2.2- Influences on the Northern Renaissance

Humanism in the Northern Renaissance

Two Giant Scholars

Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) (more information)

Desiderius Erasmus - 1523 by Hans Holbein the Younger

Desiderius Erasmus – 1523 by Hans Holbein the Younger

  • Humanist scholar and priest
  • Deeply spiritual and well traveled
  • Two important works: Familiar Conversations (1519) and The Praise of Folly

Familiar Conversations

  • A satiric attack on the abuses within the Catholic Church
  • His goal was to internally reform of the Catholic Church
  • He was not in favor of the creation of Protestant Churches

In Praise of Folly

  • A satire of the hypocrisy and pretensions that prevailed during his time

Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) (more information)

Sir Thomas More - by Hans Holbein the Younger - 1527

Sir Thomas More – by Hans Holbein the Younger – 1527

  • Humanist scholar and friend of Erasmus
  • Wrote Utopia
  • A man of principle, he was executed because he could not in good conscious fully pledge his allegiance to King Henry VIII’s Church of England

Michel de Montaigne (1533-92)

“I have never seen a greater monster or miracle than myself.’ – Essays

Read a chapter from Essays


The Hapsburgs

Charles V by Titian 1548

Charles V by Titian 1548


Article: How the Hapsburgs Shaped Our Arts



Canal at Rozenhoedkaai, Bruges, Belgium

Canal at Rozenhoedkaai, Bruges, Belgium


King Henry

Painted by a follower of Hans Holbein the Younger

Painted by a follower of Hans Holbein the Younger


Religion -The Protestant Reformation

Martin Luther — 1483-1546 (more information)


One of the most important figures of the 1500’s
Monk and scholar — professor at Wittenburg University
Famous disputation — Ninety-five Theses

Luther’s Legacy

  • Ninety-five These was an attack primarily aimed at the practice of “indulgences.’
  • Indulgences — a way to pay priests for your salvation
  • God’s gift — the printing press
  • Separate Protestant churches formed
  • Luther was not an iconoclast
  • He was an art lover and composed hymns

John Calvin 1509-64 (more information)

  • Take away distractions from spirituality
  • Linked to Puritanism and America

The Basis for the Creation of Protestant Churches

  • If you disagreed with the church, you were kicked out — excommunicated
  • The opulence and worldly wealth and pursuits of the Catholic Church
  • The principle that faith needed to be combined with deeds for salvation
  • The power, ritual and dogma associated with the Papacy
  • The desire to focus on the essentials of Christianity — which had consequences for the arts.

Science & Technology

Exploration, Economics and the Arts

The Natural resource of the Americas and Caribbean

  • The new staples for Europe – Cocoa, sugar, cotton, tobacco
  • Explosion of the Merchant Class – More wealth amongst more people was good for the arts

Astronomy and The Scientific Method

Nicolas Copernicus — 1473-1543

Francis Bacon — 1562-1626
The “Scientific Method’

The Printing Press

  • Printing of Plays and poetry
  • Multiple copies of art works, such as engravings


The Evolution of the Castle


Examples from France

Examples from England

7 Responses to “2.2- Influences on the Northern Renaissance”

  1. Rachel McCreedy writes:

    does anyone else have the intense longing to go to Europe and spend DAYS exploring the castles and art?!

  2. Corrisa Smith writes:

    I thought it was interesting that science was so much a part of the Northern Renaissance when the church was still so much in control.

  3. Narlin Smith writes:

    Luther’s Legacy sound clip is missing 🙁

  4. Melvin Baird writes:

    Francis Bacon and Nicolas Copernicus explains that science has an importance in Northern Renaissance times Astronomy and The Scientific Method.

  5. Anonymous writes:

    I admire that the greater freedom found in the artistic expression of the Renaissance found its way into the sciences and into the everyday experiences of the populace. The more people learned, the more they wanted to learn. The small inroads into freedom of expression led to the advancement of western civilization!

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