16th century  

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The Winter (1563) by Giuseppe Arcimboldo
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The Winter (1563) by Giuseppe Arcimboldo

"How many more tricks will the rogues play on these innocent people!"--Lazarillo de Tormes (1554)


Related: Protestantism, Renaissance

Visual arts: Mannerism, Northern Renaissance, Hans Baldung, Matthias Grünewald, Brueghel, Quentin Matsys, Lucas Cranach the Elder, Albrecht Dürer

Criminals: Elizabeth Báthory

Literature: Index Librorum Prohibitorum, Utopia, The Prince, The Book of the Courtier, I Modi, picaresque novels

Writers: François Rabelais, Thomas More, Niccolò Machiavelli, Baldassare Castiglione, Pietro Aretino, Michel de Montaigne

More: 16th century art


"The present volume is an attempt to lessen the obscurity of that tract of international literature in which Barclay's Ship of Fools, Marlowe's Faustus, and Decker's Gul's Horn-booke are luminous but isolated points. To these isolated points I have endeavoured to supply in some degree both the intervening detail and the continuous background ; in other words, to give a connected and intelligible account of the phases of German literary influence upon England in the sixteenth century. I venture to emphasise the epithet in the last clause. It is exclusively a literary influence with which I propose to deal. With the transmission of doctrines or ideas, I am concerned only so far as they coloured or inspired literature imaginative or poetic in form. Protestantism, the most colossal of all witnesses to 'German influence,' is of interest here only as it took shape in hymns, dialogues and dramas. Luther is, for us, solely the author of Eine feste Burg, Melanchthon, the deviser of the legend of Eve and her unlike children, immortalised in drama by Birck and Sachs." --Studies in the Literary Relations of England and Germany (1886) by Charles Herford

Fool's Cap World Map (c. 1590s) by anonymous
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Fool's Cap World Map (c. 1590s) by anonymous
Born two years before Leonardo da Vinci, Hieronymus Bosch's work is radically different from his better known contemporary, the first exemplifies Italian Renaissance, the second Northern Renaissance.
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Born two years before Leonardo da Vinci, Hieronymus Bosch's work is radically different from his better known contemporary, the first exemplifies Italian Renaissance, the second Northern Renaissance.
Born two years after Hieronymus Bosch, Leonardo da Vinci's work is far less transgressive than his lesser known contemporary, the first exemplifies Northern Renaissance, the second Italian Renaissance.
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Born two years after Hieronymus Bosch, Leonardo da Vinci's work is far less transgressive than his lesser known contemporary, the first exemplifies Northern Renaissance, the second Italian Renaissance.
The Image Breakers, c.1566 –1568 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder  The etching is also known as Allegory of Iconoclasm. Although not particularly sympathetic to the Calvinist image breakers, it is mainly critical of the Church. Thus the etching might have been the main reason why Gheeraerts had to flee to England in 1568. (British Museum, Dept. of Print and Drawings, 1933.1.1..3)
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The Image Breakers, c.1566 –1568 by Marcus Gheeraerts the Elder  The etching is also known as Allegory of Iconoclasm. Although not particularly sympathetic to the Calvinist image breakers, it is mainly critical of the Church. Thus the etching might have been the main reason why Gheeraerts had to flee to England in 1568. (British Museum, Dept. of Print and Drawings, 1933.1.1..3)
Iconologia  (1593) by Cesare Ripa was an emblem book highly influential on Baroque imagery
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Iconologia (1593) by Cesare Ripa was an emblem book highly influential on Baroque imagery

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The 16th century (or XVIth century) is regarded by historians as the century in which the rise of Western civilization and the Age of the Islamic Gunpowders occurred. The Renaissance in Italy and Europe saw the emergence of important artists, authors and scientists, and led to the foundation of important subjects which include accounting and political science. Copernicus proposed the heliocentric universe, which was met with strong resistance, and Tycho Brahe refuted the theory of celestial spheres through observational measurement of the 1572 appearance of a Milky Way supernova. These events directly challenged the long-held notion of an immutable universe supported by Ptolemy and Aristotle, and led to major revolutions in astronomy and science. Galileo Galilei became a champion of the new sciences, invented the first thermometer and made substantial contributions in the fields of physics and astronomy, becoming a major figure in the Scientific Revolution.

