Italian and Northern European Renaissance

Italian and Northern European Renaissance The Italian and Northern Europe Renaissances were both an important mark in history by changing the ideals of life, thought, culture, and art of the people’s of this time. In this paper I will explain the motive for change in these cultures, including the similarities and differences of the two cultures. The Italian and Northern European Renaissance was the marking point for leaving behind the old ways and moving into the more classical ideals and civilizations for Italy and Northern Europe. However, Northern Europe developed their ideals more slowly then Italy did. For one thing, the north held on to Gothic (or “Middle Ages”) art and architecture with a tighter, longer grip than did Italy” (Esaak, 2010). Both the Greeks and the Romans found they needed to reinvent the classical ideals through their literature and philosophical writings, making art an important factor in their decisions. The Renaissance period for the Italians and the Greeks was more focused on the ideal of an individual person, the importance of classical art, literature, and the laws of the country. The Italian Renaissance played a large role in how individuals viewed and thought about themselves.

The idea of a person thinking of themselves of an individual instead of a group became a large focus in philosopher’s writings. Individualism was celebrated and encouraged during this time. Early Italian Renaissance also marked the changes in social, political, and economical changes. The development in political stability was due to the increased contact with other civilizations, and urbanization hit its climax. The arts of the Italian Renaissance reflected the confidence of the people of this time. This confidence is noticeable in paintings by Donatello, and Michelangelo.

Even though the paintings still reflected Christian, and secular subjects, the classical ideals were woven into the art work. The architecture during the Italian Renaissance was based upon the appearance, theory, details, and measurements of classical world architecture. The classical aspects were used to humanize the Christian and secular buildings. The High Renaissance in Italy, although short lived, was extremely important on the influences of future Italian art. During the High Renaissance the main focus on Florence, for the arts, shifted to Rome due to the power and wealth from the popes.

Because of the move from Florence to Rome, the two most important factors of this time, Classicism and Christianity, were merged into one. “Italian ideas were also brought northward through trade and commerce into Europe, where they had a tremendous amount of influence on the artistic traditions there as well” (Benton & DiYanni, 2008). Both the Italian and Northern European Renaissance had interest in changing their ideals in individualism, humanism, and classicism, which has a large impact on their cultures, and arts.

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Many of the literary works of this time expressed the same interests between Italy and Northern Europe. Examples can be seen in the writings of Petrarch (Italian) and Michel de Montaigne (Northern European). Both of these writers expressed the importance and idealism of humanism. The literature during this time was a wonderful looking glass into the similarities and differences of Italy and Northern Europe. After looking at the Italian and Northern Europe Renaissances, one can see the many similarities between the arts and cultures, but the differences of these cultures are not as easily noticeable.

One difference between Italy and Northern Europe was the decline of the Catholic Church in Northern Europe. Europeans began to discover new religious practices, and not follow the normal Catholic traditions. Italy on the other hand, continued to have a strong hold on the traditional Catholic traditions, and practices. Another difference between the two cultures, as mentioned before, was the architecture. Italy moved from the Gothic architecture and decor while Northern Europe held onto the Gothic style for a longer period of time.

When comparing the similarities and differences between the Italian and Northern Europe Renaissances, one can see both cultures held many of the same beliefs, motivations, and move for change. Art and culture were both very important for these cultures and helped lead the way for future development of the cultures. References Esaak, S. (2010). The Renaissance in Northern Europe – Art History 101 Basics. Retrieved June 6, 2010, from http://arthistory. about. com/cs/arthistory10one/a/north_ren. htm Benton & DiYanni, (2008). Arts and Culture, Combined Volume (3rd Edition). Retrieved June 6, 2010, from

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