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Compare and contrast the northern with the Italian renaissance.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the Northern with the Italian Renaissance. A sharp break with medieval values and institutions, a new awareness of the individual, an awakened interest in the material world and nature, and a recovery of the cultural heritage of ancient Greece and Rome are the major achievements of the Renaissance. The term Renaissance refers to the period between the heyday of medieval universalism, as embodied in the Papacy and Holy Roman Empire, and the convulsions and transformations of the 17th century. Although the Renaissance was born in Italy, it came to have a northern counterpart in the mid-fifteenth century, thanks to the invention of the printing press. Although the Northern and the Italian Renaissance are similar under general aspects, they do differ in their timing, Humanism and the themes for their Art. The Italian Renaissance, (literally "rebirth", from the Italian word "rinascita"), was born in the city state of Florence, famous for its commerce and its banks. ...read more.

Middle

Overall, the Italian Renaissance established the foundations for our contemporaneous Western Culture. It blended the Christian religion of the declining Papacy, with Roman law and Greek philosophy recuperated from the ancient classical writings thanks to the Italian Humanism. These intellectual and artistic developments first took place in the world of the Italian city states, but eventually, the invention of the printing press in the mid-fifteenth century allowed these cultural trends to spread to other parts of Europe which resulted in the creation of the Northern Renaissance movement. Although the question as to who was the first to print using movable types is much debated, Gutenberg is often accredited with the invention, in his German city of Mainz. The significant increase in literacy in the sixteenth century was due to this invention and helped spread the ideas of the northern Humanists. The northerners, at this time, were still seeking ways to deepen their Christian beliefs and understanding. They believed they could achieve this higher level by studying early Christian authors. ...read more.

Conclusion

Although Italian Humanist authors were Christians, they didn't feel they needed to prove their religious beliefs in their writings but instead set out to rediscover the classical authors to learn their philosophies and better the knowledge of their world. In the north instead, where the Christian religion had arrived later than in Italy, Northern Humanists such as More and Erasmus wished to deepen their knowledge and understanding of their faith by reading old Christian scripts. Thus, the focus shifted to Christianity rather than Classicism. In painting, although the themes differed greatly, both emphasized man, and his individualism. While in Italy, religious themes, and ancient myths blended, to be represented by human, natural and frequently naked figures, in the north, man, was shown in his everyday settings. Yet, although differences do exist between the two movements, both gave a new cultural birth to Europe after the Middle Ages, shifted the focus from God to man, and paved the way for the great changes of the following centuries. ...read more.

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