The Italian Renaissance.

By Peter Burke

Printed: 2012

Publisher: Polity Press. London

Edition: Reprint

Dimensions 16 × 23 × 3 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 16 x 23 x 3

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Softback. Green glossy paper with gilt title and ” The Annuncation of Saint Emidius” on the front board.

F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feel and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

The Italian Renaissance was a period in Italian history covering the 15th and 16th centuries. The period is known for the development of a culture that spread across Europe and marked the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity. Proponents of a “long Renaissance” argue that it started around the year 1300 and lasted until about 1600.  In some fields, a Proto-Renaissance, beginning around 1250, is typically accepted. The French word renaissance (corresponding to rinascimento in Italian) means ‘rebirth’, and defines the period as one of cultural revival and renewed interest in classical antiquity after the centuries during what Renaissance humanists labelled as the “Dark Ages”. The Renaissance author Giorgio Vasari used the term rinascita ‘rebirth’ in his Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects in 1550, but the concept became widespread only in the 19th century, after the work of scholars such as Jules Michelet and Jacob Burckhardt.

The Renaissance began in Tuscany in Central Italy and centred in the city of Florence. The Florentine Republic, one of the several city-states of the peninsula, rose to economic and political prominence by providing credit for European monarchs and by laying down the groundwork for developments in capitalism and in banking.  Renaissance culture later spread to Venice, heart of a Mediterranean empire and in control of the trade routes with the east since its participation in the crusades and following the journeys of Marco Polo between 1271 and 1295. Thus Italy renewed contact with the remains of ancient Greek culture, which provided humanist scholars with new texts. Finally the Renaissance had a significant effect on the Papal States and on Rome, largely rebuilt by humanist and Renaissance popes, such as Julius II (r. 1503–1513) and Leo X (r. 1513–1521), who frequently became involved in Italian politics, in arbitrating disputes between competing colonial powers and in opposing the Protestant Reformation, which started c. 1517.

The Italian Renaissance has a reputation for its achievements in painting, architecture, sculpture, literature, music, philosophy, science, technology, and exploration. Italy became the recognized European leader in all these areas by the late 15th century, during the era of the Peace of Lodi (1454–1494) agreed between Italian states. The Italian Renaissance peaked in the mid-16th century as domestic disputes and foreign invasions plunged the region into the turmoil of the Italian Wars (1494–1559). However, the ideas and ideals of the Italian Renaissance spread into the rest of Europe, setting off the Northern Renaissance from the late 15th century. Italian explorers from the maritime republics served under the auspices of European monarchs, ushering in the Age of Discovery. The most famous among them include Christopher Columbus (who sailed for Spain), Giovanni da Verrazzano (for France), Amerigo Vespucci (for Portugal), and John Cabot (for England). Italian scientists such as Falloppio, Tartaglia, Galileo and Torricelli played key roles in the Scientific Revolution, and foreigners such as Copernicus and Vesalius worked in Italian universities. Historiographers have proposed various events and dates of the 17th century, such as the conclusion of the European wars of religion in 1648, as marking the end of the Renaissance.

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