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Chapter 11

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University of Guelph
HIST 1010
Christine Ekholst

Chapter 11: The Italian Renaissance 1. Renaissance Society a. 1350 to 1550 b. from 1350 to 1400, there was declining population, uncovering of classical texts and experimentation in a variety of art forms c. 1400 to 1500 saw the creation of cultural values and artistic and literary achievements d. 1500 to 1550 saw invasions from France and Spain, transforming Italian political life, and ideas and techniques of Italian writers and artists e. cities and countryside i. ¼ of Italians lived in towns ii. 7/10 largest cities in Europe were in Italy iii. in the city, distinctions were made on occupation iv. monopolies were the basis of which standards for craftsmanship were maintained and profits for craftsmen were guaranteed—these were called guilds or companies v. large cities had hierarchies of guilds—at the top were the important manufacterers (clothiers, metalworkers), below were bankers, merchants or administers of civic and church holders, at the bottom were grocers, masons and other skilled workers—all of these people lived comfortably vi. however, the majority of urban inhabitants were not members of guilds—they were wage labourers or destitute (half the population) f. production and consumption i. 70 to 90% of europes population was involved in subsistence agriculture ii. clothing manufacturing and agriculture predominated iii. population change depressed economic growth g. the experience of life i. the children of the wealthy had better chances at survival—they had ‘milk parents’ ii. daughters were sent far from home and less likely to have nursing provided iii. sons were apprenticed to a trade between the ages of 10 to 13 iv. if a girls father could provide a handsome dowry, her future was secure, if not, she would go to a convent v. daughters of poor families entered domestic service to have a dowry provided by their masters vi. women married in late adolescence, usually around age 20—they were family alliances and business transactions vii. husbands were usually 10 years older than their wives and usually left them widowed viii. men came of age at 30 but were considered old at 50 h. the quality of life i. health improved and life expectancy increased due to the surplus of grain and wider variety of foods consumed ii. blood relations were primary basis of social group 2. Renaissance Art a. Artists were attempting to solve problems about perspective and three dimensionality that defeated their predecessors b. Outstanding achievements were made in archietecture, sculpture and painting i. Brunelleschi (1377-1446) 1. Challenged gothic principles by recombining its basic elements with those of classical structures—he reintroduced plains and spheres as dominant motifs ii. Donatello (1386-1466) 1. Translated classical styles into more naturalistic forms, revived the free standing statue and equestrian statue—use of the linear perspective iii. Masaccio (1401-1428) 1. Praised for naturalism in his paintings, use of shading, light and shadow and the use of the linear perspective for 3D iv. Buildings were the most expensive investment patrons could make and the technical knowledge necessary was immense v. By 1400, the gothic style dominated western Europe for over 2 centuries—pointed arches, vaulted ceilings, and slender spires; gothic construction supported greater height, desirable for cathedrals that wanted tothtretch to heaven vi. By the middle of the 15 century, a distinctive renaissance style had triumphed c. Michelangelo i. In 1490, he gained a place in the house of Lorenzo de Medici, where he learnt to sculpt ii. 1496, he moved to Rome and created the Pieta, and when he returned to Florence in 1501, he was established as one of the great sculptors—he was commissioned to work on an enormous block of marble, where he created David iii. also did the paintings in the Sistine Chapel and St. Peters basilica 3. Renaissance Ideals a. The contributions of the intellects and scholars are known as the humanists—discoveries of Plato and Homer and Aristotles Poetics—the Oration on the Dignity of Man is the best known of
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