Renaissance Comparison Essay Megan Pepper Axia College of University of Phoenix Renaissance Comparison Essay The Late Middle Ages were known as a time of decline, but the Renaissance led an outburst of cultural and intellectual creativity. During the fourteenth century in the cities of Northern Italy, many scholars and social elite became more interested in literature and ideas of ancient Greece and Rome. As the interest in Classical civilization grew people began to dismiss many of the ideas and practices of medieval civilization.

People of the Renaissance stayed deeply religious, but concerned themselves more with the physical world than medieval people did. The Italian Renaissance was the focus of humanism. All of this was reflected in the literature, art, and societies of northern Italian cities. The Italian Renaissance lasted from the fourteenth century through the beginning of the sixteenth century. While the Italian Renaissance not widely spread, the North European Renaissance was greatly influenced by the Italian Renaissance.

The Italian Renaissance and North European Renaissance had many similarities socially and culturally. While the North European Renaissance did not start until the fifteenth century, it was heavy influenced by the Italian Renaissance. Many North Europeans would travel south and bring back the ideas and styles they were exposed to in northern Italy. Monarchs and other important groups in the North found humanistic culture appealing, just as the people of the Italian Renaissance did. Both the Italian and Northern European Renaissance were based on humanism.

The people of the North European Renaissance were looking for reform and saw what the Italian Renaissance did for Italy. The Italian Renaissance was a model for the North European Renaissance reforming the literature, education, and the whole idea of the educated man. (Western Civilization Interpreting the Past, 2009) The humanism that grew in the North was not identical to the Italian Renaissance. Humanism in the North reflected main Italian elements while adding some of their own.

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While the North European Renaissance and Italian Renaissance shared many similarities, the North European Renaissance had some roots and characteristics that distinguish it from the Italian Renaissance. The people of the north European Renaissance focused more on Christian concerns. More emphases was placed on learning Classical languages to improve the translation of the Bible, studying Classical literature for its relation to Christian ideals and life, and producing artistic creations mostly of religious themes. The Northern Renaissance was a religious revolution. Western Civilization Interpreting the Past, 2009) The religious influences are one of the major differences in the Italian and North European cultures. The Northern Renaissance was more nationalistic because of its rising power of the national monarchies. (The Flow of History, 2007) With the similarities and differences of the Italian and North European Renaissance, the art work of the time also reflected these same ideas. There were many relationships in the art of the Italian and North European Renaissance. In both the art and science were closely connected.

The art of Northern European people also reflected the more religious nature of the Northern Renaissance. Secular and even mythological themes would appear, but with less frequency then in Italy. This intense religious passion is especially reflected in the work of the Spanish artist, El Greco. Technically, art in the North lagged behind Italy throughout the 1400’s, especially in its use of perspective and proportion. The key turning point came when the German artist, Albrecht Durer, traveled to Italy in 1494 to study its art.

Durer was heavily influenced by the Italians and the ancient writer, Vitruvius, in their efforts to find the mathematical proportions for portraying the perfect figure. Among other things, this shows a growing fusion of art and science that anticipated the scientific revolution that would sweep Europe two centuries later. (Art and Popular Culture, 2009) Other northern artists followed Durer, and from this time one sees a more realistic art in the North, which approached the standards of the Italian artists.

The Italian and Northern European Renaissance played a large role in the changes that happened in their cultures and art. During this time they felt that reform was needed in order to protect and make them more wealthy and powerful. There were many ideas that were taking from the Italian Renaissance and used in the North European Renaissance. It was also important for the success of Northern European people to implement ideas and styles of their own to make it work. Taking a more religious approach to the Renaissance helped Northern European develop ideas of reform that are still around today.

Both Renaissances played a large role in the history of art and culture of the time. References Art and Popular Culture. (2009). Northern Renaissance. Retrieved April 15, 2010 from http://www. artandpopularculture. com/Northern_Renaissance The Flow of History. (2007). The Northern Renaissance (c. 1500-1600). Retrieved April 15, 2010 from http://www. flowofhistory. com/units/west/11/FC78 Western Civilization Interpreting the Past. (2009). The Renaissance. Retrieve April 15, 2010 from http://edweb. tusd. k12. az. us/uhs/website/courses/WC/Historiography/renaissance. htm


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