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Renaissance [ imenica ]
Generiši izgovor

ETYM French, from renaître to be born again. Related to Renascence.
A new birth, or revival.
Revival, especially of art, architecture and literature in 14th-16th centuries in Europe.
The period of European history at the close of the Middle Ages and the rise of the modern world; a cultural rebirth from the 14th through the middle of the 17th centuries.
Revival of Learning; Period in European cultural history that began in Italy around 14and lasted there until the end of the 16th century; elsewhere in Europe it flourished later, and lasted until the 17th century. Characteristic of the Renaissance is the exploration of the world and of the individual, and the rediscovery of pagan classical antiquity (led by Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarch). Central to the Renaissance was humanism, the belief in the active, rather than the contemplative life, and a faith in the republican ideal. The greatest expression of the Renaissance was in the arts and learning. Leon Alberti, in his writings on painting, created both a method of painting—using perspective to create an illusion of a third dimension—and a classically-inspired, non-religious subject matter. In architecture, by his writing and his buildings he created a system of simple proportion that was to be followed for hundreds of years. Alberti's contemporaries Masaccio and Filippo Brunelleschi exemplified these ideas in painting and architecture respectively.
In the arts, critics regard the years 1490–15(the “High Renaissance”) as a peak, with the work of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael Sanzio, and Michelangelo Buonarotti in painting, and Michelangelo and Donato Bramante in architecture. The high-point of Venetian painting was to come some years later, with Titian, Paolo Veronese, and Tintoretto. Leonardo has been described as a “universal man” for the enormously wide-ranging studies, including painting, architecture, science, and engineering. The enormous achievements of creative artists was made possible by the patronage of wealthy ruling families such as the Sforza in Milan, and the Medici in Florence, by the ruling doge of Venice, or by Popes, notably Julius II and Leo X.
In literature, both Boccaccio and Petrarch wrote major works in Italian rather than Latin, a trend continued by the creation of epic poems in the vernacular by Ludovico Ariosto and Torquato Tasso. Progress from the religious to the secular was seen in the creation of the first public libraries, and by the many translations from the classics published in Venice in the 16th-century. In philosophy, the rediscovery of Greek thought took the form of neoplatonism in such figures as Marsilio Ficino. Niccolň Machiavelli in The Prince founded the modern study of politics.
Outside Italy, Renaissance art and ideas became widespread throughout Europe. Desiderius Erasmus, from the Netherlands, embodied humanist scholarship for northern Europe; Netherlandish painters include Albrecht Dürer and Hans Holbein. In France, Renaissance writers include François Rabelais, Joaquim Du Bellay, and Michel Eyquem de Montaigne; in Spain, Miguel de Cervantes, in Portugal, Luís Vaz de Camoëns, and in England William Shakespeare. The term “Renaissance”, to describe the period of cultural history, was invented by 19th-century historians. In the visual arts, the end of the High Renaissance is marked by a late 15th-century movement known as Mannerism, a tendency to deliberate elongation of the body, and a willful distortion of perspective; but the true end of the Renaissance ideal only came with the late 17th-century rise of the enlightenment.
The idea of the Renaissance.
The art historian Giorgio Vasari applied the term rinascita/rebirth to the rise of art from Giotto di Bondone onward. This judgment had been often anticipated, though never systematically; but it was only 19th-century criticism that adopted this concept for the development of Italian culture from the 14th to the early 16th century, and this is why what was an Italian phenomenon became baptized incongruously with the French term of the Renaissance. For Jules Michelet this meant the discovery of the world and of the individual, ideas popularized by Jakob Burckhardt in his famous book The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy 186Integral to this process was the rediscovery of classical antiquity, and as this was by definition pagan, so its revival, placed alongside the discovery of the individual, colored the whole view of the Renaissance as both antimedieval and anti-Christian. So after the Christian world of the Middle Ages followed an era splendid in its cultural surface, but pagan, and therefore suspec.
T in its moral qualities, and destined for condign punishment in the catastrophes that overtook Italy with the late 15th century.
