Thomas J. Kehoe, Harold E. Damerow, and Jose Marie Duvall,
“Renaissance” means “rebirth” in the French language.
The Renaissance was a rebirth in many different ways.
It began in Northern Italy about 1350 right after the Black Death had
ravaged the country, killing from a third to half the population.
One of the earliest pieces of Renaissance literature was the Decameron
written by GIOVANNI BOCCACCIO (1313-1375).
The Decameron is a compilation of 100 short stories told by 10 men and
women who journeyed to a country villa to escape the plague which was ravaging
Florence in 1348. Unsure whether they would catch the deadly disease, these
young men and women did not pray or volunteer to take care of the sick in the
city. They told each other racy
stories about worldly pleasures. Boccaccio
wrote the Decameron in the vernacular or everyday language of Italian.
The Renaissance was a rebirth in a second sense.
It was a rebirth of classical learning and a rediscovery of ancient Rome
and Greece. Renaissance artists and
scholars looked back to this Classical past.
They deliberately rejected the scholarship and religious thought of the
Middle Ages. For them, the Middle
Ages were a Dark Age. Nothing
original and creative had happened since the fall of Rome.
They sought to imitate the art of Classical Greece with its realistic
depiction of the human form. They
thought that the classical Latin written by Vergil, Cicero, or Julius Caesar was
much superior to the Church Latin spoken during their own time.
They wanted to purify Latin of its medieval corruptions.
In the process of doing so, ironically, they helped to destroy the living
Latin of the Middle Ages and turned it into the dead
language which it is today.
The Renaissance was a rebirth of the human spirit, a rebirth of
creativity. While taking the
classical past as its model, the Renaissance was one of the most creative
periods in human history, comparable only to the Golden Age of Hellenic Athens
in the fifth century before Christ. Florence
has often been called the Athens of the Renaissance because so many great
artists were born or worked there.
The Italian Renaissance marks an important turning point in human
history. Just as the Germanic
invasions of the fifth century of our era marked the end of the Classical Period
of history and ushered in the Middle Ages, so the Renaissance is the beginning
of our own Modern Period of history and marks the ending of the Middle Ages.
There are some contemporary scholars who have suggested that we are now
in a post-modern period, but, if so, whatever new age may be in the works, its
characteristics have not become clear. In
most ways, our age continues to be a product of the Renaissance.
What, then, is the Renaissance and why did it begin in Italy?
One can often define an age, era, epoch, or period by comparing and
contrasting it to another. The
Middle Ages were an Age of Faith. In
the West, the religion of Christianity gave definition to the Middle Ages.
The search for salvation was the primary motivation for most people
within Christendom. The Middle Ages
was God-centered. In contrast, the
Renaissance, and the Modern Period of which it is a part , is man-centered.
It is secular rather than spiritual.
This does not mean that religion and salvation are not important today,
but they are not the focal point of most people’s lives.
The Middle Ages were a relatively static period.
Society was predominantly agrarian.
It was ruled by a warrior nobility.
Manorialism provided the economic underpinnings and feudalism gave a
limited political stability. The
Roman Catholic Church with its priests, monks, and bishops formed the First
Estate. The pope was not only a
spiritual leader but a powerful political force. During the High Middle Ages, medieval towns and feudal
monarchy added further elements to what has been called the Medieval Synthesis.
The ideal of the Middle Ages was a universal Church within a universal
Empire. While never realized, it
remained an ideal.
This medieval synthesis broke down shortly after 1300.
The Holy Roman Empire under the Hohenstaufen dynasty had been destroyed
by the Papacy and its allies. But
the political might of the Papacy had itself been crushed by the ruthlessness of
the rising French Monarchy. The
Papacy moved from Rome to Avignon, apparently under French tutelage, and
remained there during the initial phase of the Renaissance till 1377.
The Italian peninsula was free temporarily from outside interference, the
Empire, the Papacy, and other major powers.
The Avignon Papacy was followed by the Great Schism, when two or
sometimes three popes denounced each other, until 1417.
But France, in turn, became embroiled in the Hundred Years War with the
English monarchy from 1334 to 1453.
When one age ends and another begins, there are cross currents.
The declining or Late Middle Ages are usually dated from 1300 to 1500.
It should be noted that this time overlaps with the Renaissance.
