The German Renaissance, part of the Northern Renaissance, was a cultural and artistic movement that spread among German thinkers in the 15th and 16th centuries, which originated from the Italian Renaissance in Italy. This was a result of German artists who had traveled to Italy to learn more and become inspired by the Renaissance movement. The German Renaissance pushed classical thinking, arts, and the natural sciences to the forefront during this period of thinking with Germany. This also made scientists focus more energy on the world around them and focus less on the heavens. This was a major turning point in history.
Mythology and ideology
The greatest mark of the Renaissance was the renewed interest in classical learning. Documents, papal or not, were being brought to the surface for examination and study. Classical learning and study was a must for any person living in the renaissance and was considered a great part of one's education. The basis of literature and art in this time were references back to times with Ancient Greek and Roman societies and mythology. The basis of natural science developed from that same look back into Greek and Roman philosophies and teaching, however they were more developed.
One thing to remember is this transition back to classical learning did not happen in a few years, the transition itself took over a century to occur within Germany. During this period many artists, scientists, and men of the church traveled to Italy. They brought back these ideals, and help thrust Germany into renaissance. The greatest influences of the German renaissance are marked for having brought the basis of Italian renaissance thinking, while still retaining their German culture.
Portrait of Emperor Maximilian I (reigned: 1493-1519), the first Renaissance monarch of the Holy Roman Empire, by Albrecht D rer, 1519.
Martin Luther (1483 1546)
Martin Luther initiated the Protestant Reformation through the criticisms of church practices such as selling indulgences, which he published in his Ninety-Five Theses of 1517. Luther also translated the Bible into German, making the Christian scriptures more accessible to the general population and inspiring the standardization of the German language.
Konrad Celtis (1459 1508)
Konrad Celtis, also known as Konradus Celtis (most commonly Conrad Celtis) in America, was a German humanist during the German renaissance. Born in 1459, Celtis fully lived the renaissance life. He was both living and influencing the renaissance, and was one of the greatest impacts upon it. One of the most important aspects of his teachings, was that he focused on the history of the world, not just Germany or sections of Europe. Being a great free thinker, he was regarded less as a Christian leader or educator. Konrad Celtis was more involved in the ancient pagan aspects, than of the popular religions and ideals of the time, and this added to his "free thinking" humanist title.
Johann Reuchlin (1455-1522)
Johann Reuchlin was the most important aspect of world culture teaching within Germany at this time. He was a scholar of both Greek and Hebrew. Graduating, then going on to teach at Basel, he was considered extremely intelligent. Yet after leaving Basel, he had to start copying manuscripts and apprenticing within areas of law. However, he is most known for his work within Hebrew studies. Unlike some other "thinkers" of this time, Reuchlin submerged himself into this, even creating a guide to preaching within the Hebrew faith. The book, titled De Arte Predicandi (1503), is possibly one of his best-known works from this period.
Johannes Gutenberg (c. 1398 1468)
Born Henne G nsfleisch zur Laden, Johannes Gutenberg is widely considered the most influential person within the German Renaissance. Another free thinker, humanist, and inventor, Gutenberg also grew up within the Renaissance, but influenced it greatly as well. His most well-known invention is the printing press in 1440. Johannes Gutenberg's press allowed the ideas of humanists, reformists, and others to circulate their ideas. Essentially this is the basis of the Renaissance, the change and exchange of ideas. He is also known as the person who typed the Gutenberg Bible. Because of that they named this specific Bible after him.
Albrecht D rer (1471 1528)
Albrecht D rer was at the time, and remains, the most famous artist of the German Renaissance. He was famous across Europe, and greatly admired in Italy, where his work was mainly known through his prints. He successfully integrated an elaborate Northern style with Renaissance harmony and monumentality. Among his best known works are Melencolia I, the Four Horsemen from his woodcut Apocalypse series, and Death, the Knight, and the Devil. Other significant artists were Lucas Cranach the Elder, the Danube School and the Little Masters.
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