The Renaissance 1485-1660 Historical Introduction

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  • The Renaissance1485-1660Historical Introduction

  • The Renaissance in EuropeDates- Italy 14th century to England- mid 17th centuryRenaissance means rebirth traditionally designates the centuries following the Middle Ages in Europe. Rebirth of classical literature and intellectual fervor like ancient Rome and Greece

  • Renaissance in EuropeDifferences from Middle AgesRevitalized interest in Greek and Roman civilizationTheir own times were a return to glorious achievements of classical timesPurer literature Strong religious influence

  • Origins in Italy14th century Italy AuthorsPetrach (Petrachian sonnets) Boccacio ArtistsGiottoDonatello

  • 14th century Italian ArtistsGIOTTODONATELLO

  • Humanists Who? Scholars and educatorsWhat did they believe? Human beings are very capable beings emphasized creation of art for all levels of society People are worthy and dignified beingsOutward beauty can represent inward beauty Contrasted with Medieval emphasis on God and contempt for the things of this world (humanists wanted to appreciate this life)

  • Italian Artists 15th and 16th centuriesLeonardo daVinciMichelangelo

  • Spread of RenaissanceFrom Italy to France, Germany, England During this time there was also territorial expansion and discovery 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue European colonial and commercial domination w/ Asia and Americas Beginning of modern world

  • The Renaissance in England Slow to participate b/c of internal turmoilWar of the Roses Yorks and Lancasters battling for throne (1455-1485)Country was not in a place to respond to or participate in new artistic and intellectual movementsWar of Roses brought to an end when Henry Tudor defeated Yorkist King in 1485 Henry Tudor becomes Henry VII

  • Tudor Dynasty from


  • Tudor Dynasty Rule for more than a centuryBring stabilityHenry VII (1485-1509)Henry VIII son of Henry VIIPowerful political leader Also afraid of what renaissance thinking would do to the population

  • Literary FiguresSir Thomas More (1478-1535)HumanistWrote Utopia Sir Thomas Wyatt (1503-1542)Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey (1517?-1547) Poets who based their writing off of their exploration of Italian models

  • Religious Tension in 16th century Catholics vs. ProtestantsProtests against authority and corruption of the Roman Catholic ChurchProtestant ReformationMartin Luther who was famous for stating his grievances against the church - nailed to the door of a church in Germany in 1517

  • Religious Tension in 16th centuryHenry VIII- always loyal to Roman CatholicNo religious motivation for England to align itself with Protestant revoltHenrys first wife, Catherine of Aragon, had not produced a male heir so he wanted a divorcePope refused Henry defied the Pope and declared himself the Supreme Head of the Church in England (Anglican Church)

  • Consequences of break with Catholicism England came to have a new, independent, national identity When Sir Thomas More opposed Henrys divorce and refused to swear allegiance to Henry as the head of the state, More was imprisoned and executed More was the leading figure in the renaissance and was sacrificed for political power of King

  • Reformation in England Edward VI- 9 year old son of Henry VIIIMary came to throne when Edward died (1553-1558) (Bloody Mary) Daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine of AragonHalf Spanish; devout Catholic Married Phillip II of Spain Reign of terror against English Protestants to return England to Catholic authority

  • Mary

  • Elizabeth I (1552-1603) Half-sister of MaryDaughter of Henry VIII and his 2nd wife Anne BoleynTook the throne at 25Intelligent, educated by a Humanist Linguist, poet Encouraged artistic growth

  • Elizabeth I

  • Elizabeth I (1552-1603)ReligionModerate- somewhere between Protestant extremism and capitulation to CatholicismForeign affairs: WONDER OF HER AGE!Pushed for expansion 2nd half of 16th century pushed English seamen to raid Spanish ships Prevented war with Spain by playing France off of Spain Used her unmarried status as a bargaining chip

  • Elizabethan Literary Achievement Elizabeths Court in LondonLondon was now a center of industry, business, government, finance, and lawMany talented individuals came to her court who were strong political or literary figures Came to court to contribute what they could

  • Elizabeths CourtPair of authors who were close friends; discussed how to reform English poetry to make it as good as French and ItalianSir Phillip Sydney (1554-1586) Edmund Spenser (1552-1599)

  • Elizabeths Court

    Sidney:aristocrat Ideal Renaissance gentleman Strong political ideas and literary ability wrote for a private circle of friendsWork not published until after death

  • Elizabeths Court Spenser:A professional man of lettersScholar-poetWanted to be a great writerWrote The Faerie Queene a major allegorical epic (never finished) Which is dedicated to Elizabeth

  • Elizabethan DramaGreatest achievement of Elizabethan literatureCharacteristics: More nonreligious plays (as compared with medieval period)Characters developed (more characters) Many private performancesBy end of 16th century writers were educated at Oxford and Cambridge

  • Elizabethan DramaOrigins in: native folk culture and popular entertainment Sophisticated, aristocratic world of literary circles and the courtInfluences during 16th century Dramatically spoken English; the dramatic nature and flair distinguished them from Italian and French Renaissance writing

  • Characteristics of Elizabethan PlaysBasic sets, costumes, atmospheric effectsAudience had to use imaginationEffects given through emphasis on spoken word

  • Elizabethan TheatresTheatres: Shoreditch: first public theatre just outside city limits of London in 1576 Globe: home theater of Shakespeares company just across the river Thames Audiences: Crowding into theatre (London had a population of 50,000)ALL classes were in the audience


  • Elizabethan Tastes and AttitudesPeculiar combination of old and newLove of the artificialdefinition to Elizabethans Everything that is made by human skill and ingenuity artificial in Elizabeths court fantastically decorated gowns; ornamental gardens and buildingsartificial in literatureComplicated rhyming forms like the sonnet Abstract verbal patterns but used repetition

  • Elizabethan World PictureGreat chain of beingWorld is a a vast, unified hierarchical order Created by GodEverything is ranked within a category in the chainHuman beings role in the chain At the midpoint (souls and free will made them above animals)Could choose to move higher (toward angels) or lower (toward animals)

  • KEY TERMS & PEOPLERenaissance Humanists War of the RosesGlobe Artifice Great Chain of being

    Petrarch Michelangelo Henry VIIHenry VIIIMaryElizabeth I

  • KEY AUTHORSSir Thomas MoreSir Thomas Wyatt Sir Philip Sydney Edmund Spenser Christopher Marlowe William Shakespeare


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