Renaissance and Reformation in Europe

1400-1600: Van Eyck, Michelangelo, Titian and more.
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Northern Renaissance: the fifteenth century

Northern Europe’s wealthy merchants and nobles supported the art of van Eyck, Bosch, Dürer, Bruegel, and Holbein; art that invites us back to their world.

Early Renaissance in Italy: the fifteenth century

The engineering of Brunelleschi's dome, the naturalism of Donatello’s David, and the humanism of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus each help define the Early Renaissance in Italy.

High Renaissance in Florence and Rome

Michelangelo's Sistine Ceiling, Leonardo’s Last Supper, and Raphael's Stanza frescos shape our understanding of Western culture even today.

The Renaissance in Venice

Petrarch called Venice a "mundus alter”—another world. Here Bellini, Giorgione, and Titian made art as brilliant as the light that plays off the city's canals.

Reformation and Counter-Reformation

Why are there so many Protestant denominations (Baptist, Presbyterian, Pentecostal, etc.)? The early 16th century, a time when the Roman Catholicism was largely unchallenged in Western Europe, holds the answer.

Northern Renaissance: the sixteenth century

Discover Grünewald, Bosch, Dürer, Bruegel, Holbein and other extraordinary artists from the Renaissance in England, German, Flanders, etc.

Mannerism

The Mannerist style developed in the courts of the Italian elite. It built on Renaissance naturalism but distorts and deceives to delight its highly educated audience.

Early Renaissance in Italy: the fifteenth century

The engineering of Brunelleschi's dome, the naturalism of Donatello’s David, and the humanism of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus each help define the Early Renaissance in Italy.
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All content in “Early Renaissance in Italy: the fifteenth century”

A beginner's guide to Renaissance Florence

The Renaissance really gets going in the early years of 15th century in Florence. In this period, which we call the Early Renaissance, Florence is not a city in the unified country of Italy, as it is now. Instead, Italy was divided into many city-states (Florence, Milan, Venice etc.), each with their own government (some were ruled by despots, and others were republics).

Painting in Florence and Rome

In the 15th century, Florence was a proud republic where political power resided in the hands of wealthy merchant families (such as the Medici who would later seize control of Florence) and powerful guilds (organizations of merchants and craftsmen). Importantly for art history, all of these groups commissioned poetry, painting, sculpture and architecture—often as an expression of civic pride—making Florence the leading city-state in Italy during the cultural epoch we call the Renaissance. In the last half of the fifteenth century, Florentine artists were invited to Rome, to work for patrons like Pope Sixtus IV who had artists like Perugino, Ghirlandaio and Botticelli fresco the walls of the Sistine Chapel, in the Vatican.