect in the history of Renaissance art. Even before Vasari had poets such as Giovanni Boccaccio praised the painter Giotto that he understood depict things as natural as no one before him. The tendency to make objects and people according to nature, since then has been a major concern of the artist . In near-perfect expression of them, such a naturalistic style, however, since it was not until the 15th Century. Therefore confine art historians term the Renaissance usually only on the artistic expressions of the 15th Century, the Quattrocento , and on the 16th Century, the Cinquecento .

Closely with the demand for the truth of nature in art hung the commitment of the artist to antiquity together. They admired the ancient art as exemplary examples of natural contemporary design. In them we saw examples worthy of imitation, as they had to represent nature. The important Italian theorist Leon Battista Alberti demanded that the artist should strive to “the ancient masters not only equal that, but if possible, to surpass.” The artist should improve the natural model and idealize. The representation of “reality,” the faithful mapping was not the task of the artist ( artifex ).
Drawing by Albrecht Dürer to the perspective

Besides the redefinition of the relationship of art to nature and the worship of antiquity placed the Renaissance, the question of the nature of beauty . The artists try, for example, represent the ideal beautiful people. Ideal dimensions and proportions play in both the representation of the human body in painting and sculpture as well as a role in the design of buildings. The artists develop with the central perspective, a method to represent with mathematical exactitude reductions in the depth of space.

In art were Filippo Brunelleschi , Lorenzo Ghiberti and Donatello, the pioneers of the new movement, already in the Proto-Renaissance of the 13th and 14 Century Nicola Pisano , Giotto di Bondone and other artists had had their precursors.

The Early Renaissance takes its starting point in Florence with the sculptures of Donatello , the bronze reliefs by Ghiberti, the frescoes of Masaccio and the buildings Filippo Brunelleschi .

The period from about 1490/1500 bis 1520 is called the High Renaissance. Center of this period, which is characterized by the pursuit of the highest perfection and harmony stands in the arts, is the papal Rome . During this time he Bramante central building designs for the new St. Peter’s in Rome, Leonardo Da Vinci’s most famous images (” The Last Supper , “” Mona Lisa , “” Lady with an Ermine “), Raphael’s painting of the ” punching “and his most famous altarpiece, the ” Sistine Madonna “, Michelangelo’s sculptures (“Roman Pietà”, ” David “,” Moses “) and his frescoes on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and Dürer’s master engravings.

It follows approximately the period to 1590 reaching the late Renaissance or Mannerist, which is characterized by different artistic tendencies. Thus, the mannerism prone to exaggeration of the formal repertoire of the High Renaissance (eg, excessive room suites, long and twisted represented human body in violent movement). A feature of Mannerism , for example, the Figura serpentinata as the sculptor Giovanni da Bologna , in his “Rape of the Sabine Woman” (1583) represented. Human figures will be reproduced here as snakelike up writhing bodies. The last phase of the late Renaissance is then gradually in the Baroque through.

Not in all Europe the epoch of the Renaissance expires after an identical pattern. While in Italy the spirit of the Renaissance began at the earliest, and particularly flourished equally influence on the painting , sculpture and architecture took, the Renaissance began in the north until around or after 1500, and this could prevail only partially and with a national impact. The architecture and sculpture were influenced by antiquity in countries outside Italy more than painting. In France and Germany , the antique style mixed with national elements, which, naturally more emerged in the first epoch of the Renaissance, the early Renaissance as the period of the late Renaissance, which over ran the ancient forms lush and vigorous trained and so to the excesses of the Baroque style . A national coloring, the Renaissance in the Netherlands , in Poland , in England and in Spain learn.
→ Main article: Renaissance painting
Raphael : School of Athens , 1509-1510, Stanza della Segnatura, Vatican City State

The majority of the paintings of Renaissance art are altarpieces and frescoes of religious content, which were painted for churches. However, the religious figure has been humanized by being presented in a terrestrial environment. Thus, people often appear on multi-figured images in the everyday clothing of the Renaissance era. In addition, pictures were taken with secular or pagan mythological themes (eg, allegory , ancient gods and heroes, ancient history) and individual portraits of contemporary figures. In addition, first developed landscapes and customs pictures that represent contemporary life. However, the landscapes should not be an accurate reflection of reality, rather they symbolized the fundamental principle of beauty. This beauty has been defined as nature.

