On the other hand, the Northern Europe Renaissance started in the 15th century due to the influence of the Italian Renaissance’s humanism and spread to other parts of Europe. Among the regions outside Italy greatly influenced by the Italian Renaissance, thus leading to the Northern Europe Renaissance were Germany, France, England, Poland, and the Netherlands (Hause & Maltby, 2001). Although these Renaissances were influenced by the Italian Renaissance, each had its own unique characteristics, weaknesses, and strengths. This paper explores the Italian and the Northern European Renaissances with regards to their similarities, differences, and relationships. Features, Similarities and Differences The Italian Renaissance had a sweeping influence on the renaissances of Northern European states due to its many cultural achievements, which later made the Northern European Renaissance quite similar to the Italian one. First, both renaissances were marked by the emergence of vernacular poets and book collectors such as Petrarch and Boccaccio. Second, the paintings of the Italian Renaissance had deep influence on and similarities with the subsequent Northern European paintings (Hause & Maltby, 2001). Among the famous Italian Renaissance painters were Leonardo da Vinci (Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and Vitruvian Man paintngs), Giotto di Bondone, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Perugino, and Piero della Francesca. The Italian Renaissance architecture, practiced and spread by renowned architects such as Andrea
Palladio, and Bramante was also similar to that that of Northern European (Hause & Maltby, 2001). For an illustration, the Italian Renaissance’s Gothic architecture remained in Northern European until the emergence of the Baroque even as Northern European painters more progressively drew on Italian models.
There are numerous instances in which Northern European Renaissance borrowed from the Italian Renaissance, thus the similarities. For instance King Francis of France imported a lot of Italian art and even commissioned Italian artists of great renown such as Leonardo da Vinci and architects to construct imposing and expensive palaces thereby initiating the French Renaissance. Trade and commerce were the other similarities between the Italian and the Northern European Renaissance. In fact, trade and commerce further propelled cultural and social exchanges between the renaissances. Despite the similarities, there were certain differences between the Italian and the Northern European Renaissance, more so regarding how power was shared in the two renaissances. For instance, in Northern European, renaissance led to the emergence of nation-states while the Italian case characterized by independent city-states. Additionally, the Northern Renaissance had series of internal and external conflicts among the protestant groups, which were linked to the Protestant Reformation struggle (Hause & Maltby, 2001). Religion was therefore one of the major differences between the renaissances as shown by the majority Catholics and the dominant Roman Catholic Church in the Italian Renaissance. Later people such as Hieronymus Bosch started questioning the powers and some doctrines of the Catholic Church, leading to religious rebellion during the Northern Renaissance.
Manifestation of the Differences. Art was one of the avenues by which the cultural and social differences between these periods were manifested. For instance, the religiousness of the Italian Renaissance was reflected in the period’s religious literary works, paintings, and music (Hause & Maltby, 2001). Such a religious painting was the Last Supper. Although the Northern Renaissance also had religious cultures and arts, the belief was not as strong as during the Italian Renaissance. The more creativeness of the European Renaissance is also reflected in its many arts such as the engraved metal plates, creative paintings, and woodcuts. The above differences and similarities between the Italian and the Northern European Renaissances indicate that a relationship existed between them. In fact, the relationship between these periods’ cultures equally focused on humanism. That is, instead of focusing on a higher being, the art and cultures of these periods focused on the individual (Hause & Maltby, 2001). The need to understand humanity via truth and knowledge was thus the major objective of these periods. Conclusion
Although the Italian and Northern European Renaissances had their differences, they also had several vital similarities, which paved way for the civilization experienced in the later centuries. These periods were marked by quite many ideas, religions, and techniques, most of which are still rather influential and important in modern times. Importantly, the periods had far-reaching relationships since the Italian Renaissance really influenced the Northern European Renaissance.