Around 1350 AD people in Europe started taking an interest in ancient Roman and Greek civilizations. A movement was started to revive the ideas, art and learning of their ways.
This cultural wave lasted over 250 years and scholars said it felt like a ‘rebirth’ of the old civilizations and therefore named it the “Renaissance” which is the French word for ‘Rebirth’.
The Renaissance movement began about 700 years ago in Italy. The rich families of Italy encouraged scholars to study ancient Greek and Roman cultures.
The rich were so impressed by the old cultures that they began to build grand palaces and filled with paintings, sculptures and literature. Florence was one of the most important places in Italy during this period.
The Medici family rose to power in Florence around 600 years ago and were great supporters of the Renaissance movement when art and architecture flourished under their rule.
The Renaissance period reached France when King Charles VIII invaded Italy and saw the beauty they had recreated and so he invited Italian artists to France.
Poland and Hungary were introduced to the Renaissance styles by the Italian scholars and artists who went to settle there.
Then the wave continued through to Germany and then finally Spain, Portugal and England, Scandinavia and Central Europe. In these places the movement changed some aspects of religion as well as the art.
Scholars felt that Humanism should be allowed to let people express themselves independently.
The Renaissance artists drew extremely life like three-dimensional figures and also studied the human body in great detail. It was also encouraged to find logical answers to science and geographical questions.
Some of the greatest artists of this time are Leonardo Da Vinci, Michaelangelo, Raphael and Titian.
Leonardo da Vinci is probably the best known oil painting artist as his paintings included the Mona Lisa.