Modern European Cultural History

The High Renaissance and Early Mannerist Styles

The High (Roman) Renaissance and Early Mannerism, The Western Humanities, Chapter 12.

1. Describe the rise of the modern nation state and indicate its long-term importance.  What did the end of the dream of a united Christendom mean for the subsequent history of Europe?  Describe the impact of the Hapsburg-Valois wars on Italy and its culture.  Describe the major economic and social developments of the sixteenth century.

2. Describe the cultural setting of sixteenth-century Rome, indicating similarities with as well as differences from that of fifteenth-century Florence.  Explain how both these differences and similarities helped shape the High Renaissance style, making it distinct from that of Florence.  In particular, note the importance of the patronage system in each city.

3. Describe the literary contributions of Gaspara Stamps, Baldassare Castiglione, and Niccolò Machiavelli.  Why do the authors of your text characterize Castiglione as High Renaissance and Machiavelli as Mannerist?

4. Describe the artistic contributions of Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raphael Santi in Rome.  How is the art of Venice (Giorgione and Titian) and Parma (Parmigianino) different from that of Rome?

5. Describe both the content and the form of Michelangelo’s sculptures:  The Pità, David, and the second Pietà.

6. Explain how Donato Bramante’s Tempietto and Michelangelo’s dome for St Peter’s symbolizes “the revival of classical forms”.  Explain why Matthews and Platt call the Villa Rotonda “mannerist”.

7. Explain how Michelangelo and other Roman Renaissance figures could simultaneously embrace pagan as well as Christian ideals, illustrating your answer with references to specific works mentioned in your text.

8. What is the legacy of the High Renaissance and Early Mannerism?


Questions on the Readings

Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527), The Prince.

1. How did Machiavelli claim to be innovative in the study of politics?

2. Describe Machiavelli’s concept of human nature.

3. How was Machiavelli’s advice to Princes a break with traditional teachings about politics?

4. Compare Machiavelli’s concept of man with that of other Renaissance thinkers like Bruni or Pico della Mirandola.

5. What ethical standards did Machiavelli set for politicians who wished to succeed?

Baldassare Castiglione (1478-1529), The Book of the Courtier.

1. What sort of behavior did Castiglione advocate?

2. What are the characteristics of the ideal courtier?

3. Why might The Courtier be described as a Renaissance work?


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Last Update: 05 February 2004

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