the French word Renaissance [ʀənɛˈsɑ̃s] means Wiedergeburt. Related to its origin the term means „the cultural Wiedergeburt of the antique ones “.

Leonardo da Vinci: For the first time proportion study after Vitruv (1492

) became the term (ital. rinascita or rinascimento [riˌnaʃːiˈmento], the Wiedergeburt) 1550 of the Italian artist and artist bio graph Giorgio Vasari uses, in order to designate the overcoming of the medieval art. Around 1820/30 it was derived from the Italian in the French, until approximately 1840 in the German-language bibliography a borrowingfrom the French came, in order to designate an culture-historical epoch of Europe during the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern times. The term was coined/shaped considerably by the Basler historian Jacob Burckhardt with its work „the culture of the Renaissance in Italy “.

The epoch that Renaissance is designated in such a way, because the Wiedergeburt was the antique one one of the ideals of that time. This Wiedergeburt of the antique spirit particularly struck itself in the arts and their new, when progressively felt principles down, in which the mystisch mentally orientedStylistic idiom of the Middle Ages was replaced from lay, mathematical-scientific clarity. As exemplary the proportion study can be regarded of Leonardo da Vinci (right). In their humans in its physical condition are set into the center and to the yardstick for a newOrder system made. One can understand the Renaissance thereby as beginning of the modern anthropozentrischen world view. Ahead the art-historical epoch of the gothic went to the Renaissance, the Renaissance followed the baroque.

Apart from the epoch of the Renaissance, those as mental movement in 14. Century uses itself and since that 15. Century in the European evening country particularly in the art manifested, some experts also still the medieval Renaissancen in such a way specified differentiate between:

This shows that the antique traditionalso been in the Middle Ages still at least partly present and never completely torn off is.

Generally the term is also used Renaissance, around the Wiedergeburt of the values, buildings etc. to designate a past age or a value order.

Table of contents

Wiedergeburt of the antique spirit

the epoch of the Renaissance in such a way one designates, because its substantial characteristic was the Wiedergeburt of the antique spirit. The human is the substantial spirit movement of the time. This „Wiedergeburt “manifested itself in the fact thatnumerous elements of ideas of the antique ones were again discovered and animated (writings, architectural monuments, sculptures, philosopher, etc.).

A condition for the new attitude of mind of the Renaissance were the thoughts self-confident Italian poet 14. Century such as Francesco Petrarca,by its extensive occupation with antique writers and the education human by its individualism the faith in the value promoted and the study of the languages, the literature, history and philosophy outside of a religious connection - as self purpose- endorsed. The theozentrische conception of the world of the Middle Ages replaced by a more strongly anthropozentrische view of the things.

Also the influence of Greek speaking scholars was considerable. Some came into 13. and 14. Century from Byzanz to Italy. Particularly after conquestKonstantinopels by the Turks 1453 came strengthen scholars to Venice and into other Italian cities, which the knowledge about the culture of the antique ones along-brought, of which in the Byzantine realm after the fall west Rome almost 1000 years one had long conserved. InByzanz were still in the year 1400 for example Homer, Herodot, Platon and Aristoteles in all mouth. Some years before the fall from Byzanz the Italian Giovanni Aurispa had already gone to Konstantinopel and had 1423 over 200 Codizes alsoTexts antique everyday literature to Italy brought.

In the broader sense one calls Renaissance therefore the Wiedergeburt of the classical antiquity in its influence on the science, the literature, the society, the life of the distinguished circles and the development thatHumans to individual liberty contrary to the condition natures of the Middle Ages. Strictly speaking one understands an art-historical epoch by the Renaissance.

The Italian designation rinascita in the sense of an epoch term is with Giorgio Vasari, the one to the most important alreadyBiographies of Renaissance artists wrote. Vasari differentiates three ages with respect to the development of the art:

  1. the glossful age of the Greek-Roman antique ones;
  2. a meantime age of the purge, which can be equated approximately with the epoch of the Middle Ages;
  3. the age of the rereviving of the artsand the Wiedergeburt of the antique spirit in the Middle Ages for approximately 1250.

