The Northern Renaissance

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The Northern Renaissance
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When April with his showers
sweet with fruit. The drought of
March has pierced unto the
root, And bathed each vein with
liquor that has power, To generate
therein and sire the flower; When
Zephyr also has, with his sweet
breath, Quickened again, in every
holt and heath.
Printing Press
 Johann Gutenberg
 1398-1468, German Goldsmith
 1456 – developed moveable type
 Introduced printing to Europe
 Impact
 By 1500 – more than 20 million volumes
 By 1600 – more than 200 million
 Making books  cheaper, easier, more efficient
 Millions of copies of the Bible
 Education increased  literacy
Literacy
 Why is literacy so important?
 People interpret things themselves
  form own opinions
  individuality (free thinking, self-reliance)
Renaissance Spreads North
Why it took so long
 North recovers slowly from the Plague

Feudalism disappeared later than in Italy
 Catholic Church’s power weakens in the North
 Europe was torn
Christian Humanism
 Humanism  Christian Humanism in the
North
 Scholars tried to unite classical learning (Greek
& Roman) with Christian faith
 Religious and moral reforms
Sir Thomas More
 1478-1535
 Classic English Humanist
 Studied Law,
 Lord Chancellor under Henry VIII

Eventually executed by Henry VIII
 Utopia – 1516
 No one knew what utopia meant: Ideal Place
 Ou-topos (no place) eu-topos (good place)
 Description of an ideal state since Plato’s Republic
Utopia
 Name for a fictional island society & its customs
 Communal ownership of land
 No private property
 men and women educated the same
 complete religious toleration  not atheism
 Do these ideas sound similar?
 Communism
Humanist Thinkers in the North
 Erasmus: Dutch Humanist
 Prince of Northern
Humanism
 Said Italian Renaissance
only focused on the elite
class
 Northern Renaissance
thinkers reformed
society’s ills
 Focused on all levels of
society  not just elite.
 Wrote “Praise of
Folly”

About church’s mistakes

Ignorance, superstition,
and greed
 Wanted church reform
but not reformation.
Shakespeare
 produced most of his known work: 1589-1613.
 early plays: comedies and histories.
 wrote mainly tragedies until about 1608

Hamlet, King Lear, Othello, and Macbeth,
 some of the finest works in the English language.
 last phase: wrote tragicomedies, aka romances
Northern Renaissance Artists
 Greatest painters of the
Northern Renaissance were
from
 Flanders (now Belgium)
 Germany
Albrecht Durer: Painter
 1471-1528: Nuremberg, Germany
 German “Leonardo” – studied in
Venice

Anatomy, science, math (proportions)
 Spread Renaissance ideas North
 Mastered wood cuts & carvings
 Religious & classical subjects
Hans Holbein the Younger
 1497-1543: Germany
 “the Younger” to distinguish from father
 Greatest portraits of the 16th century
 Artist for Henry VIII
 Most famous painting – Anne Cleves – 4th wife of
Henry VIII
Hans Holbein the Younger: Anne of Cleves
Jan Van Eyck
 1395-1441 – Flemish painter
 Father of oil painting
 Perfected new effects using this technique
 Van Eyck often signed his paintings on their frames
 Cathedral at Ghent, the Adoration of the Lamb
(1432)

First PAINTED altar piece (before they would be wood cuts)
Adoration of the Lamb
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