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To what extent was the Northern Renaissance influenced by the Italian Renaissance

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To what extent was the Northern Renaissance influenced by the Italian Renaissance The Italian Renaissance is generally seen as one of the greatest periods of art in human history, this is due to the fact that there were a great number of new artistic techniques in order to create far superior pieces of art in comparison to the previous works of the medieval, gothic age. This Italian Renaissance is commonly believed to be a great influence upon the Northern Renaissance that swept through Northern Europe later - the Church, the Humanist Universities and the mercantile wealth that made Italy the leading Renaissance country were all useful to an extent in influencing the Northern Renaissance. As the principle city of the Catholic Church, Rome, along with its primary patron in the Pope, was in a very good position to influence Catholic Europe. The Church could spread a great amount of ideas to the Northern Renaissance in the Holy Roman Empire, Low Countries, France and England. France considered itself as the greatest defender of the Catholic Church and therefore its diplomatic position with Rome and its papacy allowed a great exchange of ideas. ...read more.


The neo-platonist school in Florence attracted many foreign intellectuals in an exchange of ideas and this school is mirrored in the French building of the Fontainbleau. The Italian universities as a whole were very attractive to any prospective humanists and influence upon these would have had an impact onto their Renaissance. Italy was a hugely wealthy country, and the Italian cities, due to their strong economic position attracted many of the foreign merchants. These merchants would be able to see the wealth of art and introduce them to Europe on their return. This would have encouraged many northern artists and scholars to travel to Italy in order to learn from the painters and sculptors there. One example of this is presents in Holbein's paintings. After he travelled to Italy it is clear to see some Italian influences in his portraiture style. The smoke-like technique that he used in many of his portraits such as Venus and Amor he would have learnt from Leonardo's sfumato technique. Holbein also learn the Italian single-point perspective that initially made Italian art so successful. Durer is another famous artist who is shown to have been influenced by the Italian Renaissance. ...read more.


The Northern Renaissance is marked by scholarly and literary humanism that was not based on the classical world but it was much more focused on developing a Christian humanism. Erasmus, in his work, strove to make people better Christians by providing them with reliable texts and went on to develop his own Christian philosophy. He was also much more free to criticise the Catholic Church, as loyal as he was to it. The Brethren of the Common Life was very significant in Northern Europe and particularly in the Low Countries. It was perhaps of much more importance to the Renaissance than the number of Universities. It created artists and humanists and taught them that religion was far more important than religion and as a result, it became a much more significant and prominent motifs in art and more focused in humanism than the classical. In conclusion, whilst there are a few argument that the Northern Renaissance was independent from the Italian Renaissance, there are also a vast amount of cases in which it is undeniable that they held a great similarity to the Italian ideals or techniques. There are differences in the humanist ideals and the artistic ideals but it was Italy that encouraged the Northern Countries to put an emphasis on art and to explore scholarly ideas. ...read more.

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