Naturally, there were those who regretted and decried the Renaissance on these grounds, or went further, and denied its importance or even its existence. And apart from these fringe criticisms, and for those who would still assert the paramount importance of the Italian Renaissance, the starkly simple views of 19th-century critics have been greatly modified. This is seen most clearly in that confident assertion of the pagan consequences of the resurrection of classical antiquity. Here the basic figure is Petrarch, and it is obvious on the most cursory inspection that he is resolutely Christian in temper, and that the movement of Humanism that stems from him cannot have an anti-Christian surface or direction. Nevertheless, caught as he still is by the medieval-Christian distrust of the things of this world, Petrarch finally, both from his reading of the Fathers, and from his beloved Cicero, proclaimed the providentiality of the world, meant for human use, and not for human renunciation. So Petrarch begins, as.
In the title of the survey of Humanism, In Our Image and Likeness, with a positive, rather than a negative, view of humanity in this world.
The 15th century in Florence.
Via Boccaccio, and especially, the historian Coluccio Salutati (1331–1406), Petrarch’s ideas filtered to Florence at the close of the 14th century, inspiring what has been called “civic humanism”, the belief in the value of the active, rather than the contemplative, life, as in Florentine championship of the cause of republican liberty. Well before Petrarch, the ultimate Christian authority may be with St Jerome: Sancta quippe rusticitas solum sibi prodest, ut ille ait (Inasmuch as sacred naďvety only benefits itself, as he says). But the most immediate authority is Petrarch, and from this sanction sprang the activity of the humanist educators, chief among them Guarino da Verona (1374–146and Vittorino da Felter (1378–144and the many treatises of the first half of the 15th century that have as their theme the dignity of humanity. The prime exemplar of these is a work by Giannozzo Manetti (1396–1459), On the Dignity and Excellence of Man 1451–5with its watchword for contemporary humanism, agere et inte.
Lligere (to do and to understand). Nothing could better indicate the eager temperament of the Italian Quattrocento.
Petrarch, though Florentine by parentage, was brought up in Provence because of his father's exile. In this way he benefited from the process by which Italian clerics with French benefices were unlocking the resources of the old French cathedral libraries. It was especially Livy whom Petrarch found almost complete at Avignon, and whose text he began to restore after its long period of gradual corruption. This is not an activity that Petrarch ever advertised, but he is the fountainhead of the critical repossession of the classical inheritance in the 15th century, even though he only takes second place to Boccaccio in the matter of recovering contact with the long lost world of Greek learning and literature. Petrarch restored a sense of classical latinity, and initiated the recovery and revision of ancient texts that followed with the early 15th century. Such is the enthusiasm with which this was pursued that the task, especially for Latin literature, was virtually completed in the first quarter of the 15th cen.
Tury, with the generation of Poggio Bracciolini (1380–1459), one of the most successful discoverers of classical manuscripts buried in monastic libraries.
Alberti and the visual arts.
While the literary impulse came from Petrarch, it was left for another Florentine, only a century later, to legislate for the arts. Leon Battista Alberti was also of a family exiled from Florence, but the impact of the Florentine scene when he returned there in about 14was very strong, and turned his mind to the practice and the theory of art. In the absence of any surviving treatise on painting from antiquity Alberti is the first in this field, and his De pictura/On Painting 14codifies and sharpens the Florentine conquest of space in painting, and makes the subject of painting itself the real world, seen as through a window, with the illusion of the third dimension created by a mathematically based perspective. By this revolution in approach the flat religious art of the Gothic and Byzantine world, with its gold backgrounds, and its primary unblended colors, was swept away. And to coincide with the renewal of form, he also provided for a renewal of the subject-matter. For him a “history” is the content.
Of painting, and he quotes as an example the Calumny of Apelles, one of the few recorded pictures from antiquity. And thus, alongside the dominant ecclesiastical art of the Middle Ages, the secular painting of the Renaissance was born.
Alberti is no less epoch-making in his legislating for architecture. Here he was both architect (the Rucellai palace in Florence, the Tempio Malatestiano at Rimini) and theoretician of architecture. This time an ancient theorist, Vitruvius, had survived; and those who view the whole Renaissance as merely the cult and the imitation of antiquity see this process as instanced in Alberti’s De Architectura 145But just as in the façade of Santa Maria Novella at Florence (147Alberti shows a profound respect for the underlying Gothic elements, so in writing he is notably independent of Vitruvius. What he looked for was principles rather than rules, and he established, along with the prime importance of architecture as an activity, a humanistic trilogy, of necessity, commodity, and delight.
