La Renaissance Renaître: French verb—to be born again, to rise again, to revive, to return, to be restored
Germans and Italians Two outlooks that shaped Europe
An Essential Timeline 1077 Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV walked barefoot through the snow “in wretched woolen garments” to ask Pope Gregory VII at Canossa, Italy, to lift his excommunication and receive “him again into the bosom of the Holy Mother Church.” The specifics of the event are not as important to this class as the fact that it would be one of the last times that Roman authority—in the form of the Church—would assert itself over a German ruler. The Teutonic resentment of Rome that had contributed to the original empire’s downfall had never fully disappeared in spite of German claims to the imperial title. Furthermore, Henry’s excommunication expressed the medieval view that the pope, as God’s representative on Earth, had ultimate authority over kings and emperors. As we shall see, this view would not survive the Renaissance. Interestingly, the drama of Canossa has assumed new life in the United States as religious groups seek authority over the nation’s secular government. As the French say, le plus ça change … 1150s First paper mills in Spain Papermaking, the History and Technique of an Ancient Craft 1276 First paper mills in Fabriano, Italy A History of Graphic Design 1202 Fibonacci introduced Indo-Arabic numerals to Europe. 1215 King John signed the Magna Carta, or Great Charter, at Runnymede, England. The document initiated the transition from absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy and parliamentary rule.
1346 At the The Battle of Crécy, France, Edward III and his English-Welsh archers armed with longbows defeated a force of French and Continental noble heavy cavalry fighting for Philip VI of France. It was one of the first times since the fall of the Roman Empire that citizen infantry had defeated armored knights, and it signaled the rise of the middle class and nation states. The Welsh longbow could penetrate chain mail at ranges between 100 and 300 yards. Volleys of arrows were said to “blacken” the sky. After the battle, English common soldiers murdered wounded French knights by slitting or stabbing their throats in the space between the armor and the helmet. It is believed that Crécy ended the Age of Chivalry and heralded the age of mass warfare that found its highest expression in World War II. The French are thought to have lost 4,000 men. The English may have lost as few as 40. The exact figures will never be known. Although the apparent cause of the Hundred Years War was a dynastic struggle based on English claims to the French throne, the real casus belli was economic. The English understood very well the relationship between their wool production and the looms and wealth of Flanders to the north of France. That wool and textile trade would finance the building of the great cathedrals and encourage the development of banking in Bruges and Antwerp. That same wealth made possible the experiments of the Van Eyck brothers and the artistic revolution of the Northern Renaissance and its use of oils and heightened illusionism. By the 1400s Flanders and Holland would begin a centuries-long challenge to the artistic supremacy of the South. 1347-48 The plague struck Europe. 1415 Florentine architect Filippo Brunelleschi invented perspective. 1419 Prince Henry the Navigator established a school at Sagres, Portugal, for the study of oceanic navigation, ship design and systematic exploration. His farsighted approach was instrumental to the breakthroughs of the Age of Exploration.
1431 The English burned Joan of Arc—1412-31—for heresy. Jeanne d’Arc—later called the Maid of Orleans for her defeat of the English at that city—made possible the coronation of Charles VII at Reims. The event helped end the Hundred Years War and set France on the path toward nationhood. By the end of the war the French would overcome English archery with gunpowder and artillery. 1436 Leon Batista Alberti published Della Pittura ( On Painting ) and codified primitive perspective. 1453 The Ottoman Turks captured Constantinople and wrote the final chapter in the history of the Roman Empire. Fleeing Byzantine Greek scholars sought refuge in Italy and fueled new research in the classics. The newly invented printing press spread the rediscovered knowledge and inspired the Humanists with ancient Greek intellectual achievements in the original language. Arabic lost its linguistic importance as Greek reestablished its primacy among European intellectuals. The revival of Greek would have a profound effect on Biblical scholarship and the looming Protestant Reformation. 1453-55 Gutenberg printed his groundbreaking Forty-Two-Line Bible using moveable type and a printing press. 1453-1500 Incunabula: Early printed books: ORIGIN early 19th cent.: Latin (neuter plural), swaddling clothes, cradle, from in- into + cunae cradle. 1492 Spanish Christians captured Granada from the Muslims and brought about the end of the 700-year-long Reconquista as well as the end of an Islamic presence in Western Europe. 1492 The Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella expelled unconverted Jews and Muslims from Spain. This was the first fully organized state-ordered example of ethnic cleansing on a national scale. The language used in the expulsion order was remarkably similar to that of the Nazis’ infamous Nuremberg Laws. Old Christians (Christians of Gothic ancestry without Jewish blood) became synonymous with Pure Blood ( sangre pura ). Ironically, King Ferdinand and Torquemada, the head inquisitor, had Jewish ancestors.
