During the Middle Ages (a period of European history which began in the fifth century) art and learning was centered on theology. But at the start of the fourteenth century, thinkers and artists turned their eye toward humanity. This cultural movement was called the Renaissance. It started in northern Italy, and then gradually spread to the rest of western Europe. Many historians consider the Renaissance the beginning of the modern era of human history.
Like a mini-vacation, Italy Guides brings you the best of Florence with QuickTime Virtual Realty tours, downloadable audio tours in MP3 format, and a photo gallery. Virtual tours are available for the Duomo (cathedral) of Florence, the Giotto's Bell Tower, the Dome of Brunelleschi, and twelve other sights. Last month when I was in Florence with my family, our hotel was adjacent to the piazza Santa Maria Novella, so seeing that tour brought back some great memories.
"In many ways we are still living in a Renaissance world. And you can see the origins of our world in the visual arts of the Renaissance." Although I normally skip as fast as I can over Flash intros, I did enjoy this one. Turn on your speakers to hear the accompanying music. The Renaissance Connection is my pick of the day because of its creative interface and six lesson plans in PDF. Visit to explore the life of a Renaissance artist or to imagine yourself a patron of arts.
"Renaissance, French for â€˜rebirth,' perfectly describes the intellectual and economic changes that occurred in Europe from the fourteenth through the sixteenth centuries. During the era known by this name, Europe emerged from the economic stagnation of the Middle Ages and experienced a time of financial growth. Also, and perhaps most importantly, the Renaissance was an age in which artistic, social, scientific, and political thought turned in new directions." In addition to well-written articles, annotated Web links, and a soothing design, this Learner.org site includes some interactive activities.
The Web Museum first opened its virtual doors in 1994, and has since displayed millions of gigabytes of art to the Internet public. La Renaissance tackles the era and its artists country-by-country: Italy, The Netherlands, Germany and France. Each country and artist is briefly annotated by volunteer contributors, but the primary reason to visit is to view the artwork. Click on any of the thumbnails for a larger view.