This entails, of course, the substitution of a few large elements reduced to a symmetrical whole by the use of a basic module and of simple proportions that seemed to Alberti common to buildings, music, and the whole order of Nature. It also banishes the multiplicity of parts that was the hallmark of Gothic architecture. Alberti proposed a rational architecture, and by a very natural sidestep he coupled this with the revival of the classical idiom. This may be less logical than he thought, but as it was of the greatest consequence for the future architecture of all Europe, so it was also of the greatest convenience. At one stroke architecture gained a universal language, complete with columns (which seemed to Alberti the noblest ornament) and orders, capable of infinite modulation, something that was to do duty not only through the Renaissance, and in Italy itself, but also to last for Europe (and America) till well into the 19th century.
As we may say that Alberti codified what was already happening in Florentine painting with Masaccio, so we may say that in architecture he codified, and further classicised, what had been prepared by Brunelleschi. Alberti's theory of painting opened the avenues at least as far as the Impressionists, though a vital contribution from the Flemish painters, much admired in Italy in the 15th century, must be included (with contacts especially via the wool trade). The Flemish moved empirically toward the use of perspective, and brought the new technique of oil painting, from which particularly the colorist art of Venice was to benefit. But in architecture Alberti's theory underlies the Renaissance itself, the age of Baroque (seen today not as an aberration from the classical norm but as a variant within it), and on through Rococo to Neo-Classicism.
These, then, are the contributions of Florence to the Age first of Humanism and then of the Renaissance. They were possible, of course, within the political and economic circumstances of the time. In Italy feudalism was never firmly established, and because of the weakness of the two “universal” authorities, Empire and Papacy, individual cities established their autonomy. Their prosperity followed with Italian primacy in trade and banking, and it was in a Florence enriched by wool, silk, and banking that the new ideas were able to develop. Since these were preconditions it follows that there is no single dividing line between Middle Ages and Renaissance, and there are all sorts of overlaps between the two. Indeed, for Vasari, the moment for the rebirth of the arts is 125since Giotto is the instrument and the date is chosen to coincide with the first strong affirmation of Florentine primacy in Tuscany.
The 15th century in other Italian cities.
Florence is the representative of the Age, and spirit, of the Communes; but the Communes tended naturally to give way to ruling families. In Florence itself the Medici from 14became virtually princes, and under Lorenzo Medici the new aspects of culture flourished in a courtly environment. This state of things was repeated in other courts in Italy, notably with the Gonzaga in Mantua, the Este in Ferrara, the Sforza in Milan, under Federigo da Montefeltro in Urbino, and with Alfonso of Aragon in Naples. The search for classical manuscripts was extended as far as Byzantium, and with the threat to, and fall of the Eastern Empire in 14scholars from the East added to the Greek influence in Renaissance learning. Prominent among these was Cardinal Bessarion (c. 1403–1472), whose legacy of books founded the great Library of St Mark's in Venice; earlier in Florence the first public library of Europe had been established by the Medici in San Marco. This is all part of a process by which learning, once exclusively.
Monastic, becomes secular.
The secularization of learning was enormously advanced by the invention in Germany in the mid-15th century of printing with movable type. Printing was imported into Italy around 146and rapidly adopted, especially in Venice, which became for at least a century the center of the European book trade. Just before the time of printing, Pope Nicholas V had encouraged the translation into Latin of the Greek authors then being discovered. But at the turn of the century Aldus Manutius, the famous Roman printer established in Venice, supplied Europe with the editiones principes (first printed editions) of Greek literature and, with his adoption of italic in 150a whole series of pocket-sized plain texts of both classical and modern literature. The foundations for the modern world—for the whole of Europe—lay in this new, and previously undreamt of, availability of learning to all.
The High Renaissance in art.