So would have already the Italian sculptors, architect and painter of the second half 13. Century, under it Arnolfo di Cambio, Niccolò Pisano, Cimabue or Giotto, „indarkest times the masters, who came to them, the way pointed, which leads to the perfection “.


side with Holzschnittbordüre from the first volume of the nine-volume complete work over the writings of the Hl. Hieronymus (approx. 350-420), that with JohannesFroben (1460-1527) in Basel from the 13.1. until 25.8.1516 one printed. Substantially cooperated in the expenditure Erasmus of Rotterdam. Original in the possession of Henryart

Renaissance philosophy turns away from scholastisch Christian-light aristotelischen thinking and is above all the Platonismusobligated. All writings Platons were translated into latin. Many philosophers of the Renaissance attach the Neuplatonismus , which is spread by Marsilio Ficino and Giovanni pico della Mirandola. A further large philosophical direction of the Renaissance was the human.

Representative of thehuman thinking are under others:


of Leonardo da Vinci, lady with Hermelin

in the art were Brunelleschi, Ghiberti and Donatello the pioneersthe new direction, already in 13. and 14. Century in the Pisani and in Giotto and other artists their forerunners had had (Protorenaissance). Roughly one can say: In Italy the time becomes approximately from 1420 to 1600when Renaissance designates, in the rest of Europe about the time of 1500 to 1600.

With the imitation of the antique art associated in 15. Century the more intensive occupation with the nature, which represents an important aspect in the history of the development of the Renaissance art.Already before Vasari poets had praised such as Boccaccio the painter Giotto for the fact that it understood to illustrate the things as in a true-to-life manner as nobody before it. The tendency to arrange articles and persons in accordance with nature was since then a main objective of the artists. In almost perfect development such a naturalistische representation method succeeded to them however only since that 15. Century. Therefore art historians limit the Renaissance term usually only to the art expressions 15. Century, the Quattrocento, and on those 16. Century, of the Cinquecento.

Closely with the demand for the nature truth in the art the confession of the artists is connected to the antique one. One admired the antique works of art as exemplary examples of natural organization and thus as examples of, it which can be copied, as one thoseNature to represent had. The Italian architectural theorist Leon Battista Alberti demanded beyond that that the artists should strive not to only equal „the antique masters but them to possibly still exceed “. That means: Good art should what one thoseReality offers, faithfully does not illustrate, but tries, to improve and idealize the nature model.

Apart from the new regulation of the relationship of the art for nature and the admiration of the antique ones the Renaissance asked thus also the question about the nature of the beauty. The artists e.g. try to represent ideal-beautiful humans. Ideal mass and proportions play both during the representation of the human body in the painting and sculpture and with conceiving of buildings a role. The artists develop with that Zentralperspektive a method to represent with mathematical exactness Verkürzungen in the depth.

Usually one divides the art-historical epoch the Renaissance, above all the Italian Renaissance, in three periods:

  1. Early Renaissance
  2. high Renaissance
  3. late Renaissance or mannersism
of Leonardo da Vinci - communion (1495-1498)

One calls the first section of the Renaissance early Renaissance (from approximately 1420 to 1490/1500). It takes its starting point in Florenz with the sculptures Donatellos, to the bronze reliefs Ghibertis, the Fresken Masaccios and the buildings Filippo Brunelleschis. The time ofapprox. one calls 1490/1500 to 1520 high Renaissance. Center of this period, which is characterised by striving for highest perfection and harmony in the art, is papal Rome. Into this time Bramantes Zentralbau fall - drafts for thosenew Peter church in Rome, Leonardo there Vincis most famous pictures („communion “; „Mona Lisa “, „lady with Hermelin “), Raffaels painting „the stamping machines “(the Gemächer of the Pope) and his most famous altarpiece, „the Sixtini Madonna “, me long lot sculptures („David “, „Moses “) and its Fresken onthe cover of the Sixtini chapel as well as Dürers of master passes. Those approximately to 1590 handing period of the late Renaissance or the mannersism , which is characterized by different artistic tendencies, follows. Thus the mannersism is inclined to exaggerations of the form repertoire of the high Renaissance (e.g.exaggerated space aligning, and represented human bodies in violent motion rotate excessive). A characteristic of the mannersism is z. B. the Figura serpentinata, as it represented the sculptor Giovanni there Bologna in its „robbery of the Sabinerin “(1583). Human shapes becomeas itself queue-like upward winding bodies shown. The last phase of the late Renaissance changes then gradually into the baroque style .

