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The Renaissance is a period from the 14th to the 17th century, considered the bridge between the Middle Ages and Modern history. It started as a cultural movement in Italy in the Late Medieval period and later spread to the rest of Europe.
See the fact file below for more information on the Renaissance or alternatively, you can download our 22-page Renaissance worksheet pack to utilise within the classroom or home environment.
Key Facts & Information
BACKGROUND TO THE RENAISSANCE
- The word ‘renaissance’ is a French word which means ‘rebirth’. The people credited with beginning the Renaissance were trying to recreate the classical models of Ancient Greek and Rome.
- The Renaissance period was the succeeding epoch of the Middle Ages which was the gap defining the classical and modern period. Often branded as the Dark Ages, the Medieval period was characterized by some years with famine and pandemics such as the Black Death.
- During the 14th century, the philosophy of humanism began to emerge in Italy. Humanism emphasizes that man is the center of the universe and that all human achievements in art, literature, and science should be regarded. Instead of relying on the will of God, people began to act according to capabilities.
- In 1450, Johannes Gutenberg’s invention of movable printing press revolutionized communication and publication in Europe. As a result, publications of humanist thinkers like Francesco Petrarch and Giovanni Boccaccio were printed and distributed to elite and common people.
- In addition, the growth in trade and commerce between the East and West set the stage for the Renaissance.
- The emergence of rich cultural history through art began in Florence, Italy when wealthy citizens and families supported developing artists. Among the well-known supporters of this movement was the Medici family.
- Also known as the House of Medici, the Medici family were a family of wealthy bankers of Caffaggiolo who emigrated to Florence in the 12 century. They became the most wealthy and powerful family in Florence by the 13th century and produced four popes: Leo X, Clement VII, Pius IV, and Leo XI. Moreover, they were known to finance arts and humanities.
- With powerful members of the Medici family, the Renaissance movement soon spread in Italian cities of Venice, Milan, Bologna, Ferrara, and Rome. By the 15th century, the idea of Renaissance spread through France and other parts of Europe.
- Some of the most famous intellectuals who dominated the Renaissance included Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Raphael, William Shakespeare, John Milton, William Byrd, Niccolo Machiavelli, Giotto, Dante, Thomas Hobbes, Nicolaus Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Rene Descartes, and Erasmus.
- At the end of the 16th century, the Age of Exploration emerged with sailing discoveries made by Bartolomeu Dias, Christopher Columbus, Vasco da Gama, and other known explorers.
- In the first half of the 16th century, a number of political events were driven and influenced by the Renaissance. The beginning of the Roman Golden Age began with the appointment of Julius II as the new pope.
- In 1509, Henry VIII of England came to power, while France was ruled by Francis I in 1515. By 1530, Charles V became the Holy Roman Emperor. Prior to this, in 1527, Charles V dismissed Rome in order to prevent the annulment of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon which later led to the establishment of the Church of England.
- By 1558, England’s Golden Age began with the crowning of Queen Elizabeth I. Two years earlier, Charles V abdicated the Spanish throne and Philip II took over.
ART AND CULTURE
- One of the institutions that began to decline was the Catholic Church. Religion was still important, however. New religions and ways of thinking were being discussed. Martin Luther had broken away from the Catholic Church and was spreading the Protestant religion throughout Europe.
- The revival of classical Roman culture surfaced during the proto-Renaissance period in Italy during the late 13th century. Italian intellectuals such as Petrarch and Boccaccio revived ancient Greek and Roman language and values.
- Florentine painter Giotto introduced a new technique in presenting the human body in frescoes. Among his works were decors of cathedrals at Assisi, Rome, Padua, Naples, and Florence.
- During the High Renaissance, masters like Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Raphael dominated visual arts. Da Vinci, also known as the ultimate Renaissance Man was best-known for his works such as the Mona Lisa, The Virgin of the Rocks, and The Last Supper.
- Aside from being a painter, Michelangelo was a leading sculptor of the High Renaissance. Among his best pieces were the Pietà and the David. He was also commissioned to do the frescoe covering the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
- Raphael, the youngest of the Renaissance masters was known for his painting The School of Athens which he worked on for three years, the same time when Michelangelo was working on the Sistine Chapel.
- Among the most common subjects of Renaissance art were religious images of the Virgin Mary and ecclesiastical rituals.
- Artists were usually members of a guild and came from wealthy to middle class families.
DECLINE OF THE RENAISSANCE
- The Renaissance movement in trade began to gradually diminish in the 1500s after Columbus’ discovery of the Americas. New trade routes were established in the Atlantic affecting trade in the Mediterranean which brought huge profit to Italy.
- By the 16th century, Italy was threatened by neighboring Kingdoms such as France and Spain. By 1527, under the reign of King Philip II, the Spanish army sacked Rome and eventually ruled Italy.
- In Germany, Martin Luther led the Reformation which contested the Catholic Church. As a result, Protestant Churches emerged while the Catholic Church in Italy faced real crisis. In response, the Catholic Church launched Counter Reformation which implemented Inquisition. Inquisition arrested every individual who would contradict the teachings of the Catholic Church including scholars, artists, and scientists in Italy.
This is a fantastic bundle which includes everything you need to know about Renaissance across 22 in-depth pages. These are ready-to-use Renaissance worksheets that are perfect for teaching students about the Renaissance which is a period from the 14th to the 17th century, considered the bridge between the Middle Ages and Modern history. It started as a cultural movement in Italy in the Late Medieval period and later spread to the rest of Europe.
Complete List Of Included Worksheets
- Renaissance Facts
- Medieval v. Renaissance Thought
- Renaissance in Letters
- The Greco-Roman Comeback
- Shakespeare’s Iambic Pentameter
- The Age of Exploration
- The Gutenberg Press
- Astronomy in the Renaissance
- Age of Rebirth
- Da Vinci’s Mirror Writing
- Renaissance Wall
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Link will appear as The Renaissance Facts & Worksheets: https://kidskonnect.com - KidsKonnect, February 6, 2019
Use With Any Curriculum
These worksheets have been specifically designed for use with any international curriculum. You can use these worksheets as-is, or edit them using Google Slides to make them more specific to your own student ability levels and curriculum standards.