1492 Under the patronage of the Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella, Christopher Columbus sailed for Asia and stumbled upon an unknown hemisphere. The participants did not realize that the event signaled the founding of the Spanish Empire. By the middle of the 16 th century the empire would include Spain, Sardinia, Naples, and the Low Countries (Holland and Belgium), all of South America except Brazil, Central America, Mexico, the American Southwest, the Caribbean, Florida, Guam, the Philippines and parts of Africa. 1497-98 Vasco da Gama successfully sailed around Africa and reached India: destroyed the Venetian spice trade and transferred European power from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic. 1514 Nicolaus Copernicus proposed a heliocentric system in defiance of Scripture. Martin Luther called him “an upstart astrologer.” 1517 Augustinian monk-priest and Doctor of Theology Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-five Theses to the church castle door in Wittenberg, Germany. He did not intend to launch the Protestant Reformation. His primary grievances dealt with the sale of indulgences and the corruption of the clergy, especially in Rome. Most of his complaints differed little from those of Erasmus and other highly acclaimed Catholic Humanist intellectuals. However, his willingness to make his “protest” public was more than the Roman authorities could tolerate. In ways he could never have imagined, Martin Luther became one of the founders of German nationalism. His denial of free will and his emphasis on justification, grace and faith would find an even more radical voice in John Calvin. Luther and his followers were among the first to appreciate and exploit the printing press for propaganda. He was a masterful speaker and pamphleteer who was not shy about using filthy language and scatological humor in what a later century would call “negative campaigning.” 1519-22 Portuguese mariner Ferdinand Magellan circumnavigated the globe under a Spanish flag and proved that the Earth was indeed round.
1527 With the help of Lutheran troops the very Catholic Emperor Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire (Charles I of Spain) captured Rome and imprisoned Pope Clement VII. The Sack of Rome curtailed papal temporal power and further strengthened the emerging nation states as well as the Protestants. Few participants understood the significance of the event. 1533 Henry VIII divorced Catherine of Aragon against papal and Habsburg wishes. Although not a Protestant in any strictly theological sense, Henry’s actions essentially established the Church of England. A few years earlier the pope had named him Defender of the Faith for the purity of his Catholicism and his attacks against Luther. 1534 Martin Luther published the first German-language Bible. It helped standardize the German language but inadvertently fueled the Protestant tendency toward fragmentation. Two centuries later Voltaire would quip, “France is the land of one religion and one hundred sauces. England is the land of one sauce and one hundred religions.” 1537 The brilliant and humorless French lawyer John Calvin established a Protestant theocracy in Geneva, Switzerland. His followers desecrated churches, destroyed sacred images, imprisoned priests and outlawed Catholicism. Calvin became the most influential of all Protestant theologians. He remains the bedrock of American Evangelical Protestantism and Fundamentalist Christianity. 1538 Spain set up the first printing press in the Americas in Mexico. The event took place 69 years before the English initiated their conquest of North America through Jamestown. 1553 John Calvin burned the Spanish Unitarian Michael Servetus at the stake. The Catholics applauded. 1569 Gerardus Mercator published a map using the projection that bears his name—it shows lines of latitude and longitude.