But everywhere in Europe the epoch of the Renaissance does not run off after an identical sample. During in Italy thatSpirit of the Renaissance earliest began, particularly flowered and equally to influence on the painting, sculpture and architecture took, began in the north the Renaissance only around or after 1500 and could here only conditionally and with national impact become generally accepted.Also in the countries outside of of Italy the architecture and sculptor art more strongly than the painting of the antique one were affected. In France and Germany the antique style mixed itself with national elements, which in the first epoch of the Renaissance, thatEarly Renaissance, naturally more strongly stepped out than in the period of the late Renaissance, which trained the antique forms more sumptuously and more strongly and in such a way as the exaggerations of the baroque style led up. A national colouring has the Renaissance also in the Netherlands, in Poland, in England and in Spain experience.

important Renaissance artists


Raffael: The Sixtini Madonna

the majority of the paintings of the Renaissance art are altarpieces and Fresken of religious contents, which were painted for churches. The religious shape was however humanized, by it in a terrestrial environmentone represented (everyday life clothes). In addition pictures with lay or heidnisch mythologischen topics (z developed. B.Allegorien, antique God and hero legends, antique history) and individual portraits of contemporary personalities. Besides developed also first landscape representations and custom pictures, which represent the contemporary life.The landscape representations should not represent however an exact image of the reality, on the contrary they symbolized the basic principle of the beauty. This beauty was defined as nature.

The depth is thus designed geometrically exactly with the means of the Zentralperspektive , an escape line system.In addition the means of air come - and color perspective. In order to be able to represent a three-dimensional working picture on a two-dimensional surface, the artist had to adhere to optical and geometrical rules. These specified that the horizon horizontally upEye level of the viewer lies. In order to lend to a picture spatial depth, all its approach parallel to the ground running submarine contours on a vanishing point, which is on the horizon line.

In the Renaissance ever more value became on the anatomy of humansput. The artists actually investigated muscle courses, movements, cure courses and the body proportion. Despite these exact studies humans, like already in the antique one, were idealized. The artist saw his task in the fact that he from the abundance of human nature thatBeautiful one to filter and so their perfection express should. Thus it comes also that the nakedness stood as symbol of the innocence, since it was natural and expressed in such a way beauty; this is taken over like other things from the antique one.

The artists placethe naked human body as act in ideal proportions. A symmetrical, harmoniously balanced screen layout, supported by internal-figurative circle, semi-circle and triangle forms, is preferred.


the sculptors of the Renaissance above all condition figures create andPortrait Büsten. At the places of the cities monumental plastics are set up, for example in the form of rider fixed images. Grave plastics for lay and religious dignitary connects - z. B. in form of a wall tomb - the sculpture with architecture to a synthesis of the arts.

Renaissance sculptors orient themselves with their work on antique models. Sculptures are represented generally through-modelled, humans in its nakedness, the leg position effected often in classical retort post office. Anatomical preliminary studies serve to show the human body realistically.


In principle one can constitute two tendencies in the architecture of the Renaissance. The one consists of animating the stylistic idiom of the antique ones in full severity again. In Italy this goal with the high Renaissance was reached by Donato Bramante against 1500 andinterspersed itself from then on in completely Italy. Italian buildings of Renaissances were conceived clearly, visiblly and harmoniously balanced.

The architects oriented themselves with the sketches at simple ideal geometrical forms like the square or the circle. One takes elementslike columns, Pilaster, Kapitelle, Dreiecksgiebel etc. directly the antique ones. Besides it comes to own developments derived from antique models, for instance the toskanischen column. The individual construction elements had under itself and with the whole building in agreementto stand. One studies the architecture of treatises of the Roman building master Vitruv, in order to win from it reference points for ideal-beautiful proportions.

the second tendency consists of it, the antique ones taken, in addition, new form-linguistic elements in the sense that to vary medieval architecture in analogischer way, without aiming at a strictly according-to-law architecture.

On the side of the architectural theory first appears tendency in the architecture treatise, the latters in the pattern book. Generally it can be said that the more strongly a culture in nordischwas, the more persistently to the analogischen form of the Renaissance was held, D verwurzelt to the coined/shaped Middle Ages. h. particularly in central and northEuropean area.

In France the classical severity of the high Renaissance was caught up against 1550 (see. West wing of the Louvre 1550 -1558 by Pierre Lescot). On the iberischen peninsula both tendencies a next to each other form that into the baroque time continues. Into Germanic Europe and Poland it partly came to a mixture of both tendencies (z. B. Heidelberger lock or Wawel Lock in Krakau), however remained the analogische form of the Renaissance up to the conclusion dominance.

