The Renaissance started in Italy. Italian writers and artists were very critical of the church. Outside of Italy, the church organisation was less
dense, the crisis of the church less visible.
The Northern Renaissance is, at least in it's early stage, much connected with the centers of education - the schools of Cologne, Aachen,
Deventer - and with the Dominican order. The German MYSTICS believed in a possible reform of the church, which simply could be achieved
by restoring the papacy in Rome. The mystics were critically in establishing a new role model, that of the sincere person looking within to find
answers for problems. Craftsmen-inventors, artists (painters) and writers applied this technique.
Soul-searching originally was meant as a means to overcome one's individuality, to seek unity with Christ - as THOMAS A KEMPIS formulated
it, the IMITATIO CHRISTI. Applied in the fields of technology, science and the arts, it lead to new discoveries and in a change of how the world
Many representatives of the Northern Renaissance, for a long time, believed that things could be turned for the better. Only in the 16th century
did writers of the Northern Renaissance write with a level of resignation and sarcasm (MORUS, CERVANTES) Italian writers (DANTE) had
reached centuries earlier.
This page is part of World History at KMLA Last revised on May 30th 2001