German Renaissance

German Renaissance

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The German Renaissance, part of the Northern Renaissance
Northern Renaissance
The Northern Renaissance is the term used to describe the Renaissance in northern Europe, or more broadly in Europe outside Italy. Before 1450 Italian Renaissance humanism had little influence outside Italy. From the late 15th century the ideas spread around Europe...

, was a cultural and artistic movement that spread among German
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 thinkers in the 15th and 16th centuries, which originated from the Italian Renaissance
Italian Renaissance
The Italian Renaissance began the opening phase of the Renaissance, a period of great cultural change and achievement in Europe that spanned the period from the end of the 13th century to about 1600, marking the transition between Medieval and Early Modern Europe...

 in Italy. This was a result of German artists who had traveled to Italy to learn more and become inspired by the Renaissance
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

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
The Renaissance was a cultural movement that spanned roughly the 14th to the 17th century, beginning in Italy in the Late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe. The term is also used more loosely to refer to the historical era, but since the changes of the Renaissance were not...

 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
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

 and Roman societies and mythology. The basis of natural science
Natural science
The natural sciences are branches of science that seek to elucidate the rules that govern the natural world by using empirical and scientific methods...

 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.

Influential people

Martin Luther (1483–1546)

Martin Luther
Martin Luther
Martin Luther was a German priest, professor of theology and iconic figure of the Protestant Reformation. He strongly disputed the claim that freedom from God's punishment for sin could be purchased with money. He confronted indulgence salesman Johann Tetzel with his Ninety-Five Theses in 1517...

 initiated the Protestant Reformation
Protestant Reformation
The Protestant Reformation was a 16th-century split within Western Christianity initiated by Martin Luther, John Calvin and other early Protestants. The efforts of the self-described "reformers", who objected to the doctrines, rituals and ecclesiastical structure of the Roman Catholic Church, led...

 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
Luther Bible
The Luther Bible is a German Bible translation by Martin Luther, first printed with both testaments in 1534. This translation became a force in shaping the Modern High German language. The project absorbed Luther's later years. The new translation was very widely disseminated thanks to the printing...

 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
Johann Reuchlin
Johann Reuchlin was a German humanist and a scholar of Greek and Hebrew. For much of his life, he was the real centre of all Greek and Hebrew teaching in Germany.-Early life:...

 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 Gänsfleisch 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
Printing press
A printing press is a device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a print medium , thereby transferring the ink...

 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 Dürer (1471–1528)

Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer
Albrecht Dürer was a German painter, printmaker, engraver, mathematician, and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since...

 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
Old master print
An old master print is a work of art produced by a printing process within the Western tradition . A date of about 1830 is usually taken as marking the end of the period whose prints are covered by this term. The main techniques concerned are woodcut, engraving and etching, although there are...

. He successfully integrated an elaborate Northern style with Renaissance harmony and monumentality. Among his best known works are Melencolia I
Melencolia I
Melencolia I is a 1514 engraving by the German Renaissance master Albrecht Dürer. It is an allegorical composition which has been the subject of many interpretations...

, the Four Horsemen from his woodcut
Woodcut—occasionally known as xylography—is a relief printing artistic technique in printmaking in which an image is carved into the surface of a block of wood, with the printing parts remaining level with the surface while the non-printing parts are removed, typically with gouges...

Apocalypse (Dürer)
The Apocalypse, properly Apocalypse with Pictures is a famous series of fifteen woodcuts by Albrecht Dürer of scenes from the Book of Revelation, published in 1498, which rapidly brought him fame across Europe...

 series, and Death, the Knight, and the Devil. Other significant artists were Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder
Lucas Cranach the Elder , was a German Renaissance painter and printmaker in woodcut and engraving...

, the Danube School
Danube school
The Danube School or Donau School is the name of a circle of painters of the first third of the 16th century in Bavaria and Austria . Many also were innovative printmakers, usually in etching...

 and the Little Masters
Little Masters
The Little Masters , were a group of German printmakers who worked in the first half of the 16th century, primarily in engraving. They specialized in very small finely detailed prints, some no larger than a postage stamp...