According to these two tendencies one must set also different style criteria:

Antiki Renaissance

  • academic correct Säulenordnungen after the model Vitruvs.
  • Stress thatHorizontal
  • column shanks after the model of the antique ones either kanneliert or smoothly.
  • Arcades instead of Kolonnaden.
  • Sketches and fronts in consideration of symmetry and regularity arranges.
  • The architect understands itself as an artist and belongs to the formed Oberschicht of the country.

Analogi Renaissance (early and/or. nordische Renaissance)

  • the imitation of antique elements such as Gesimse, Kapitelle happens not in full severity, but in accordance with medieval building practice only imitatorisch varying.
  • Frequently Ornamentierungen is enough by tracery, arabesques, later by Rollwerk, fitting work, Tail work and. A.
  • Vertical one in the tradition of the gothic still strongly stresses
  • sociological of the tradition of medieval crafts enterprises obligated. The building masters were usually no intellectual ones as in Italy.
  • Column shanks are covered often still additionally with ornamentation.
  • Kolonnaden instead of arcades.
  • Often asymmetrical sketches and fronts.

Among oldest renaissance buildings of Germany lock hard rock in gate gau ranks, here took place between 1533 and 1544 around and extension buildings in the style the early Renaissance. The beautiful yard in Görlitz became off 1526 builds. Oldest German Sakralbau in the Renaissance style is the tower of the Heilbronners Kilianskirche.

poets and writers of the Renaissance

in the literature lead in 14. Century Dante Alighieris „Göttliche comedy “(La Divina COMM dia., 1307-21), Francesco PetrarcasLetters, treatises and poems and Giovanni Boccaccios IL Decamerone (1353) the age of the Renaissance. Count Baldassare Castiglione describes the ideal type of a Renaissance human being in IL Cortegiano (1528).

One may not forget also that the literature after the invention of the printing by Johannes good mountain in the Renaissance time a tremendous upswing took.

Rank among the famous poets and writers of the Renaissance:


see detailed article Renaissance music.

The music of the Renaissance was first by the age of the Franko Flemings certain 16, starting from the center . Century came the substantial impulses then from Italy, particularly by composer currents like those Florentiner Camerata, the Roman school and the Veneziani school.

Some important composers of the Renaissance:

see also: List of composers of the Renaissance

special characteristics and style means of the Renaissance music:

  • Music as work of (no longer anonymous) composers;
  • Musicto the informal maintenance (z. B. Dear, drinking and season songs) instead of exclusive God praise;
  • rich Polyphonie (Mehrstimmigkeit) in the church music, homophon treated people song melodies within the lay range;
  • Instrument making in whole families: Blockflöten, Gamben and many (v. A. Wind instruments) more, in additionthe sounds;
  • exchangeability in principle of vocal and instrument valley portions; no firm instrumenting;
  • in relation to the medieval music changed harmony feeling: Thirds and sixths are felt for the Renaissance as consonant.


economic came it in the Renaissance toBreaking through the medieval interest prohibition and for the abolishment of the medieval Brakteatenwährung. This made possible on the one hand the ascent of the earlymodern banking houses like those the Fugger or the Medici, on the other hand one meant for many - in particular for the Landbevölkerung - a considerablesocial descent. The social tensions resulting in from it unloaded themselves and. A. by the farmer wars.

The introduction of double record keeping to accounts (doping spades) permitted very much stronger control of the success of economical enterprises. Also this carried substantiallyto the ascent of Medici and Fugger.


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  • January Bialostocki: The late Middle Ages and modern times beginning. Propyläen publishing house, Berlin 1990. ISBN 3-549-05107-7
  • Borisof Brauchitsch (Hrsg.): Renaissance. 16. Century, gallery of the large masters. DuMont, Cologne 1999. ISBN the 3-7701-4620-4
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  • André Chastel: Art, ideas, history. The myth of the Renaissance. Edition Skira, Geneva 1969.
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  • stroke ore Janitschek: The society of the Renaissance in Italy and the art. Four lectures. Spemann, Stuttgart 1879.
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    • 2. - Philosophy, education and art. 1976.
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  • Manfred Wundram: Renaissance. Reclam, Stuttgart2004.ISBN 3-15-018173-9

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see also

Wiktionary: Renaissance - word origin, synonyms and translations

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