Artistically, the 15th century was already a blaze of splendor: from Masaccio and Donatello to Sandro Botticelli in Florence itself, and elsewhere with, for example, Piero della Francesca and Andrea Mantegna. But it is with the beginning of the 16th century, and with the pontificates of Julius II and Leo X, that the focus shifts to Rome, that we have the climax of the High Renaissance in the work of Michelangelo and Raphael. Paralleling these two is a third, who never came to Rome, but who is associated with Lodovico Sforza in Milan, and who died in France in 151where he had gone on the invitation of Francis I. This is Leonardo da Vinci, whose painted work seems all the more precious in that it is so rare, and because of his experimentation, so fragile. For Vasari these three were the culmination of a continuous ascent that had begun in the 14th century; they brought a glow of superhuman grandeur to Italian art, an impression that has not faded since. Leonardo, from the scope of his interests, has always b.
Een taken as the pattern of the universal human of the Renaissance.the Renaissance in Venice.
Venice had remained somewhat aloof from the general pattern, looking outward to its trade with the Levant, and backward to links with the Eastern Empire. But Venice made a step forward with the generation of Aldus to dominate the book trade; and with Jacopo Bellini and Giorgione Venice takes a place as equal in Renaissance painting. And since Venice, in spite of the cruel crisis of the War of Cambrai in 150survived the fall of Italian liberties and the advent of absolutism with Charles V (from 1530), remaining rich and free throughout the 16th century, it continued the blaze of artistic splendor with Titian, Veronese and Tintoretto; as with the most influential of all Renaissance architects, Andrea Palladio. In general the year 15can be taken as something of a terminus for the Renaissance in Italy, but with Venice the date can be carried forward to nearer 1600.
The idea of the Renaissance Gentleman.
Just as it is false to see the Renaissance as a simple and sharp contrast with the Middle Ages, as did Michelet and Burckhardt, neither should it be seen as all of one piece. After the age of civic humanism came the dominance of the Medici in Florence, and in those contacts made with eastern scholars when the Council of Florence was attempting the reconciliation of the Eastern and Western Churches (a last effort to stave off the menace of the Turk) Cosimo de’Medici had been attracted to the figure of Plato. So there came his patronage of Marsilio Ficino and the birth of the Platonic Academy. Ficino became the disciple of Plato, and an advocate of neoplatonism. Perhaps coincidentally, but as befits a court, the contemplative ideal began once more to gain over the active one. It was transmitted potently to Europe by a book that mirrored one of the noblest of Italian courts, that of Urbino. This was Baldassar Castiglione’s Il cortegiano/The Book of the Courtier). Published in 15(that is, after the Sack of Rom.
E, 152it has a nostalgic vision of the civilisation nurtured in Urbino from the time of Federigo da Montefeltro, in one of the most beautiful of princely palaces. Apart from offering in its close the neoplatonic idea to Europe, it recommended not so much the status of the courtier, as the ideal of the gentleman. There is no other comparable book that encapsulated the ideals of the Italian Renaissance, and its European success ensured the diffusion of the message.
Renaissance religion and science.
Lorenzo Valla had been the sharpest critical mind of the 15th century. As a philologist he prepared for Politian, and the two are almost alone in still commanding respect among modern classical scholars. As the author of the Elegantiae 1435–Valla taught the whole of Europe the way to a purer Latin style. As the demolisher of the myth of the Donation of Constantine he made the first onslaught on established falsehood. Erasmus published Valla’s Annotations of the New Testament, where what seemed a sacrilegious criticism was first applied to what was thought to be the very Word of God. Valla was counted by Reformation thinkers as a forerunner; but the chronological sequence of Renaissance followed by Reformation does not imply cause and effect, and few today would see prominent links between the two.
Similarly, it is doubtful whether the cause of scientific development stems greatly from the Italian Renaissance. Indeed, it was the thesis of Toffanin that the rise of Humanism stifled the sciences in favor of a literary phenomenon. Printing was invented by the Germans, and certainly Copernicus was born in Poland, and Francis Bacon precedes Galileo, who only gives a scientific achievement to Italy well into the 17th century, outside the chronological limits usually set to the Renaissance.