The glass is either half empty or half full.
It depends on one’s perspective.
The Renaissance started in Italy because these crises within Christendom
benefitted Italy. It gave Italy an
independence and freedom which it had not previously enjoyed.
It must also be noted that the ruins of Roman civilization where more
visible in Italy than elsewhere. The
Italians had never quite forgotten that heritage even during the Dark Ages.
Urban life had never disappeared entirely in Italy, the way it had in the
rest of Europe. And when trade and
towns revived, the Italian communes had flourished most of all.
As we have noted earlier, the Lombard League had fought the centralizing
efforts of the Hohenstaufen emperors and had become virtually independent city
states. Feudalism and a landed
nobility had never become as entrenched in Italy as elsewhere.
Renaissance writers were wrong to slander the Middle Ages as a Dark Age.
We have seen how varied that 1000-year period of history was.
They also overemphasized just how radical a break they were making with
the medieval past. In many ways the
Renaissance built on the culture of the High Middle Ages.
DANTE ALIGHIERI (1265 - 1321) is considered to be a figure of the Middle
Ages, yet he wrote his Divine Comedy in the Florentine dialect and
thereby created the literary language of modern Italian.
The Renaissance began in the Italian city-states because they had the
wealth from the commerce and trade of the Middle Ages. For some time, Venice had
outfitted the crusaders and was the conduit for the silk and spice trade from
India and China. Furthermore, the Byzantines and the Moslems cross-fertilized
these urban city-states with their cultural ideas. Merchant banking families,
such as the Medici in Florence, were able to profit from these commercial
endeavors and became the ruling elite. These wealthy bankers were able to
finance and patronize the arts, providing employment for the famous painters,
sculptors, and architects of the time.
In addition, Italy had many reminders of the Roman past: the road
network, the aqueducts, the public buildings, the monuments. Wealth, a standing
heritage from the past, the freedom of the urban elite society—all of these
factors contributed to a shift in attitude, which would soon include respect and
admiration for the classical age.
Political Situation in Italy
Italy divides naturally into three
regions: North, Central, and South.
In the South after the destruction of the Hohenstaufen dynasty ultimately
led to the establishment of a Kingdom of Sicily ruled by Spain and the Kingdom
of Naples ruled by France. This
once prosperous and culturally advanced region became impoverished by foreign
misrule. It also brought Spain and
France into Italian politics. Foreign
intervention and occupation increased after 1490 with the invasion by Charles
VIII. In the center, the Papal
States were ruled by the popes. Even
during the Avignon Papacy, nominal control was maintained by the papacy. In the North, a miniature state system had formed by
the time of the Renaissance. The
Republic of Venice, the Duchy of Milan, The Republic of Florence, the Republic
of Genoa, the Duchy of Savoy with its capital at Turin
were the main “Powers” in the North.
Compared to the national States that developed during the fifteenth and
sixteenth centuries, Spain, France, England, Prussia, Russia, these were small
city-states. Indeed, the North
Italian state system can be compared to that of ancient Greece.
Perhaps this relative smallness is what stimulated the individualism and
creativity in both ancient Greece and Renaissance Italy.
“Humanism’ is the name given to
the basic philosophical orientation of the Renaissance. It entailed, as we have already said, a strong desire to
recover and understand the classical heritage of Rome and Greece. This
interest in the past was more than an antiquarian’s curiosity.
There was the belief that much of importance for the present could be
learned from the past. For example,
many of the Italian city states had been republics which were being torn apart
by class struggles and were becoming tyrannies. Rome had been a republic until internal strife transformed it
into the principate. What lessons
could be learned from Roman history? The
humanists wanted to re-examine classical history without the distorting lenses
of Christianity. The Romans had
been pagans. What had these pagan
practices been? What did Stoics
like Cicero really say?
FRANCISCO PETRARCH (1304-1374), is known as the Father of Humanism.
He labeled the Middle Ages as “a time of darkness.”
Petrarch’s goal was to unearth classical writings. He discovered
fragments of Livy’s Roman History, as well as the letters and orations
of Cicero in old monasteries and churches.
His scholarship set a standard of excellence for other humanists to
emulate. In Latin, he wrote Letters
to the Ancient Dead and Lives of Illustrious Men,
which glorified his Roman heroes of the past. His greatest honor was to
be crowned poet laureate by the King of Naples. No poet had been awarded this
honor since Roman times. Petrarch is, however,
best remembered for his poetry, Sonnets to Laura (1360),
which were written in Italian rather than Latin.
