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The Renaissance Move the North

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The Renaissance Moves North

Around what time did the Renaissance begin to move north?
We can say Renaissance began in the mid-1400s to 1450 in Italy, when a German printer named Johannes Gutenberg began a work on a project that would create a new way of printing books. He would develop a system of movable type that are individual letters and marks that could be arranged and rearranged quickly, and through this new machine the availability of books would change the way information and ideas traveled in Europe.
Causes of Renaissence:
The Renaissance, a movement which stressed the ideas of the classical world, has been described as ending the medieval era and heralding the start of the modern age. Its causes were many, all deeply interconnected and now historians debate the relative importance of each, as well as when the Renaissance actually began. The mid fourteenth century is a common date for the start, although some commentators go back further. In addition Florence was once identified as the initial home of the Renaissance, but some histories widen this to Italy as a whole. The following are the main factors:
-New Secular Hunger for Discovering Texts: The courts and monasteries of Europe had long been repositories of old manuscripts and texts, but a change in how scholars viewed them stimulated the massive reappraisal of classical works in the Renaissance.
-Reintroduction of Classical Works: While there were classical texts in Western Europe at the start of the Renaissance, many had been lost and existed only in the east, in both Christian Constantinople and Muslim states. During the Renaissance many key texts were reintroduced into Europe, whether by merchants taking advantage of the new hunger for old texts, or by scholars who had been invited over to teach.
-The Printing Press: A hunger for forgotten texts may have developed in Europe, but it was the new printing press that allowed these works to be mass produced, feeding a much wider audience than the old hand written methods could ever have hoped to reach. This in turn allowed the Renaissance to develop more fully.
-The Political Situation: The Need for Display and Administration: The Renaissance changes in the style of art, as well as the outlook of artists, needed wealthy patrons to support it, and Renaissance Italy was especially fertile ground. Political changes in the ruling class of Italy shortly before this period had led to the rulers of most of the major city states being “new men” without much of a political history. This meant that artists keen to use their new found Renaissance ideas were ably supported and able to produce masterpieces.
-New Wealth and the Black Death: In the middle of the fourteenth century the Black Death swept across Europe, killing perhaps a third of the population. While devastating, some of the survivors found themselves better off financially and socially, with the same wealth spread among fewer people, and better potential for climbing the social ladder. This was especially true in Italy, where social mobility was much greater.
Renaissance Thought and Literature Spread:
Over time, the changes that supported the birth of the Renaissance in Italy moved northward into western and northern Europe. Northern industry and trade expanded. The feudal and religious base of medieval society weakened. These changes were followed by changes in literature, art, and culture. Renaissance ideas, along with developments such as Gutenberg’s printing methods, helped bring change to the entire European continent.
As had happened in Italy, many scholars in northern and Western Europe became interested in humanism. Renaissance thinkers throughout Europe applied the ideas of humanism to religious thinking, a movement called Christian humanism.
These thinkers were concerned with the study of Christianity, rather than with the study of Greek and Roman texts.
Erasmus: was a Roman Catholic priest. However, in one of his most famous works, ‘‘In Praise of Folly’’, he mocked certain Church practices because he believed that such practices often covered up corruption and had to do little with true faith.

Literature of the Northern Renaissance
Many writers in northern and western Europe were influenced by new literary ideas developed during the Italian Renaissance. Like Petrarch and other Italian writers, these authors experimented with new ideas and unfamiliar literary forms.
-Francois Rabelais: from France was a devoted follower of Erasmus. His best-known work is ‘‘Gargantua and Pantagruel’’, a tale that uses comedy to express the ideas of humanism.
-A group of seven French poets known as the Pleiades applied ancient Greek and Roman forms to create new poetry in French. These poems focused in love or patriotism.
The spread of Renaissance ideas also brought new energy to poets in England. Sir Thomas Wyatt and Earl of Surrey helped introduce a popular Italian form of poetry, the sonnet in the early 1500s.
England’s best known poet, William Shakespeare, wrote at least 37 verse plays, many of them based on plots borrowed from ancient works.

Art of the Northern Renaissance
Several artists in northern and Western Europe distinguished themselves during the Renaissance.
-Jan van Eyck was a Flemish painter who lived in the early 1400s, was a master or realistic portraits. He used various layers of oil paints to create rich visual effects. His bright colors and eye for realism show the details of everyday life in the region that is now part of Belgium and the Netherlands.
-Albrecht Dürer was a German painter as well as a master of woodcuts and engraving. In the late 1400s, Dürer visited Italy to see firsthand the work of Italian Renaissance masters. This visit had a deep impact on the young artist, whose work began to reflect Italian style.

How did the Renaissance change Europe?
The Renaissance did not only change Europe. It changed the world. The introduction of classical humanistic ideas caused people to truly question openly for the first time in history without fear. Not only was there an explosion in cultural forms of art, such as mannerism and baroque, but people also shared ideas regarding society and politics. Machiavelli wrote "The Prince" during the Renaissance and became the father of modern political theory. He wrote his work hundreds of years ago and we're still studying it and applying it today. You also had the split from the Roman Catholic Church that created religious wars until today. Art soared to unsurpassed heights with Michaelangelo's Sistine ceiling. Durer, in the Northern Renaissance created engravings for the printing press, allowing the common man (for the first time ever) to have art and communication made available. People went from absolute monarchies, to balance of power and diplomacy to solve disputes. It truly was an age of advancement for humanity.

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