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Why was Italy, especially Florence, the focus of the Renaissance in Europe 1450-1530? Free essay! Download now

Home > A Level > History > Why was Italy, especially Florence, the focus of the Renaissance in Europe 1450-1530?

Why was Italy, especially Florence, the focus of the Renaissance in Europe 1450-1530?

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Downloads to date: N/A | Words: 1600 | Submitted: 14-Nov-2006
Spelling accuracy: N/A | Number of pages: | Filetype: Word .doc


This essays details the arguments as to why Italy and the city state of Florence formed the birth place and focus of the Renaissance in Europe 1450-1530


Described by Vascari in 1550 as a ‘renascita,’ the renaissance, focused in Italy between 1450-1530, was an intellectual and cultural movement of great impact. It was a time period where an attitude of “Man, not God, is the measure of all things,” was adopted. The period represented a rediscovery by Western Europe of classical ideas, knowledge and skills. It was a time when architecture, sculptures and paintings flourished; civic life was lavish and extravagant; Italy – a ‘geographical expression’ at the time - became the ‘cockpit of Europe’ and inventions, science, scholasticism and overall Humanism was thriving.
However, why was it that Italy, especially Florence, played a leading role in the revival of common interest into the more secular aspects of life, art and culture – creating the ‘cradle of the Renaissance?’
The primary reason was commercial prosperity and patronage. During the 15th Century, Florence was, like the rest of Italy, experiencing an economical boom. The Northern Italian city had become the center for the European wool trade. Hence, the political power in the city belonged to the wealthy merchants who led the industry. Throughout the period of the renaissance in Italy, the Medici family controlled Florence. The Medici family had controlled Florence since the late 14th Century, with Giovanni de Medici having been the banker to the Papal Court. Giovanni being a wealthy and influential citizen, he had no choice but to participate in public life. He died in 1429 leaving behind a legacy of patronage for the arts, an incredible fortune and his son – Cosimo de Medici, who continued the family banking business and generously supporting the arts via patronage, had been educated in the principles of humanism. Thus the increasing economical status of high profile individuals meant they had sufficient funds to be great patrons of the arts – commissioning both public and private works.

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