He was almost ashamed of these writings.
Another Latin scholar LORENZO VALLA (1406-1457) developed the technique
of critical textual analysis through the use of language (philology). Valla
proved that a document allegedly written in the fourth century A.D., The
Donation of Constantine, could not have possibly been written then. It used Latin words unknown in the fourth century.
It was, instead, an eighth century forgery. Valla’s On the False
Donation of Constantine (1444) was a thorough textual investigation and
influenced many subsequent scholars.
Although he had discredited important papal claims to territorial
sovereignty over the entire Western Roman Empire and spiritual authority over
the whole Christian church, the Renaissance pope Nicholas V (1447-1455) hired
Valla to be Apostolic Secretary. Nicholas
V shared the ideals of the humanists and founded
the Vatican Library as a repository for ancient manuscripts. The Vatican Library today houses the world’s largest
collection of classical writings.
There was also the attraction of classical art.
Roman sculpture was so much more lifelike than the flat, stylized figures
in Medieval paintings. Painting
should not be merely allegorical or
a teaching device for Christianity. The
individual persons were valuable in themselves.
Humanists were interested in mankind.
They were man-centered, rather than God-centered.
Humanism also appealed to the upper bourgeoisie which dominated the
Italian city-states and had a fierce civic pride in their communities.
Classical ideals of beauty appealed to them. Many were attracted to to Neoplatonism.
Neoplatonism was a movement that blended of classical thought with
Christian doctrine and sometimes astrology. The Neoplatonists formed an
unofficial academy in Florence under the patronage of COSIMO DE MEDICI and the
inspiration of MARSILIO FICINO (1433-1499) and PICO DELLA MIRANDOLA (1463-1494).
Ficino translated Plato’s works from Greek to Latin. The Academy even held
birthday parties for Plato. Many famous artists, such as Michelangelo and
Botticelli, became advocates of Neoplatonism. Pico penned the “Oration on the
Dignity of Man,” which accorded humans a special rank in the universe,
somewhere between the beasts and angels. But because of the spark of divinity
implanted in man by God, there are no limits to what man can accomplish. “...O
supreme generosity of God the Father, O highest most marvelous felicity of man!
To him it is granted to have whatever he chooses, to be whatever he wills.”
Here again you have the emphasis on man and his potential in this world.
One memorable humanist historian and forerunner of modern political
thought was NICCOLO MACHIAVELLI (1469-1527). He looked at the realities of
politics, not the ideal Christian moral behavior that was promulgated in the
Middle Ages. He wrote a “how to” book that has been read and followed by
many past rulers, such as Napoleon. In it he describes unscrupulous, amoral
behavior by rulers in the pursuit of defending their state. He holds that rulers
use any means to gain power and princes may have to be deceitful to maintain
power. Machiavelli also suggests that fear may keep the state together:
Here the question arises; whether it is better to be loved than
feared or feared than loved. The answer is that it would be desirable to be both
but, since that is difficult, it is much safer to be feared than to be loved, if
one must choose. For on men in general this observation may be made: they are
ungrateful, fickle, and deceitful, eager to avoid dangers and avid for gain, and
while you are useful to them they are all with you, offering you their blood,
their property, their lives, and their sons so long as danger is remote, as we
noted above, but as it approaches they turn on you... Men have less hesitation
in offending a man who is loved than one who is feared, for love is held by a
bond of obligation which, as men are wicked, is broken whenever personal
advantage suggest it, but fear is accompanied by the dread of punishment which
Do you think generally men possess the personality traits that
Machiavelli describes? The term Machiavellian has since stood for power politics
which may include bad faith, treachery, and dishonesty in diplomatic dealings.
Machiavelli wrote The Prince (1513) while in exile from his beloved city-state
of Florence. He dedicated it to one of the Medicis, the family who had been
responsible for his exile, in a possible bid to return to that town. His work
gave new meaning to the realities of power politics. If the safety of the state
is at stake, he advises the Prince to use any means, including force, to gain
and retain power. Many of the monarchs of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries
seemed to have acted in the way Ma-chiavelli predicted they would. Do today’s
Over the 200-year period of the Italian Renaissance, from 1350 to 1550,
new techniques evolved in the fields of painting, sculpture, and architecture.
