Middle Ages and Renaissance Art Analysis
Accompanying documents/images
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In this lesson, students will use their understanding of the characteristics of art and thinking of the Middle Ages and Renaissance to analyze examples of architecture, paintings, sculpture, and literature from these two periods.


Students should refer to their class notes and relevant textbook pages to refresh their understanding of the similarities and differences in the art and literature of the two periods.

A complete set of class notes will contain key details about subject matter, technique, purpose, outlook, emphasis, patronage, Christianity, humanism, Greek and Roman style and thought, and so on.

The documents/images to be analyzed are a collection of Middle Ages and Renaissance art and literature.


Upon active participation and completion of the study, analysis, and writing involved in this lesson:

•Students will identify the changes that came about during the Renaissance in Western Europe.

•They will also see that the Middle Ages were not a time of stagnation.

•Most importantly, students will discover how humanism and the new directions in art lead to and accompany other changes that we will encounter as we go on to investigate the Protestant Reformation, the scientific revolution, and the Enlightenment.

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Doing the lesson:

Successful completion of this lesson requires a thorough study and analysis of 10 of the documents/images (images and quotes).

Each of the documents/images is accompanied by its author and title. For some there will also be explanatory text.

You will examine each of your documents and determine if it is a better example of Middle Ages art and thought or Renaissance art and thought.

Your choice of Middle Ages or Renaissance must be based on the characteristics that you have learned about these two periods. You will write about each characteristic that you identify in each of your chosen 10 pieces (documents/images), explaining how it helps to identify the piece as Middle Ages or Renaissance art OR BOTH.

Remember, artists all over Europe did not just wake up one day and say, "wow, it looks like we are in a renaissance," with all art and literature undergoing an instantaneous transformation on that day. (In fact, the name we call this period by, "Renaissance," was not even given as a lable fo the time period until 1867.) Instead, change occurred over time. Some Middle Ages art contained ideas and techniques that would be further developed in the Renaissance. Some Renaissance art included subjects and ideas that were prevalent during the Middle Ages.

Therefore, as you analyze the documents, remember that some works of art may contain characteristics of both periods. When you encounter this, write about it.


For each of the 10 documents (images and quotes) that you choose, complete all of the steps listed on the accompanying worksheet page. You will fill out 10 of these pages. [If you are completing this assignment during class time, get worksheet pages from your teacher.]

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Middle Ages and Renaissance Art Analysis Worksheet

Students _______________________ _______________________ Period _____ Date ___________
Document # ____ Document Title ________________________________________________________
Document Author/Artist __________________________

Basic I.D.

Middle Ages

(circle one)

Detailed Identification:

I. Relevant Details: List the three most important details in this work of art that you think serve as evidence that will support a logical opinion about the time period the work should be identified with--Middle Ages or Renaissance.





II. Your Opinions: Write your conclusions about the identification of this work as an example of Middle Ages or Renaissance art. Explain how the details listed above support your opinions.








Page # ________

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