The Renaissance

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European History

AP European History


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an intellectual movement, people who studied classical culture of Greece and Rome. Focused mainly on worldly subjects, tried to stay away from religious subjects. Those that followed this movement believed that education stimulated individuals creative powers. They emphasized grammar, rhetoric, poetry and history.


(1304-1374) a Renaissance humanist, poet, and scholar. An important figure in the movement of literary humanism, as well as established a library of Greek/Roman writings in churches and monasteries; considered the "father of Humanism"


Financial support. The wealthy Florentine Medici family, mainly Lorenzo "the Magnificent", provided patronage to the arts; allowing Renaissance art to expand.

Leonardo da Vinci

(1452-1519) An artist with endless curiosity. He dissected corpses, bones, and muscles to discover how the body works. He is known for painting the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.


(1457-1564) Renaissance painter and sculpture. Painted ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, nine scenes from the Old Testament, and Last Judgment. He sculpted the David, Moses, and the Pieta.


(1483-1520) Famous painter worked mainly in Florence and Rome, his style blended Christian and classical styles. Best known for his Madonnas and his Vatican paintings, including the School of Athens, a humanist portrayal of great thinkers and philosophers.

Castiglione, Book of the Courtier

A Humanist and Papal diplomat Castiglione wrote Book Of Courtier(1518) which had his beliefs/ rules for gentlemen behavior


15th-16th century author most known for The Prince, a philosophical tome for how princes should govern. The book argues against the pursuit of ideal virtues in favor of ruthless tactics in which a prince should above all concern himself with remaining in power, notions which continue to inform politicians today.

Northern Renaissance

Began in the cities of Flanders, a region included parts of present-day northern France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. During the fifteenth century, northern cities experienced economic growth and wealth and began to develop their own cultural renaissance.

Christian humanists

Humanist in the Northern Renaissance that tried to unite classical learning with christian faith and they sought to achieve a balance of other worldly and secular concern.

Gutenberg's Bible

(1456) This text was one of the first texts printed with the printing press, marking the beginning of the printing revolution. This resulted in books being cheaper, easier to produce, and more widely available.

Jan van Eyck

1390-1441 Northern Renaissance painter. The first to use and develop oil paintings. Used great detail in his portrayal of townspeople and religious scenes - known for The Adoration of the Lamb.

Peter Brueghel the Elder

1500 - Flemish Painter who used vibrant colors to depict peasant life. Painted religious subjects and landscapes.

Peter Paul Rubens

(1577-1640) He was a Flemish Baroque painter who blended realism and freedom, known for his mythological paintings, portraits, religious paintings, and everyday life paintings. These paintings include The Raising of the Cross and Descent from the Cross.

Albrecht Durer

(1471-1528) the "Leonardo of the North" this German artist was best known for his engravings in which he portrayed classical and religious themes, as well as helping to elevate printmaking as a talent on the same level as painting and sculpture.

Hans Holbein

(1497-1543) the son of a German Gothic painter, he studied in Italy, focusing on shading and perspective. He became best known as a Northern Renaissance portrait painter, notably his portrait of Erasmus. He worked primarily with noble and royal subjects. He was the official court painter of Henry VIII.


1547-1616 a contemporary of Shakespeare, this Spanish writer is best known for Don Quixote, his satirical novel of medieval chivalry featuring a Spanish nobleman in search of adventures and his sidekick, who serves as the contrast to Quixote's whimsical lack of realism.


An individualist and rebel who studied medicine, he wrote "Gargantua" and "Pantagruel" in 1532. These stories serve as satirical fantasies about giants who engage in every pleasure. In it, he expresses his views on philosophy and his belief that individuals have the ability to lead good lives.


(1564-1593) Wrote 38 dramas on comedies and tragedies which were produced on the London stage. His plays showed the Renaissance ideals of human achievement.

The Medicis

(1434-1494)- The ruling family of Florence, this family came into power when Cosmio de' Medici became the uncrowned ruler of Florence and continued with his son, Lorenzo. They were generous patrons of the Renaissance and one of the main reasons the renaissance began in Italy.