Figures show emotion in their movement and facial expressions. The beauty of the
human body reveals itself, as it did to the classical Greeks, in the nude as an
art form. In what was called naturalism, artists focused primarily on showing
the beauty of nature. The laws of linear perspective, making flat
two-dimensional drawings appear as three-dimensional, are discovered. Along with
the invention of oil paint (rather than quick-drying tempera or wet plaster
painting), shading areas and the use of shadows are introduced. Because of the
use of oils on a canvas medium, the artist could now blend color, create a haze,
and work much longer and more effectively.
Although painting still focused on the religious themes of the Middle
Ages, a change gradually occurred in the figures and subjects of the times. It
was a Florentine, GIOTTO DI BONDONE (c.1266/76-1337) who broke away from the
stiff, expressionless, elongated figures of Byzantine and medieval art. He
developed “foreshortening”* of figures arranged to tell a story with
movement and emotion. His frescoes (wall paintings made with fresh plaster)
included scenes from the lives of Christ and of St. Francis of Assisi. Other
Renaissance artists, such as Michelangelo, studied Giotto’s work.
LORENZO GHIBERTI (1378-1455) won a design competition for bronze doors to
a baptistery in Florence in 1401. For 50 years, Ghiberti worked on his panels
depicting Old and New Testament scenes. The panels, called “The Doors of
Paradise” by Michelangelo, required 16 castings per panel until they achieved
Ghiberti’s standard of perfection. Besides Ghiberti, other skillful artists
used the laws of linear perspective discovered by FILIPPO BRUNELLESCHI
(1377-1446), who designed the dome of the Florentine Cathedral of Santa Maria
Del Fiore. Although he borrowed from Roman architects, he still used innovative
techniques, including a self-supporting double shell to bear the weight of the
27,000 ton Cathedral dome, which had a diameter of over 130 feet.
Among Brunelleschi’s circle of friends was DONATELLO (1386-1466),
another Florentine. Donatello gave birth to a full-size equestrian bronze
statue, the Gattamelata, the first since Roman times. His free-standing bronze
statue of David is notable for its nudity and realistic detail—quite unlike
Donatello worked in both marble and bronze. The Florentine sculptor, LUCA
DELLA ROBBIA (c.1400-1482), used both marble and clay in his works. He
established a family workshop that originally used enameled terra cotta (ceramic
clay) to produce decorative accessories to larger marble sculptures. Later,
terracotta became a popular medium for Madonnas, altar-pieces, and other
religious subjects. A Madonna by ANDREA DELLA ROBBIA (1435-1525), the
highly-skilled nephew of Luca, is pictured in this book.
The High Renaissance
The creative genius of Renaissance art reached its peak with the
well-known Italian names of Raphael, da Vinci, and Michelangelo, who dominated
Renaissance art in the late 1400’s and early 1500’s, a period called the
High Renaissance. Much of their work has never been equaled. These artists were
no longer the craftsmen from medieval times, but “all-around” geniuses who
took on a “superhero” status to the people of their times. For emphasis,
Michelangelo was called “The Divine One.” These artists were celebrated like
rock or movie stars are today.
Achieving balanced composition (one side must equal the other),
mathematical proportions, awe-inspiring colors, RAPHAEL SANTI (1483-1520)
excelled in painting tender, sweet Madonnas with the infant Jesus, using live
Italian women as models. Some of the Madonnas, like the Alba Madonna and The
Sistine Madonna, have appeared on modern Christmas cards. His portrait of Pope
Leo X illustrates psychological insight into character, whereas his fresco The
School of Athens painted on the walls of the Vatican Library shows balance,
harmony, and the use of the laws of perspective. The classical philosophers
Plato and Aristotle, framed in a series of Roman arches, are surrounded by
famous philosophers and scientists: Socrates, Euclid, Ptolemy, and their
students. This fresco proclaims the spirit of humanism interwoven with classical
LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519) worked on one of the most famous paintings
of all time, La Giaconda better known as the Mona Lisa for about four years, and
still left it in an unfinished state. Besides being a consummate artist, da
Vinci dissected cadavers to learn anatomy. His notebooks, written backwards so
one has to use a mirror in order to read them, illustrate skeletal and muscular
structures of humans, birds, plants, and technological innovations far ahead of
his time, including sketches of the submarine, tank, and machine gun battery.
