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The Renaissance

Time Frame

3 class periods of 45 minutes each

Group Size



Shauna Shepherd


The students will become familiar with Renaissance artists, their work, and their value of their contributions through a series of acivities and notes.


paper, tape, colored pencils or crayons, bubble gum

Background for Teachers

Students must realize that they are no longer in the Middle Ages and have moved into modern times when beauty and thinking were stressed.

Intended Learning Outcomes

The students will be able to recognize art and their respective creators when this unit is completed.

Instructional Procedures

Students tape a piece of paper to the bottom of their desks and, while lying down on their backs, drawing the best picture they can in 10 minutes. They should draw a picture they would see inside a church.

Notes the students will need:

  • The Renaissance happened between 1350-1600 in Europe.
  • The word means 'rebirth.'
  • The middle class was responsible for starting the Renaissance and for keeping it alive.
  • The middle class provided money for artists to learn their trade and used their money to purchase their art.

Medici family - ruled Florence, Italy (where the Renaissance began). They encouraged people to get involved in the education and the arts.

These are the artists and their works with whom the students should be familiar. Examples of the works should be obtained from other sources (books, internet, etc.) to show to the students. (Numbers indicate activities or projects listed below).

  • Petrarch - searched for the lost classics of Greece and Rome. Machiavelli-wrote 'The Prince,' which was a handbook for rulers. Rulers were encouraged to be diplomatic and ruthless.
  • Cellini - scupltor and writer from Italy. Wrote 'Autobiography,' describing Renaissance life and times.
  • Cervantes - writer from Spain. Wrote 'Don Quixote.' (1)
  • Durer - painter from Germany. Most know for 'Praying Hands,'
  • Holbein - painter form Germany. Painted royal portraits, most known for those he painted for Henry VIII.
  • Leonardo da Vinci - painter from Italy. Painted 'Mona Lisa', 'Last Supper', and also studied and illustrted how the human body worked.
  • Michelangelo - sculptor and painter from Italy. Painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, while lying on his back for five years (discuss here the difficulties of the students painting for only 10 minutes under their desks). He also sculpted 'David.' (2)
  • Rabelais - French writer who wrote 'Gargantua.'
  • Raphael - painter from Italy, known for painting pictures of the Madonna.
  • Shakespeare - English playwrite. Discuss some of his more famous works, as almost all of the students have read something of his in an English class. (3)
  • Van Eyck - Flemish painter who often painted the Virgin Mary.
  • Donatello - Italian sculptor. Sculpted the first 'David.'

Renaissance inventions. Give students this list of inventions and have them choose one to research. Clocks, painting, eyeglasses, lenses, musket, rudder, wallpaper, flushing toilet, watch, thermometer, adding machine, barometer.


After researching a Renaissance artist, the advanced students may write an interview of the artist detailing his work and his influence on the world. Futhermore, advanced students, could create their own invention and explain how it would have improved life in the Renaissance.

Assessment Plan

A matching quiz on the artists. Essay explaining how the Renaissance changed world history.



Created: 06/13/1997
Updated: 02/03/2018