The RenaissanceBy: Hannah White This page is a overview of the Renaissance. It will talk about the people, the family life, art, literature and theater, and Religion. The Renaissance was a time of rebirth. Renaissance is a term is used to describe the time in history from approximately 1400- 1640 A.D. It was a cultural movement that greatly affected European intellectual life in the early modern period
The People In the Renaissance, most Europeans lived in the countryside and some moved to cities and towns. Because people wanted to practice a trade in town
peasant couples in the Renaissance era
peasant couples in the Renaissance era
workshops, work as servants in townhouses and study in city schools, the cities became very crowded. The peasants spent their lives growing crops and raising animals. Peasants lived and worked on the lord's estate, that included the lord's house or villa, peasant huts, stables, fields, orchards, vineyards, pastures and fishponds. Some peasants, called serfs, were given land to farm, but they had to farm the lord's land a few days every month and were never allowed to leave the estate. Other peasants called free peasants rented land from the lord but did not have to work in his fields and could leave the estate if they wanted to. All peasants had to pay taxes and fines to the lord in cash or in produce from farming.
The artists, scholars, writers, church officials, craftspeople, tradespeople, and wealthy businesspeople are the people that lived in cities. Wealthy bankers and merchants were the most powerful city dwellers. They used their wealth to build large homes,commission work of art and literature, and dress in fine fabrics and jewelry. Craftspeople made goods such as furniture, cooking pots, clothing and shoes, jewelry, glassware, and mirrors. Others worked with the food. Bakers made bread and cakes, spice grocers sold spices, oils, honey, and sugar, and butchers sold meat. Every craft and trade has its own guild, or association. They helped price the goods, and set standards for wages, training of young craftspeople and workmanship. Guilds did many other things, such as sponsoring parades, plays and building churches and chapels. In some towns and cities, guild members ran the local government as well.
(Elliott, Lynne)
to learn more about different roles in the towns and villages

The Family Life
When a child was born during the Renaissance, it was a time of celebration and joy. But there was always a chance of danger. More than one in ten mothers died during childbirth and many babies died from infection or unsanitary conditions.The children were born in their mothers beds instead of hospitals. They were usually delivered by midwifes or a female family member that was familiar with childbirth. Less than half of the children born during the Renaissance lived to adulthood. There were many things that contributed to the deaths, such as malnutrition, infection and other diseases. As children grew older, the children of peasants and townspeople helped their mothers with chores around the house or gardening and enjoyed playing hide and seek, hopscotch and marbles. The older children were given harder chores to get them ready for adulthood. Peasant children did not usually learn to write or read. The peasant girls were expected to know how to milk cows and care for the rest of the livestock. Peasant boys learned to repair farming tools and farm by helping their fathers. The children in towns learned trades by helping their parents in workshops
a family during the Renaissance
a family during the Renaissance
. Girls did not usually go to school, but they learned important housekeeping skills from their mothers. Some boys went to school but only learned enough arithmetic to run a business. Noble parents and wealthy townspeople wanted their children to have a good education and hired tutors to teach the children how to read and write in their native language and some of them taught Latin
(Elliott, Lynne)


During the Middle Ages, the artists painted people as if they were flat and stiff. The Renaissance artists gave their subjects a more realistic look and gave them lifelike facial expressions and natural poses. They also used shadows to create a sense of depth. The first artist that was credited for developing this painting technique was Giotto di Bondone. He lived in Italy at the end of the 1200s. During the 1400s painters began experimenting with a method of drawing something on a flat surface so that it appears to have three-dimensional depth just as the eye would see it, called perspective. The painters experimented with new ways of creating, mixing and using paint. Renaissance artists used the water
A Renaissance frescoe in the Duomo de Firenze
A Renaissance frescoe in the Duomo de Firenze
color, created by medieval painters, to create frescoes on walls or ceilings. The Northern European artists, such as Jan and Hubert van Eyck, started experimenting with oils mixed with pigments. The oil paints dried slowly, giving the artists more time to paint. They were also used to create different textures and shades of light and dark when they were painted on top of one another. The Renaissance sculpters created monuments, fountains, and large sta
An example of a relief
An example of a relief
tues. The sculptures also created reliefs, which are scenes sculpted out of a flat surface. The material they worked with consisted of wood, bronze, terracotta, marble, or limestone. They also would use more expensive things like silver, gold and ivory. Most of the sculptures were religious, but they also depicted figures from history and anceint myths, along with nobles, military heroes of their day, and patrons.
(Elliott, Lynne)
Learn more about the art

