History Men


edici, Lorenzo de: From Italy during the Renaissance. The Medici’s riches gained them political control in Florence. They established one of the first public libraries in Europe. The most notable and most generous patron of the Medici family was Lorenzo de Medici, called “Il Magnifico”.

Italian Humanist Writers


etrarch, Francesco: (1304 – 1374) From Italy. Known as the “Father of Humanism”. He was the son of a Florentine merchant. As a youth, he followed his father’s wishes and entered law school, but his real love was for the classical writings of Greece and Rome. He composed his own Latin poems. He also wrote sonnets (14 line poems).


astiglione, Baldassara: (1478 – 1529) From Italy. Wrote one of the most famous books on etiquette published during the Renaissance, called “The Counter”.


achiavelli, Niccolo: (1469 – 1527) From the Florentine Republic. He served as a diplomat for the Florentine Republic from 1489 – 1512. Machiavelli wrote several important and controversial of these is an essay called “The Prince”. He also wrote, “Discourses on the First Ten Books of Livy”.

Northern Humanist Writers


rasmus: (1466 – 1536) called “The Prince of the Humanists”. His most famous work is called “Praise of Folly”. He uses it to point out the evils and follies of Renaissance society. Martin Luther used Erasmus’s Greek New Testament in making his German translation of the New Testament. The translators of the King James version have used Erasmus’s text as the basis for translating the New Testament into the common languages of the people.


ore, Sir Thomas: ( 1478 – 1535) From England. More was a man of deep piety who spent regular hours in prayer. He wrote a book called “Utopia” (meaning nowhere) in which he set forth his views on the ideal government. More entered the service of Henry VIII (the king of England). Although he served Henry well, he was beheaded for treason when he refused to take an oath recognizing Henry as head of the church in England. At the scaffold he said, “I die the King’s loyal servant, but God’s first”. Despite the corruption in the Renaissance papacy, More still believed in the pope’s supremacy in the church.


ervantes, Miguel de: (1547 – 1616) From Spain. He wrote the novel “Don Quixote”.


hakespeare, William: (1564 – 1616) From Stratford-upon-Avon, a small town northwest of London. As a young man, he went to London, where he became a successful actor and playwright. Shakespeare gained financial success as a leader and a stockholder in a prominent London theatrical group called the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, later known as the King’s Men. He purchased stock in two playhouses, the most famous of which was the Globe Theater, where most of his plays were performed. He wrote 154 sonnets and 38 plays.

Early Italian Painters


iotto de Bondone: (1266? – 1337) From Italy. Called the “Father of Renaissance Painting”. Giotto is most famous for his frescoes (paintings on wet plaster) on the walls of the town church at Padua.


asaccio: (1401 -1337) From the Florentine Republic. He was the first to create a three-dimensional effect in his painting.


otticelli, Sandro: ( 1444? – 1510) From Italy. He added movement to Renaissance act. Became one of Savonarola’s converts and, as a result, he, and his paintings took on a more religious and moral outlook.

High Renaissance Painters


eonardo da Vinci: (1452 – 1519) From Italy. He was an accomplished sculptor, architect, painter, musician, and poet. He also studied anatomy, botany, geology, astronomy, engineering, and mathematics. While in Milan Leonardo painted his famous mural “The Last Supper” on a wall in a monastery. Two other paintings by Leonardo are the “Mona Lisa” and the “Virgin of the Rocks”.


aphael (Raffeallo Sanzio): (1483 – 1520) He is famous for his painting of sweet faced Madonnas in which he idealized motherhood. He is known for the magnificent frescoes that he painted to decorate the papal residence in Rome.


ichelangelo Buonarroti: (1475 – 1564) One of the most famous artists in all of history. As a young boy he exhibited unusual skill in sculpting. Lorenzo de Medici took him into his household as his adopted son. In 1508 Pope Julius II asked Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican. He was a noted painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and poet. One of his most famous masterpieces