Because da Vinci was so well respected, his ideas helped to promote the growth
Many art historians and critics acclaim MICHELANGELO BUONARROTI
(1475-1564) to be the greatest sculptor of all time. Believing his figures were
imprisoned in blocks of marble, he just had to release them. The Pieta, sculpted
when Michelangelo was only 26 years old, portrays the emotion of Mary cradling a
dead Christ in her arms. The citizens of Florence paraded the 18-foot marble
statute of David around the city for three days in triumph and ecstasy before
according it a place of honor in front of the city hall. Both the Medici rulers
of Florence and the popes recognized Michelangelo’s talents and fought for his
services. He received commissions from four popes. Employed by Pope Julius II
(1503-1513), Michelangelo spent four years crouching, standing, lying on a
scaffold, paint dripping into his eyes and face, in order to paint and create he
Sistine Chapel. Over 340 powerful figures adorn the huge ceiling (128 by 44
feet); the scenes include God Dividing the Light from Darkness, The Creation of
Adam, and The Flood. His architectural genius must also be recognized, and the
designs of the Laurentian Library and the dome of St. Peter’s stand as
monuments to his universal accomplishments.
In his later years, Michelangelo was tormented by his desire for eternal
salvation. His sculptures and paintings changed from the classical Greek style
of balance, correct proportion, and harmony to one of emotional exaggeration.
The bodies become elongated, contorted, and full of powerful feelings. For
example, in The Deposition, Christ’s twisted torso is held up by Joseph of
Arimathea, who resembled Michelangelo. This style of art is referred to as
MANNERISM, “in the manner of Michelangelo.”
Some of the most interesting artists of the Mannerist school are El Greco
(Domenikos Theotokopuli, c.1541-1614), who was born in Crete and did his most
notable work in Spain, and the Venetian painter Tintoretto (1518-1594). Working
on enormous canvasses, TINTORETTO theatrically painted religious themes
including The Crucifixion and other aspects of Christ’s passion. One project
he undertook was reminiscent of Michelangelo. Tintoretto painted Old Testament
scenes, such as Moses Striking Water from the Rock, on the ceiling of a room. EL
GRECO used elongated figures, bizarre colors, such as green skin, and movement
to heighten the viewer’s emotion. An art historian would say that El Greco
(the Greek) was a forerunner of modern surrealist painting; his work was not
appreciated in his time period. Look at the Laocoon at the National Gallery in
Washington, D.C. or The View from Toledo at the Metropolitan Museum in New York
City and see what feelings they evoke within you.
A one-time pupil of Michelangelo was BEVENUTO CELLINI (1500-71) whose
statue, Narcissus, shows clearly the influence of mannerism. Cellini, however, had diverse styles and occupations. He was an exquisite
goldsmith, and a vivid, candid writer, as well as a sculptor. Cellini described
the making of his most famous sculpture, the bronze Perseus, in his
Autobiography, parts of which are presented at the end of this chapter.
Northern Renaissance Art
The first northern painter who paid extreme attention to detail and
symbolism was JAN VAN EYCK (c.1390-1441). For example, The Arnolfini Wedding
(1434) has a little terrier in the foreground whose every hair is meticulously
painted, showing dark and light contrasts. His photographic-like pictures, which
illustrate his development of oil paint as a medium, satisfied his wealthy
patrons’ desires for portraits. Two other northern artists who excelled in
portrait painting were German, Albrecht Durer (1471-1528) and Hans Holbein the
Younger (1497-1543). DURER (sometimes called the German Leonardo) used the art
form of engraving in metal and wood with exceptional artistry. He was honored
wherever he traveled throughout Europe. HANS HOLBEIN THE YOUNGER illustrated
Erasmus’s book In Praise of Folly His introspective portraits of Erasmus, Sir
Thomas More, Henry VIII, Christina of Denmark, and Ulrich Zwingli, the Swiss
Protestant reformer, are masterpieces from the time period when there were no
Erasmus and More
Other scholars in northern and western Europe sought to apply humanistic
methods to the study of Christianity. These scholars care-fully identified and
edited the texts on which Christianity is based. DESIDERIUS ERASMUS (1469-1536),
a Dutch monk, seeking to create a more perfect world, stressed church reform
based on Christian ideals. His advice was sought on a variety of questions, for
he was the leader of a group that criticized the weaknesses and abuses of the
Church. Erasmus of Rotterdam, as he was called, introduced humanism into
Eng-land during his term as a scholar at Oxford. His most famous work, In Praise
of Folly, is a satire on the frailties and foibles of all classes of mankind; he
delighted in poking fun at monks and other members of religious orders. He is
known as a Christian humanist because his emphasis is on reforming and educating
within the Church. A contemporary of Martin Luther, Erasmus debated Luther in
1524-1525 over the issue of free will. Erasmus argued that man has control over
his salvation, whereas Luther’s position is that only God has the ultimate
authority in the afterlife. Not capitulating to Luther, Erasmus remained an
independent thinker to the end. His objective was to reform the Church from
within, returning to the original message (simple piety) of Jesus and the
apostles. Because of this Prince of Humanists’ scholarship, his New Testament
editions in Greek and Latin were used by Protestant re-formers as a basis for
their translations of the Bible.