Spain and Portugal colonized large parts of Central and South America, followed by France and England in northern America and the lesser Antilles. The Portuguese became the masters of trade between Brazil, the coasts of Africa, their possessions in the Indies and the Moluccas in Oceania, whereas the Spanish came to dominate the greater Antilles, Mexico, Peru, and opened trade across the Pacific Ocean, linking the Americas with the Indies. English and French corsaires began to practice persistent theft of Spanish and Portuguese treasures. This era of colonialism established mercantilism as the leading school of economic thought, where the economic system was viewed as a zero-sum game in which any gain by one party required a loss by another. The mercantilist doctrine encouraged the many intra-European wars of the period and arguably fueled European expansion and imperialism throughout the world until the 19th century or early 20th century.

The Protestant Reformation in central and northern Europe gave a major blow to the authority of the papacy and the Catholic Church. In England, the British-Italian Alberico Gentili wrote the first book on public international law and divided secularism from canon law and Catholic theology. European politics became dominated by religious conflicts, with the groundwork for the epochal Thirty Years' War being laid towards the end of the century.

In the Middle East, the Ottoman Empire continued to expand, with the Sultan taking the title of Caliph, while dealing with a resurgent Persia. Iran and Iraq were caught by a major popularity of the Shiite sect of Islam under the rule of the Safavid dynasty of warrior-mystics, providing grounds for a Persia independent of the majority-Sunni Muslim world.

Contents

General culture

Literature

Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais, illustrated by Gustave Doré
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Gargantua and Pantagruel by François Rabelais, illustrated by Gustave Doré

Literature in the 16th century was still the province of a happy few, the movable type printing press was only a recent invention. Important books include Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais, In Praise of Folly by Erasmus, the anonymously published Lazarillo de Tormes and Heptameron by the Marguerite de Navarre.

Medieval romances were reduced to cheap and abrupt plots resembling modern comic books. Neither were the first collections of novels necessarily prestigious projects. They appeared with an enormous variety from folk tales over jests to stories told by Boccaccio and Chaucer, now venerable authors.

A more prestigious market of romances developed in the 16th century, with multi-volume works aiming at an audience which would subscribe to this production. The criticism levelled against romances by Chaucer's pilgrims grew in response both to the trivialisations and to the extended multi-volume "romances". Romances like the Amadis de Gaula led their readers into dream worlds of knighthood and fed them with ideals of a past no one could revitalise, or so the critics complained.

Italian authors like Machiavelli were among those who brought the novel into a new format: while it remained a story of intrigue, ending in a surprising point, the observations were now much finer: how did the protagonists manage their intrigue? How did they keep their secrets, what did they do when others threatened to discover them?

Curiosities included Book of Kisses, Portrait of Lozana: The Lusty Andalusian Woman and The Book of the Prick.


List of writers

List of titles

See also

Visual art

artists of the Tudor court, Renaissance painting, Italian Renaissance painting, High Renaissance, Mannerism

In European art, Renaissance Classicism spawned Mannerism, a reaction against the idealist perfection of Classicism, employed distortion of light and spatial frameworks in order to emphasize the emotional content of a painting and the emotions of the painter. The work of El Greco is a particularly clear example of Mannerism in painting during the late 16th, early 17th centuries. Northern Mannerism took longer to develop, and was largely a movement of the last half of the 16th century.

List of artists

List of works

Significant people

Exploration

Musicians and composers

16th century music

Science and philosophy

16th century philosophy

See also




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "16th century" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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