A great site for students (grades 4-9) by the Boston Museum of Science, Exploring Leonardo is organized into three major learning areas named for the Renaissance man’s diverse talents — Da Vinci the Artist, Da Vinci the Scientist, and Da Vinci the Inventor. The site offers seven activites for students to explore inventions, linear perspective, gadget anatomy, the Golden Ratio, and more.
Internet Modern History Sourcebook
The Internet History Sourcebooks are wonderful collections of public domain and copy-permitted historical texts for educational use by Paul Halsall. The site and its documents are well organized and the breadth of materials is impressive. The Sourcebooks include: an Ancient History Sourcebook, a Medieval Sourcebook, and a Modern History Sourcebook. The Internet Modern History Sourcebook contains thousands of sources in dozens of categories. Subjects covered include the Late Middle Ages, the Italian Renaissance, and the Early Reformation, as well as dozens of other topics.
This informative Annenberg/CPB site introduces the visitor to the intellectual, political, technological, and economic forces that drove cultural rebirth in Europe, and in Italy in particular. There are five sections: Out of the Middle Ages, Exploration and Trade, Printing and Thinking, Symmetry, Shape, Size, and Focus on Florence. Out of the Middle Ages covers the plague, a new middle class, and the resurgence of cities. Exploration and Trade discusses the beginning of trade in the period and the impact of explorers. Printing and Thinking focuses on the demand for books, the emergence of humanism, and how thinking changed in the Renaissance. Symmetry, Shape, Size covers proportions in architecture, as well as painting and music. This interactive site also has a role-playing trade game and a learning module. Related Resources include web links and book recommendations.
Renaissance Secrets is an interactive BBC Web site that explores select events of the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance and discusses the process and art of writing history. The four main topics covered at the site include Venice as a “second- hand” city, Renaissance hospitals, an assassination attempt on Elizabeth I, and Gutenberg’s movable type printing. Visitors examine essays about historical evidence and knowledge and learn more about the historian’s craft. An excellent site for students to learn how to “do” history.
Center for Reformation and Renaissance Studies
Hosted by the University of Toronto, the CRRC is a research center with a library devoted to the study of the period from approximately 1350 to 1700. Its web site contains links to sites useful for researchers working in the Renaissance and the Reformation and more. It offers FICINO, an international electronic seminar and bulletin board for the circulation and exchange of information about the Renaissance and Reformation. There are also exhibitions from its Rare Book collections, such as Music in Medieval and Early Modern Europe and Textual Conversations — interactions between Renaissance authors, printers, readers and texts. There are even two fully-search able databases containing information from approximately 170 prompt-books for productions of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet.
Turning the Pages
Turning the Pages is an award-winning interactive display system developed by The British Library to increase public access and enjoyment of some of its most valuable treasures. Visitors are able to virtually “turn” the pages of manuscripts in an incredibly realistic way, using touch-screen technology and animation. There are currently 15 treasures on display in Turning the Pages, including the Leonardo Notebook. Most of the pages in the Notebook were written by Leonardo in 1509, but cover much of his career and range in topics from mechanics to the flight of birds.
Mr Dowling’s Electronic Passport: Renaissance
Mr. Dowling’s Electronic Passport helps kids browse the world in his virtual classroom. He introduces students to many civilizations with clear explanations, engaging graphics for kids, and “cool links”. His study guides, homework assignments and exams are free and available for you to print or to edit. Renaissance topics are: The Dawn of a New Age, Humanism, Gutenberg, City-States in Italy, The Medicis, Social Levels, Renaissance Art, The Renaissance Spreads, Machiavelli, Exploration and Magellan.
The Digital Michelangelo Project
Researchers from Stanford University and the University of Washington are attempting to advance the technology of 3D scanning and place this technology in the service of the humanities by creating a long-term digital archive of some important cultural artifacts. The project focuses on some of Michelangelo’s sculptures, including the famous David statue. Check out two photographic essays about a physical replica of the David, and download ScanView, a program that lets you “fly around” models of Michelangelo’s statues.