The aim of Renaissance education was to produce the “complete human being” (uomo universale), conversant in the humanities, mathematics and science (including their application in war), the arts and crafts, and athletics and sport; to enlarge the bounds of learning and geographical knowledge; to encourage the growth of skepticism and free thought, and the study and imitation of Greek and Latin literature and art. The study of the classics was not held to be incompatible in any way with Christian principles. There was little formal education for girls.
Political thought and history.
It was in political thought and the writing of history that Italy gave the clearest lead to Europe, and here also the humanist moment preceded the vernacular one. Leonardo Bruni, Chancellor of Florence (and one of the civic humanists of the era of Salutati), wrote a great History of the Florentine People, written in Latin, that broke with the age of medieval chronicles, renounced all trace of the providential in history, and heralded by a century the work of Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini. Machiavelli’s Prince (151was abundantly misunderstood, but it is the foundation-stone of political discussion, while his Florentine Histories, and still more so Francesco Guicciardini’s History of Italy 1537–are the fundamental documents of modern historical writing.
Renaissance and vernacular literature.
That both Guicciardini and Machiavelli wrote in the vernacular is proof that 19th-century theories of Humanism stifling with its cold and imitative surface the native strain of literature were wrong. In reality there is a strong vernacular current running through the 15th century, acknowledged and encouraged by many humanists, as by Leonardo Bruni or Alberti. Vernacular poetry was consciously resumed by such figures as Lorenzo the Magnificent and Politian, and the genres that survive are enriched by contact with classical poetry. This is conspicuously so with Ariosto, whose Orlando furioso (153is the most popular poem of the 16th century. Finally, at the beginning of the 16th century came Pietro Bembo (1470–1547), to accord an equal rank to the vernacular with the Latin tongue itself. His Prose della volgar lingua 15made Tuscan the undisputed literary idiom for the whole of Italy, and prepared the way for others elsewhere such as Joachim Du Bellay, with his Deffense et illustration de la langue françois.
E, or Philip Sidney’s Defence of Poesie.
The Renaissance outside Italy.
The impact of Humanism and the Italian Renaissance on the rest of Europe was varied. It was Erasmus more than any other single figure who embodied humanist scholarship for northern Europe. He found and published in 15the Adnotationes in Novum Testamentum of Lorenzo Valla, and began thereby the science of biblical criticism. The generation of Erasmus acknowledged the ideal of the three learned languages, Latin, Greek and Hebrew, the last added to the muster by the merit particularly of Pico della Mirandola, that prodigy of learning who stood alongside Mansilio Ficino in the renewal of attitudes in the second half of the Quattrocento in Florence. This ideal of the collčge trilingue was to inspire Rabelais in France in the early 16th century; while later Montaigne, with his purely Latin upbringing, his wide range over all his Latin authors, and with his interest in the individual, is unthinkable without the background of the Renaissance.
When Charles VIII invaded Italy in 14the impact of the Italian scene on the French was very strong, and helped the spread of Italian art and artists to France. Besides Leonardo, other Italian artists such as Francesco Primaticcio or Niccolň dell'Abate worked for Francis I at Fontainebleau, influencing decisively the École de Fontainebleau. Also employed by Francis I was that quintessential figure of a Renaissance artist, Benvenuto Cellini. The effects on French art were perhaps delayed, to culminate with Claude Lorraine and Nicolas Poussin in the 17th century; and the principles of Italian architecture were always to be compromised there with the strong traditions of French building.
In the 15th century, English scholars studied at Italian universities, or were pupils of such famous teachers as Guarino Guarini and Vittorino da Feltra. William Grocyn (c. 1446–151introduced the study of Greek to Oxford in 149others collected manuscripts for Duke Humphrey of Gloucester (to be incorporated in the Bodleian Library), while round Thomas More in London a circle of scholars welcomed Erasmus to England. In architecture a feeling of symmetry, with Italianate detail, appeared surprisingly at Longleat House, Wiltshire, in 156well before the pure doctrine was proclaimed by Inigo Jones in the Banqueting House in Whitehall and the Queen's House at Greenwich. And after the Baroque architecture of Christopher Wren (itself derived from Italy) the era of Palladianism pervades the English country house in the 18th century, and is felt as far afield as Russia, or the colonies of North America.

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