The Humanistic Tradition I

From the Ancient World to The Reformation

The Humanistic Tradition:  Study Questions.
Chapter 15: Adversity and Challenge: The Fourteenth-century Transition.

1. How did a plague like the Black Death affect the lives, psychology, and thinking of late medieval Europeans?  What does the excerpt from Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron tell us about the impact of the Black Death on 14th-century Florence?  What other disasters were visited upon 14th-century Europeans?

2. The Catholic Church suffered a major crisis in the 14th and early 15th centuries.  Describe the nature of this crisis and its short and long-term consequences.

3. Describe the major characteristics of the work of each of these authors: Giovanni Boccaccio (“social realism”), Christine de Pisan (“feminism”), and Geoffrey Chaucer (“social realism”).

4. Compare and contrast Cimabue’s Madonna Enthroned (Figure 13.38) with Giotto’s Madonna Enthroned (Figure 15.7).  What is similar and what is different?  What do the differences reveal about the new direction European painting was taking?

5. What is “devotional realism”?  Describe three examples.  Why do you think this form of art appealed to 14th-century Europeans?

6. Describe the main features of the ars nova in music.

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Last Update:  23.VIII.2006

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