Antwerp Avignon Barcelona Bohemia Bruges Constantinople (modern-day Istanbul) Córdoba Florence Genoa Ghent Granada Hamburg Lisbon London Mainz Milan Paris Rome Sagres Venice: The Most Serene Republic Vienna Wittenberg
scholasticism |skəˈlastiˌsizəm| |sk əˌ l ｿ st əˈ s ɪ z ə m| |sk əˌ last ɪˈ s ɪ z( ə )m|noun the system of theology and philosophy taught in medieval European universities, based on Aristotelian logic and the writings of the early Church Fathers and having a strong emphasis on tradition and dogma. ･ narrow-minded insistence on traditional doctrine. Platonism |ˈplātnˌizəm| | ˌ ple ɪ tn ˈɪ z ə m| | ˌ ple ɪ t( ə )n ɪ z( ə )m|noun the philosophy of Plato or his followers. See Plato . ･ any of various revivals of Platonic doctrines or related ideas, esp. Neoplatonism and Cambridge Platonism (a 17th-century attempt to reconcile Christianity with humanism and science). humanism |ˈ(h)yoōməˌnizəm| | ˌ (h)jum əˈ n ɪ z ə m| | ˌ hju ː m ə n ɪ z( ə )m|noun an outlook or system of thought attaching prime importance to human rather than divine or supernatural matters. Humanist beliefs stress the potential value and goodness of human beings, emphasize common human needs, and seek solely rational ways of solving human problems. ･ (often Humanism ) a Renaissance cultural movement that turned away from medieval scholasticism and revived interest in ancient Greek and Roman thought.
Renaissance Painting Materials Egg Tempera : egg yolk, water and pigment Encaustic: molten beeswax and pigment Fresco: watercolor in wet plaster (the paint and the plaster dry together) Watercolor: gum Arabic, pigment, honey and water Gouache: gum Arabic, pigment, opaque fillers, honey (optional), water Oils: linseed oil, damar resin (optional), turpentine, pigment Renaissance Painting Surfaces Wooden Panels primed with gesso (a mixture of gelatin and chalk) Linen Canvas primed with rabbit skin glue and lead white in oil Walls (for fresco)
Components Pigment : The solid material that provides color in paints. Pigments can be organic or inorganic. Inorganic pigments include earth colors such yellow ochre and burnt sienna, and blues, such as as ultramarine blue. Inorganic, or mineral, pigments are often compounds of metallic salts or metallic oxides. Traditional organic pigments include alizarin crimson and rose madder, both of which are made from the madder root. Most organic pigments are technically dried dyes that are ground like organic pigments. Such pigments produce brilliant tints, but they are fugitive and will fade over time in the presence of light. Other pigments, are essentially organic but behave like inorganic pigments. Ivory black, for example, is made from carbonized bones but is completely permanent. Lampblack is made from the soot of tallow, wax or pitch and is primarily used in the manufacture of black ink. Gutenberg would have made his inks with lampblack Binder: The liquid that dries into a solid and ‘binds’ the pigment to the surface. Egg yolk acts as the binder in egg tempera, and linseed oil acts as the binder in oil paints. Solvent: dissolves the binder and disappears through evaporation. Water is the solvent for watercolors, gouache and egg tempera. Until the arrival of mineral spirits, turpentine was the primary (often only) solvent for oil paints.
Oil Painting Technology Oil paint dries through the evaporation of the solvent and the oxidation of the binder. Different pigments affect the speed of oxidation; but, in general, the fastest drying paints are ‘dry to the touch’ within 24 hours. Such slow drying allows the painter to achieve smoothly blended transitions from one color to another. The paint can be thinly applied in transparent layers, called glazes, that produce luminous, jewel-like effects. Glazes usually include resins such as damar or copal that harden the paint film and increase its gloss. Unlike watercolors or egg tempera, oils maintain their original appearance throughout the drying process. Because they can be applied broadly over large surfaces, they allow greater freedom and speed. Furthermore, oils are better suited than frescoes to the cold, humid climate of Northern Europe. Oils revolutionized painting and changed the history of art. No one knows who invented oil painting. One thing is certain, however, the arrival of distillation technology, alchemical experiments, the introduction of exotic resins and the quest for new pigments combined to expand artistic possibilities. There would not be another major shift in paint technology until the Industrial Revolution. Linseed oil also made possible the development of inks that would adhere to metal type. Without oils and turpentine, moveable type and the printing press would have been useless. The flax plant, the source of linseed oil, was also a crucial fiber source for medieval and Renaissance clothing. Flax could be spun and woven into linen. As the garments wore out, they would be sold to the rag man to be processed into paper pulp. Thus, flax was a major resource for the making of essential products throughout the Middle Ages and the Renaissance.
Oil Paint Technology Flax Linseed from Flax Linseed Oil Pigments to be ground in linseed oil Linseed Oil to be dissolved in turpentine Damar Resin to be dissolved in turpentine Still for the distillation of turpentine from pine resin Pine