The room depth by means of the central perspective , ie a line of flight system , designed with geometric precision. In addition, the means of the air and color perspective . In order to display a three-dimensional-looking image on a two dimensional surface, the artist had to hold on optical and geometrical rules. This specified that the horizon is horizontal at eye level of the viewer. To give an image depth, and all of its parallel to the ground running depth lines converge on a vanishing point that lies on the horizon.

During the Renaissance, more and more emphasis was placed on the human anatomy. The artists explored muscle groups, movements, contractions and body proportions in itself. Despite these detailed studies of the naked human body, as in ancient times was as act depicted in idealized proportions. The artist saw his task is to filter out the beauty of the fullness of human nature and to express such physical perfection. The nakedness was symbolic of innocence, as it was perceived as natural and as original beauty expressed. All these conceptions of the human figure were taken as other things from antiquity.

A balanced, harmonious balanced image structure, supported by intra-image-circle, half circle and triangle shapes, was preferred in the painting.
Michelangelo : David

The sculptor of the Renaissance, especially as create figures and portrait busts . In the squares of cities, monumental sculptures, for example, be in the form of equestrian statues erected. The grave sculpture for ecclesiastical and secular dignitaries connects for example in the form of a tomb wall sculpture with architecture to create a work of art.

The sculpture also freed itself more and more from their ties to the medieval architecture. Besides niche figures, which are inconceivable without a strong relationship with the associated building, increasingly free-standing sculptures are created, standing in public places, can be viewed from all sides.

Renaissance sculptor orient their work on ancient models. Sculptures are modeled by all sides, the man depicted in his nakedness, the position of the legs is often done in classical contrapposto . Anatomical preliminary studies serve to reproduce the human body realistically.
→ Main article: Architecture of the Renaissance
Anti Kische, classical Renaissance
La Rotonda, Palladio , 1571

A tendency of the architecture is to revive the formal language of classical antiquity in severity. In Italy, this goal was the Renaissance reached by Donato Bramante from 1500 and continued from then throughout Italy through. Italian Renaissance were clear, straightforward and designed to harmoniously balanced.

The architects were based on the floor plan ideal for simple geometric shapes such as the square or the circle . It borrows elements such as columns , pilasters , capitals , pediment , etc. directly to the (Greek) antiquity. Thus one finds again on columns Doric, Ionic or Corinthian capitals. In addition, there is an increased use of already known of Roman architecture Tuscan column , particularly in the basements of the Renaissance. The individual building elements had to be in line with each other and with the whole building. Studying the architectural treatises of the Roman architect Vitruvius , in order to extract evidence of beautiful ideal proportions.
Analogue Renaissance
Banquet at Renaissance interior, painting by Bartholomeus van Bassen , 1618-1620

Another trend in architecture is borrowed from antiquity, but also to vary elements such as new form language in the medieval architecture in analogical way, without seeking a strictly legitimate architecture. More important than the traditional rule is substantive aspect of the classicizing motifs that mediate high social prestige, but also ancient ethos.

The imitation antique elements such as entablatures, capitals or profiles happens not only imitative full-varying in severity, but according to the medieval building practice. Some are originals from the Romanesque architecture of antiquity similar. Example: The Tower of Heilbronn Kilianskirche from 1513th Are often rich ornamentation by tracery , arabesques , and later by scrollwork , strapwork , tail plant and a The vertical in the tradition of the Gothic is still strongly emphasized. The foremen are required not intellectuals, as in Italy, but often the tradition of medieval craft in general. The floor plans and facades are often asymmetrical.
Renaissance Gothic or Nachgotik
→ Main article: Nachgotik

A third trend is the re-use of Gothic motifs that are contrary to the ancient forms perceived as modern and are often used for the identification of church buildings. [9] An example is the Church of St. Assumption (Cologne) . [10] [11]

On the side of architectural theory to the former trend in the architectural treatise is again, the latter in the pattern book . In general it can be said that the more a culture of the Middle Ages did not feel as cultural decline and, in contrast to antiquity, the more the second and third trend was preferred. This is especially true in Central and Northern Europe, where the architecture of the Northern Renaissance reached completely different forms.