Art History Resources on the Web
Professor Chris Witcombe of Sweet Briar College has perhaps the best organized collection of art history links on the Web. His Renaissance links are divided into two sections, 15th-Century Renaissance Art and 16th-Century Renaissance Art. Topics includes: Examples of Renaissance art, Special Topics (via the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Timeline of Art History), and Artists in 14th, 15th, and 16th Century Northern Europe, Spain and Italy (via the Web Gallery of Art). A good starting point for research.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art presents Timeline of Art History
This interactive timeline is a chronological, geographical, and thematic exploration of the history of art from around the world, as illustrated by the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection. Each timeline page includes representative art from the Museum’s collection, a chart of time periods, a map of the region, an overview, and a list of key events. The timelines, accompanied by world, regional, and sub-regional maps, provide a linear outline of art history, and allow visitors to compare and contrast art from around the globe at any time in history. Europe 1400-1600 includes coverage of Renaissance Florence and central Italy, Renaissance Venice and northern Italy, Rome and southern Italy, and the Low Countries. First launched in 2000, the Timeline now extends from prehistory (20,000 B.C.) to the present day.
Web Gallery of Art
The Web Gallery of Art is a virtual museum and search able database of European painting and sculpture of the Gothic, Renaissance, and Baroque periods (1150-1800), currently containing over 15,400 reproductions. Biographies, commentaries, and guided tours are available. Furthermore, a search engine allows you to find pictures in the collection using various search criteria. The guided tours make it easier to visit the Gallery and to understand the artistic and historical relationship between the artworks and artists included in the collection.
Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance
This PBS site shows how the Renaissance unfolded through key dates of the Medici family, the Church, politics and culture. There is an overview of the Renaissance, profiles of the Medici leaders, a chart of the Medici family tree, an interactive timeline, an interactive tour of Florence, a quiz to see which Renaissance figure you most resemble, a reading list, and links. You can also see great art from the Renaissance. Engaging and useful site for high school students in particular.
The Medici Archive Project
Under the guidance of The Medici family, Grand Dukes & Duchesses of Tuscany from 1537 to 1743, Florence became an international home to painters, sculptors, architects, musicians, scientists and writers. The Medici Archive Project aims to provide worldwide public access to the historical data in the Medici Granducal Archive by way of a fully search able on-line database. The Project hopes to place many of its almost three million letters online. The creators have already begun placing select holdings online, some supported by an essay explaining the importance of the document. A valuable site for researchers.
Luminarium: 16th century Renaissance English Literature
Luminarium contains search able texts and supplemental materials for Medieval, Renaissance, and seventeenth-century British literature. The Norton Anthology of English Literature, Sixth Edition, has been the main authority consulted for accuracy of dates and details. There is a list of authors and for each author there is a set of links (mostly external) that lead to biographical information, secondary sources, texts, and more. A guestbook, a powerful search engine, and a book store are but the newest additions to assist the visitors to the site. A valuable resource to anyone interested in Renaissance literature.
Treasures in Full: Gutenberg Bible
At this British Library site you can learn about Gutenberg, how he produced the Bible, and the texts he printed. The Texts section allows you to view the digital versions of two slightly different copies for comparison. Other resources include a timeline, a links section, a glossary, and further reading in References.
Treasures of the World: Mona Lisa
Part of the PBS Treasures of the World Series, Mona Lisa is cast as a masterwork of art in an engaging story of crime and discovery. The section revolves around the Mona Lisa’s disappearance in 1911, but its true focus lies in Leonardo’s technique and the myth of Mona Lisa. Visitors, particularly students, should gain a greater appreciation of the Da Vinci masterpiece.
The biographical site offers a wealth of information on the famous Renaissance artist and sculptor. Features include an annotated gallery of over a dozen of Michelangelo’s most famous works, a trivia section, notable quotes, and a timeline of his life and work. Its concise and useful descriptions of Michelangelo’s life and work are delivered at a high school level.
Creating French Culture: Path to Royal Absolutism
Creating French Culture: Treasures from the Bibliotheque Nationale de France (via the Library of Congress) traces the political and cultural history of France from Charlemagne to Charles de Gaulle through more than 200 “treasures” from the Bibliothèque nationale de France. The choice of items “was dictated as much by their historical importance as by their artistic value in the hope that they will provide insight into, and spark curiosity about, the complex history of the United States’ oldest ally.” The Path to Royal Absolutism: The Renaissance and Early 17th Century, scans the political and cultural history of France from 1498 to 1661, from Louis XII’s accession to the throne to Louis XIV’s assumption of power.
The Cervantes Project
The Cervantes Project is headed by Professor Eduardo Urbina at Texas A&M University and aims to present the work of Cervantes in online editions. Along with a biography of Cervantes, the Cervantes Digital Library enables visitors to read full-text search able versions of his works and there are both Spanish and English language versions of Don Quixote. The Don Quixote dictionary will help visitors reading the work in English with the classical Spanish terms.
Artists by Movement: The High Renaissance
This site provides an overview of famous Renaissance artists, most from the Italian Renaissance. See a list of famous works, and the museums in which they appear, and then study the images.