(1452-1498) An Italian best known for his attempts to expose the corruption within the church clergy and the oppressive values of rulers like Pope Alexander VI and the Duke of Milan. He became a leading man in Florence after the Medicis were overthrown in 1494

Sforza family

The family similar to the Medici ruled Milan during the 15 Century Renaissance. The most known of the family was Ludovico as he ruled Milan from 1480-1499, starting the massive amount of power of the family.


A small group that has strong control over all aspects of politics or business, and sometimes both.


(1444-1510)- He was a Florentine painter and was known for his graceful paintings marked by the use of vivid colors. His best works were inspired by the themes drawn in classical mythology. Some of his works were The Birth of Venus and Primavera.


1500-1571 This Italian goldsmith, sculptor, and artist was considered an important artist within the genre of Mannerism, perhaps best known for his sculpture "Perseus with the head of Medusa" and his shocking autobiography which revealed his wild exploits

Lorenzo Valla

1405-1457 Renaissance scholar who used new methods of linguistics and historical analysis to prove the "Donation of Constance" was forged and therefore not the Pope's claim to rule Italy.


1266-1337 Considered the first artist of the Italian Renaissance. While trained in the Byzantine style, he departed from this style and adopted realism and landscapes as well as experiments with chiaroscuro. Most noted for his frescoes of St. Francis of Assisi.


1401-1428 A strong influence on other artists, this Florentine emerged after Giotto to use light and shade to create perspective. Best known for his The Holy Trinity fresco in Florence.


1386-1466 Florentine sculptor best known for his bronze David, the first free standing nude sculpture since Roman times, as well as his bronze Gattamelata, the first equestrian statue since Roman times.


1377-1446 The first major architect of the Renaissance best known for his innovative octagonal dome of the cathedral in Florence which adopted a dome within a dome design.


(1485-1576) Greatest painter of the Venetian school; used vivid color and movement in contrast to the subtle colors and static figures of the Florentine style


Most celebrated of northern humanists. Wrote Praise of Folly which criticized the lack of spirituality in the Church and ridiculed superstition, ignorance, and vice of Christians on pilgrimages, fasting, and the Church's interpretation of the Bible.

Thomas More

English humanist, contemporary of Erasmus, and author of Utopia, in which he condemned governments and use as corrupt, and private property. Executed by Henry VIII when he refused to agree that the King was the supreme head of the English Church.


(1490-1553) Greek Scholar and French humanist of the Renaissance. Published "Gargantua and Pantagruel", a satirical story of two giants, attacking clerical education and monastic orders. Believed in secular learning.

Charles V

Holy Roman Emperor. Supporter of Catholicism, tried to crush the Reformation with the Counter-Reformation.


Northern Italian Renaissance cities with merchant guilds responsible for building and maintaining city walls, regulating trade, raising taxes, and keeping civil order.


A name given to the common people during the Renaissance. Throughout the 13th century they would often use armed forces and violence to attempt to take over the city governments.


Lords of Italian cities offering to keep peace between communes in ordering to maintain power.


Mercenary leaders employed by Italian city-states during the Renaissance


Political system in which the supreme power lies with an individual or group that is non-hereditary; the absence monarchy or natural hierarchy.


An attitude that reflected and stressed personality, uniqueness, genius, and full development of one's own capabilities.


A concern with the material world, rather than the spiritualism of the Middle Ages. Church leaders did not discourage the idea, and it was reflected in the art, writing, and politics of the Renaissance.

Lorenzo Ghiberti

Designed bronze doors for the San Giovanni Baptistry in Florence. The doors were nicknamed "The Gates of Paradise" by Michelangelo.

Cesare Borgia

Son of Pope Alexander VI, embodied Machiavelli's The Prince, wanted to unite Italy under his control.

Michel de Montaigne

Early modern skeptic who developed a new literary genre: the essay. He rejected the claim that one culture may be superior to others; believed that object of life was to "know thyself"


School of thought founded on doubt that total certainty or definitive knowledge is ever attainable

realism (art)

Practice of dealing with ordinary characters from real life rather than romantic heroes in unusual settings.

perspective (art)

The appearance of having a 3-D effect on a 2-D surface.

chiaroscuro (art)

The treatment of light and shade in a work of art to give an illusion of depth.