Literature and Theater

Two forms of Renaissance entertainment were literature and theater. Literature tells stories that are written. Books were enjoyed by a small and privileged section of society because most people could not read during this time. Theater was enjoyed by everyone and tells storys with spoken words. The poets and writers translated histories, epics, poetry and plays from ancient Romans and Greeks into their own works.The wirters also began to write in a local native language, known as vernacular. During the Middle Ages, universities and monasteries used their own libraries to keep books for the private use of scholars, monks, and students. In the Renaissance, the rulers created private and public libraries. The first public library was opened in Florence in the 1440s by Cosime de' Medici. Although the libraries were public, they were only used for study by scholars and students who could read. Books were unable to be checked out. They were so expensice, the books were chained to shelves so they were not stolen or damaged. The plays were held in city squares, noble households, and the cexternal image shakespear_william.0.jpgourty ards of inns and taverns. In the 1500s, the people built permentant theaters or playhouses, following the example of the Romans and Greeks once again. Theaters were typically outdoors and had a raised stage surrounded by layers of seating. The plays were usually performed during festicals, feast days and fairs. Many of the plays were about religious matters and taught a moral lesson to the audiences. They also began to perform tragedies and comedies from the Greeks and Romans. Humanistic scholars took these classics and translated them into the vernacular languages of the Renaissance of Europe. Also, Renaissance writers wrote their own plays for troupes of actors. The most famous playwright and poet was William Shakespeare. He wrote comedies, historical plays, tragedies and romances for the Lord Chamberlain's Men, his theater troupe. Women could go and see the plays but were unable to perform in them. The female roles in Shakespeares plays were performed by boys.
(Elliot, Lynne)
William Shakespeare: Background for his works (clip)


In the Renaissance, most people were Christian and believed in one God, and in the teachings of his son, Jesus Christ. They believed he was the savior of humankind. In the begining of the Renaissance, all of the Christians in western Europe belonged to the Roman Catholic Church, which was lead by the pope. People tried to live their lives according to the church. They did this by attenting church services, receiving the sacraments of the church, or rites, and worshiping God. The people built chapels and churchs. And they celebr
Martin Luther
Martin Luther
ated holy days, such as Easter and days that were dedicated to saints, or holy people. The Reformation began in 1517 because a man named Martin Luther wrote a public challenge to some church teachings and nailed it to a church door in Wittenburg, Germany. He challenged the church about many issues. He did not like the fact the church was making mony selling documents that people could buy or earn with good deeds and that replaced doing punishment for their sins. The documents were called induglences. The Reformation divided the European Catholics into the two groups, Catholic and Protestant. Martin Luther also challenged the leadership of the pope and the hierarchy of churchmen. He believed people could direct their own religious education by reading the Bible. He translated the Bible from Latin, the language of churchmen and scholars, into German, the language of everyday people. The Reformation greatly damaged the authority of the pope and of the Catholic Church. To argue against Protestant teachings and reform his own church, the pope gathered more than 200 high-raking church officials for an important series of meetings in Trent, Northern Italy, which became known as the Council of Trent. The Council declares that the Latin Bible was the authorized and official version; therefore, confirming Catholic teachings. It forbade churchmen to become wealthy and called for better education of all priest. Also, it reformed the sale of indulgences and enforced discipline in the church.
(Elliott, Lynne)
To learn more about the Reformation

Works Cited:
Elliott, Lynne. "The Renaissance in Europe" 1968.

"The Renaissance- A Brief Synopsis",

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