A friend of Erasmus was the English statesman and author, SIR THOMAS MORE
(1478-1535). More went on several diplomatic missions for King Henry VIII of
England and served as his Lord Chancellor. However, More was executed by Henry
in 1535 after his former Lord Chancellor, a loyal Catholic, had refused to
recognize the king as the supreme head of the Church of England. More’s most
famous work was Utopia, which literally means “no place.” On this imaginary
island, land is held in common, religious toleration is granted, and every-body
receives an education. No wonder utopia has come to mean an ideal but
unrealizable state! The book was intended as a satire to criticize the
oppression of the poor and other social evils of More’s day.
Spain and England developed a national literature that should be familiar
to you. The modern play Man of La Mancha is based on Spain’s most brilliant
novel, Don Quixote. Written by MIGUEL DE CERVANTES (1547-1616) as a satire on
chivalry, Don Quixote and Man of La Mancha focus on a romantic knight’s quest
for adventure while his faithful, practical squire, Sancho Panza, keeps telling
his master to see things as they really are and not as he imagines them to be.
Ironically, at the novel’s conclusion, the roles are reversed, so that the
reader obtains the insight that perhaps the two points of view are necessary for
man/woman’s being. The song “The Impossible Dream” high-lights the
idealism of a Don Quixote—”To dream the impossible dream...”
Representative of English literature is the gentleman most
English-speaking critics consider the world’s greatest playwright, WILLIAM
SHAKESPEARE (1564-1616). Writing and producing 37 plays in his lifetime,
epitomized the ideal of the “universal man” of the Renaissance. As a poet,
psychologist, and dramatist, he is unmatched. Shakespeare’s Hamlet, prince
of Denmark, emphasizes the Renaissance view of man and his potential in this
world when he says in Act 2, Scene 2:
What a piece of work is man! How noble in reason! how infinite in
faculties! in form and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an
angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of
There are other examples of national literature. In France, FRANÇOIS
RABELAIS (c.1494-1553) wrote a satirical series about the giants Gargantua and
Pantagruel that poked fun at the institutions of his time, especially the
Catholic Church and Scholastic learning. Monasticism and Scholasticism were the
chief targets of another satire, Letters of Obscure Men. ULRICH VON HUTTEN
(1488-1523), a German humanist, was a major contributor to this last work.
Invention of the Printing Press
The spread of the Renaissance throughout Europe was helped along by the
invention of the printing press attributed to Johann Gutenberg (c.1398-1468) and
others. Gutenberg used moveable metal type in a device derived from a wine press
to print whole pages. Books, and the ideas contained in them, became available
to a much wider audience since they no longer had to be laboriously copied by
hand. Literacy for the masses became feasible.
The first book printed was the Bible, about 1455 in Mainz, Germany. The Bible, Biblical commentaries, and the works of Desiderius Erasmus and Lorenzo Valla were used by the Protestant reformers in their attacks upon the established Catholic Church. We will soon meet Martin Luther, who wanted every man and woman to be able to read and to interpret the Bible for himself or herself. This was possible only after the invention of the printing press.
Internet Links to Renaissance Art
Below are two WEB sites on Renaissance Art.