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Unit 1

The Renaissance (Humanism)

56 min videoseptember 6, 2018


The Renaissance was a rebirth of classical learning in the 15th and 16th centuries. Thinkers turned away from the “Dark Ages” of the medieval era, a term coined by Petrarch. Philosophers sought to merge the thinking of Christianity and antiquity. Pico della Mirandola’s On the Oration of the Dignity of Man is a good example of this. The School of Athens was painted by Raphael for the Vatican; it depicts classical philosophers like Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates. In Florence, the Medici were also great patrons of Renaissance art. They sponsored Brunelleschi, da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Donatello among others. A crucial point to note is the difference between the Italian and Northern Renaissance. The Northern Renaissance occurred north of the Alps and was more religious. Major thinkers included Erasmus (On the Praise of Folly) and More (Utopia). In Italy, thinking was more secular and individualistic. The Prince by Machiavelli ranks among the most notorious works produced there.