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Italian Renaissance

Italian Renaissance

In 1545, Johannes Gutenberg perfected his printing press, which gave the ability to printed texts to circulate at an unprecedented speed. The first book printed by the printing press was the Gutenberg Bible, and while most of the books stayed on this trend with religious printing, the thousands of printing presses that were established across Europe also printed Latin and Greek classics. Books were also printed in vernacular languages (rather than in Latin, which few understood), meaning that the regular person would have been able to understand and interpret the meaning of a text for themselves. The printing press allowed the ideas that had flourished in the Italian city-states to spread to other parts of Europe.

Vernacular refers to a language that is used by the people.

Important Characteristics of the Italian Renaissance

The Italian Renaissance transformed almost every aspect of life. Humanism led to an increased interest in various studies, and this secular view of society and emphasis on creation led to many achievements. The most visible characteristic changes were seen in philosophy, economics, and arts and culture. These seem like separate fields, but they often influenced each other and drew from the same humanist inspiration.

Philosophy and Education

Painters, sculptors, and architects flourished during the Renaissance. Just like philosophers, artists were also inspired by the Ancient Greeks and Romans and influenced by the same ideas. During the Renaissance, artists began to claim their artworks as their own. This was a departure from the Medieval standard, which left artists anonymous as the focus was intended to be on God and religion. This was attached to the idea of individualism.

Individualism refers to the idea that actions or accomplishments should be celebrated and claimed by humankind.

One of the most famous artists, Leonardo da Vinci, was an artist of the Italian Renaissance. He is commonly referred to as the original "Renaissance Man." His work favored a more realistic style, which is also indicative of the shift to the High Renaissance. The style of the High Renaissance incorporates and mastered the techniques that were created during the beginning of the Renaissance.

Start and End of the Italian Renaissance

The Italian Renaissance pulled the world out of the Middle Ages and became known as a time when painters, inventors, scholars, and merchants flourished. However, while their ideas started in Florence, Italy, they were too big to stay. By the beginning of the 15th century, they began to spread to other places in Europe, and the rise of Renaissances in Northern Italy and other European countries eventually led to the decline of the Italian Renaissance.

There are multiple reasons why the Italian Renaissance came to an end. One of the largest distractions was across the Atlantic- Christopher Columbus set sail in 1492 and ushered in the Age of Exploration. Towards the end of the Renaissance, Europe began to look across the Atlantic toward the New World and the potential religious and economic opportunities that awaited them.

Italian Renaissance - Key takeaways

  • The main difference between the Italian Renaissance and the Northern Renaissance was their relationship to religion. The Northern Renaissance had less emphasis on classical ideals and more on reforming the church.
  • The Renaissance is commonly referred to as a "rebirth" of intellectual pursuits as Europe moved out of the Middle Ages.
  • The Italian Renaissance influenced every corner of life, including arts, music, economics, and philosophy.
  • Many of the outputs of the Italian Renaissance were heavily influenced by Ancient Greek and Roman texts and artwork.
  • The ideals and goals of the Northern Renaissance to reform the Church led to the Protestant Reformation.

Frequently Asked Questions about Italian Renaissance

The Italian Renaissance began in the mid-1300s and lasted until the mid-1500s.

The Italian Renaissance is perhaps most well known for its artists and development of various artistic styles.

The Italian Renaissance can be characterized by the re-introduction of Ancient Greek and Roman texts, humanism, and contributions to arts, sciences, and economics. 

The Italian Renaissance began when humanism ideals started to grow and influence Italian society.

The Northern Renaissance had less emphasis on classical ideals and more on reforming the church.  

Final Italian Renaissance Quiz

Question

Which of the following describes humanism?

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Renaissance study of the ideas of ancient Greeks and Romans

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True or false: Most Humanists were clergy members. 

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True

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Which word means the art of speaking or writing to present an eloquent argument and influence others?


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Rhetoric

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Many agree that Humanism arose in 

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14th century Italy

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Many trace the beginnings of the Humanist movement back to


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Dante Alighieri

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Petrarch was important because he 


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Criticized the Catholic Church

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Which word means a way of studying religious thoughts based on writings from ancient times?

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Scholasticism

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True or false: Humanism prioritized studying humanity and the human experience over studying religion.


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True 

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True or false: Humanists of the Renaissance studied classical literature and other works to understand human nature. 


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True  

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True or False: Humanist thinkers regarded the works of antiquity as a fresh alternative to the stagnant way of thought that was favored by the medieval church. 

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True 

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Which word means Beliefs that form an important part of a religion?

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Doctrine 

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True or false: Renaissance Italy was a single, unified country. 

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True 

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True or False: Renaissance Italy was controlled by powerful-city states. 

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True 

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A ______ is an independent state consisting of a city and it's surrounding area. 

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City-state

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Why were city-states important? 

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City-states were wealthy, which allowed for affluent families to act as patrons. 

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Which of the following are true about the formation of city-states? 

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Italy contained large, heavily populated cities.

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True or False: Historians regard the city-states on the Italian Peninsula as the birthplace of the Italian Renaissance.


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True 

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True or false: City-states were not always peaceful neighbors.

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True 

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True or false: The Italian city-states each had their own ruler, which often led to conflict and rivalry.


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True

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____ means one who financially supports the work of an individual or organization. 

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Patron

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True or false: City-states were wealthy, which allowed for affluent families to act as patrons of artists, scientists, and philosophers who would innovate new ideas and art trends.


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True 

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The Medici family ruled Florence during the __________.

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Fall of Rome 

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The Medici family influenced ___________.

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medicine  

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The Medici family came from ___________.

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Tuscany

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The Medici family ruled __________.

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Florence 

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Which member of the family started the Bank of Medici?

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Giovanni de Medici

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Which member of the family became the first leader of Florence?

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Cosimo de Medici

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_____________ is someone who supports an artist by supporting them financially.

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Patron

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__________ is another word for a church.

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Basilica

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True or False: The Uffizi Gallery holds many precious works of ar that belonged to the Medici family.


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True 

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Who was the last ruling member of the Medici dynasty? 

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Gian Gastone

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