This item includes a Power Point Presentation on the Northern Renaissance with student notes. Likewise, if you don't want to cover this material with a presentation, there is a guided reading worksheet to do instead.
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The Northern Renaissance
The artistic expressions of the Renaissance Era (1300-1600 CE), started in Italy and spread to Britain, Germany, France, and other areas. Leonardo di Vinci moved to France and died there in 1519. Artistic techniques, such as perspective (making objects appear 3D) and realism (making works appear lifelike), spread to the northern areas of Europe through Leonardo and others. Ideas such as humanism (enjoying the material world in moderation and longing for human flourishing) and secularism (valuing the here and now over religious views of the afterlife) also spread as well.
Flanders, an area in modern day Northern France and the Netherlands, became an artist hub. An artist in this area, Jan van Eyck (1390-1441) used oil paintings to create realistic expressions of light and perspective. Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) was a native of Germany who was artistically trained in Italy and returned to Germany to spread Renaissance artistic techniques. An apprentice of Durer, Hans Holbein (1497-1543), was trained in Durer’s techniques and moved to England. This contributed to the spreading of methods and ideas of the Renaissance to this area as well.
Italian humanists and scholars not only idolized ancient Greek architecture, they wanted to study the ancient Greek language. The New Testament of the Bible was written in Greek. This led to more studies on the manuscripts of the New Testament and led to Christian humanism. Christian humanists felt a focus on the here and now was just as valuable as their beliefs in the afterlife. They focused on growing education and reforming society. They also critiqued the Catholic Church in various areas, such as claiming the Church was too obsessed with wealth and materialism while also challenging past religious traditions.
Erasmus (1466-1536) was a very influential humanist. He studied ancient Greek manuscripts and created an updated version of the Greek New Testament based on the latest manuscripts, called Textus Receptus. He also wrote a work called The Praise of Folly. While a humanist, he critiqued arrogance and the over indulgence of material things in his work. Another humanist, Thomas More (1478-1535), wrote a work called Utopia. The work of fiction depicts a society without greed and evil, something More felt was rampant in his culture.
Queen Elizabeth reigned from 1558-1603. She heavily endorsed the artistic expressions of the Renaissance and wanted to see them expand in her Kingdom. The most well known artist of England was William Shakespeare (1564-1616). He wrote plays, poems, and other works while living in London. Like many renaissance artists, Shakespeare idolized the Greco-Roman culture (1,200 BCE-600 CE) and included aspects of their culture in his plays. From Romeo and Juliet to The Tragedy of Julius Caesar, his works became famous worldwide.