In France, the classic antique style rigor of the High Renaissance around 1550 was obtained (cf. west wing of the Louvre, 1550-1558 by Pierre Lescot ), in addition, there were still numerous church construction sites on which was still built with gothic motifs. On the Iberian Peninsula both tendencies form a coexistence that is until the Baroque period continues. In Germanic Europe and in Poland it was partly a mixture of both tendencies (eg Heidelberg Castle and the Wawel Castle in Krakow ), however, remained the dominant analogical form of the Renaissance to the end.
Important Renaissance artists

Andrea Palladio (1508-1580)
Sofonisba Anguissola (1531/32-1625)
Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446)
Donatello (1386-1466)
Paolo Uccello (1397-1475)
Jan van Eyck (c. 1390-1441)
Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506)
Rogier van der Weyden (1399/1400-1464)
Andrea del Verrocchio (1436-1488)
Giovanni Bellini (1437-1516)
Israhel Meckenem van the Younger (1440/45-1503)
Donato Bramante (ca. 1444-1514)
Sandro Botticelli (1444/1445-1510)
Pietro Perugino (ca. 1448-1523)
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)
Signorelli, Luca (ca 1450-1523)
Hans Holbein the Elder (ca. 1465-1524)
Albrecht Dürer (1471-1528)

Lucas Cranach the Elder (1472-1553)
Fra Bartolommeo (1474-1517)
Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564)
Tiziano Vecellio (14? -1576)
Burgkmair Hans the Elder (1473-1531)
Albrecht Altdorfer (1480-1538)
Raphael (1483-1520)
Antonio da Correggio (1489-1534)
Hans Holbein the Younger (ca 1497-1543)
Benvenuto Cellini (1500-1571)
Parmigianino (1503-1540)
Lucas Cranach the Younger (1515-1586)
Jacopo Tintoretto (1518-1594)
Pieter Bruegel the Elder (ca. 1525-1569)

Poets and writers of the Renaissance

In the literature lead in the 14th Century Dante Alighieri’s “Divine Comedy” (La Divina Commedia, 1307-1321), Francesco Petrarch’s letters, treatises and poems and Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron (1353) the age of the Renaissance. Count Baldassare Castiglione describes in Il Libro del Courtier (1528), the ideal type of a Renaissance man .

The literature took after the invention of printing with movable type by Johannes Gutenberg in the Renaissance time an immense recovery.

The famous poets and writers of the Renaissance include:
Title page from Sebastian Brant’s Narrenschyff

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321)
Francesco Petrarca (1304-1374)
Giovanni Boccaccio (1313-1375)
Sebastian Brant (1457-1521)
Sannazaro Jacopo (1458-1530)
Desiderius Erasmus (ca. 1466-1536)
Ludovico Ariosto (1474-1533)
Thomas Murner (1475-1537)
Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529)
Pietro Aretino (1492-1556)
François Rabelais (1494-1553)
Marcin Bielski (1495-1575)
Philipp Melanchthon (1497-1560)
Sebastian Franck (1500-1543)
Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski (1503-1572)
Mikołaj Rej (1505-1569)
January Kochanowski (1530-1584)
Torquato Tasso (1544-1595)
William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Theatre of the Renaissance:

: English Renaissance theater Elizabethan theater called, including Jacobean theater, Caroline theater, together also early modern theater
Italy: rise of the commedia dell’arte , and the Comedia erudita , the amateur theater in the late Renaissance

→ Main article: Renaissance Music

The music of the Renaissance was first by the age of Franco-Flemish determined from the mid-16th Century, then, the main impetus came from Italy , particularly by composers currents as the Florentine Camerata , the Roman School and the Venetian School .

Special features and stylistic devices of Renaissance music:

As a work of music (not anonymous) composer;
Music for social conversation (eg, love, drinking and seasonal songs) instead of praise to God alone;
rich polyphony (polyphony) in church music , homophonic treated folk song melodies in the secular realm;
Musical instruments in all families : violins , recorders , viols and many more (especially wind instruments ), to the lute ;
basic interchangeability of vocal and instrumental parts, no fixed instrumentation ;
to the music of the Middle Ages Modified harmony -feeling: thirds and sixths are considered since the Renaissance consonant felt.

See also: List of Renaissance composers
Economy and Social

Economically it came to break the medieval renaissance in the interest prohibition and abolition of the medieval Brakteatenwährung . This allowed the one hand, the rise of the early modern banks as the Fuggers or the Medici , on the other hand that meant for many, especially for the rural population, a significant social decline. The resulting social tensions erupted among others by the peasant wars .

The introduction of double accounting in accounts allowed a much greater control of the success of economic enterprises.

Categories: Uncategorized

Comments are closed.