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PinkMonkey Online Study Guide-World History

In the 16th century, French literature was enriched by "Gargantua" a series of daring, fanciful and humorous tales written by Francis Rabelais. The 17th century witnessed the golden age of French literature, which was enriched by the works of Corneille, Racine, Moliere, Madame de Sevigne and La Fontaine.

Desiderius Erasmus was the greatest Renaissance scholar in Holland whose work Praise of Folly blamed the church of being responsible for ignorance.

In England Sir Thomas More’s Utopia appeared in English in 1551. English literature flowered through Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales, Milton’s Paradise Lost, Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayers, Edmund Spencer’s graceful Faerie Queen, the plays of Ben Johnson and Christopher Marlowe, the essays of Francis Bacon, and the dramas of the immortal Shakespeare.

Exhibit 2.3
The famous English playwright, William Shakespeare


The spirit of revival was evident in the field of art too. Renaissance architecture underwent a change under architects like Alberti, Manetti, Brunelleschi Bramante and Michael Angelo. Some of the distinctive features of Renaissance architecture were round Roman arches, rows of Greek columns, Oriental domes and Islamic decoration. Gothic architecture with its pointed arches and flying buttresses was discarded. The Doric, Ionic and Corinthian styles of ancient Greece were revived. The lofty, reaping Gothic was replaced by the plain line of the Greek temple or the gentle, elegant curve of the Roman dome. The great cities of Europe were adorned with great churches and cathedrals like St. Paul’s at London, St. Peter’s at Rome, and St. Mark’s at Venice, fine palaces such as the Medici and the Farnese Palaces, as well as beautiful villas like that of Pope Julius III.

The highest expression of Renaissance architecture was reached under the direction of great architects like Raphael and Michelangelo by designing the vast basilica of St. Peter, in Rome and also under Leonardo Da Vinci through his beautifully designed buildings at Milan, Pavia and other cities.

In France, kings like Francis I admired the classical style in building, resulting in public structures such as the celebrated palace of the Louvre which now houses one of the world’s largest art collections.

In Spain classical architecture received encouragement after 1550, from King Philip II, while in England, the famous architect Inigo Jones designed the classical banquet house in Whitehall in 1619. Sir Christopher Wren later erected the majestic St. Paul’s cathedral in London, thus making the new architecture popular.


Humanism was reflected in Italian sculpture in the 14th century. The Medici of Florence fostered a special interest in classical models and also promoted the scientific study of sculpture. Lorenzo Ghiberti was the first great apostle of the "New sculpture" in the 15th century. His marvelous bronze doors on the baptistery in Florence were regarded as "worthy of being placed at the entrance of paradise". Donatello created the lifelike statue of ’St. Mark’ in Venice, among his other achievements, while Cellini fashioned the statue of ’Perseus and the slain Medusa’. Della Robbia was famous for his classical purity and simplicity of style. He founded a school of sculptors in glazed terra-cotta. Michelangelo, great sculptor, painter and architect had many achievements to his credit, among which his statue of ’David’ at Florence, is a masterpiece of classical dignity.

During the 16th century, the "new sculpture" spread in Western Europe, as Italian sculptors were invited by Henry VII to England, as well as by Francis I to France. The tomb of Ferdinand and Isabella in Spain was carved on classical lines.

Exhibit 2.4
Michaelangelo’s famous painting of The Creation of Man
da Vinci’s portrait of Monalisa

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2.0 - Introduction
2.1 Meaning of Renaissance
2.2 Causes of the Renaissance
2.3 Origin of the Renaissance
2.4 Features of the Renaissance
2.5 Growth and spread of the Renaissance
2.6 Consequences of the Renaissance
2.7 Dates & Events
2.8 Points to Remember

Chapter 3


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