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Billie Silvey
An eclectic website about Women, Christianity,
History, Culture and the Arts--
and anything else that comes to mind.
December 2012
The Roots of the
Renaissance
The roots of the Renaissance, that incredible flowering of art and
beauty, grew from the fertile soil of just one city--
Florence, Italy.
Florence, on the banks of the Arno River, was still somewhat rural
in the beginning of the 1400's.  Its population pressed 50,000, and
its wealth, based on the wool industry, led to an unprecedented
building boom.

The word Renaissance means re-birth and refers to the rebirth of
classical Greek and Roman art and thinking after the Middle
Ages, after the Black Death reduced the population of Europe,
and after the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Turks in 1453
led Byzantine scholars with their rich trove of Greek and Roman
manuscripts to flee to the West. There the advent of printing
spread that learning even further, causing people to question
established ideas.

A flurry of exploration of new lands as well as new learning led to
Florence becoming the center of map-making as well.

The
Medici grew to be a powerful banking family in Florence, and
the three golden balls on their coat of arms still can be seen on the
signs of pawnbrokers.  Their offices, near the Arno River, were
on both sides of the street with a connecting passageway
overhead.  Today these offices, or
Uffizi, are the home of a
world-class collection of art.

Architects, sculptors and painters were all influenced by the
rebirth of knowledge of the classical arts.  Other articles in this
website include the Florentine architect
Brunelleschi, the sculptor
Donatello and the painter Fra Angelico.

I hope you'll write me your reactions to anything in the website at
b.silvey@sbcglobal.net.
View of Florence from the gardens of the Basilica of San Miniato al
Monte.  Photo by Allentide/Corbis
The banking offices of the Medici in 15th century Florence, currently the
Uffizi Gallery, a rich repository of Renaissance art.
Brunelleschi
Donatello
Fra Angelico