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Glossary and Terms

History >> Renaissance for Kids

Altarpiece - A work of art that was placed behind the altar in a church or cathedral.

Age of Exploration - A period of time when many European countries sent out explorers such as Christopher Columbus to map and discover the world.

Apprentice - A young boy who learns a craft or skill from an experienced master.

Ballet - A type of dance with flowing steps and poses developed during the Renaissance.

Caravel - A sailing ship invented by the Portuguese during the Renaissance. It was highly maneuverable and helped to improve trade, exploration, and travel.

City-state - A small independent state ruled by a powerful city. This was the common form of government in Italy during the Renaissance.

Classical art - Painting and sculpture from Ancient Rome and Greece. It was studied by the artists of the Renaissance.

Commission - An order to produce a piece of artwork where the artist would get paid for the work by a patron.

Doublet - A snug-fitting buttoned jacket worn by men during the Renaissance.

Early Renaissance - A period from 1400 to 1479 where artists tried to emulate the classical artists of Ancient Rome and Greece.

Elizabethan Era - A period of time in England during the rule of Queen Elizabeth. It was a time of peace, prosperity, and the English Renaissance.

Fresco - A technique used to paint walls using wet plaster. When the plaster dried, the paint would be absorbed into the plaster.

Guild - An association of craftsmen or merchants. They controlled the quality of the work and provided training to new craftsmen.

High Renaissance - A period from 1475 to 1525 where art became more realistic with a focus on perspective and space.

Harpsichord - A musical instrument that is played with a keyboard. When the keys are played, sound is made by plucking a string.

Humanism - A philosophy of the Renaissance that valued human thoughts and ideas. It pushed the study of classical writings and art.

Landscape - A painting that shows natural scenery such as mountains, the ocean, and forests.

Lute - A small stringed instrument with a round back that is plucked or strummed like a guitar.

Madrigal - A type of vocal music popular during the Renaissance. The madrigal typically had three to six voices singing different melodies that intertwined together.

Mannerism - A style of art that became popular in the late Renaissance where the figures were distorted and strange colors were used.

Patron - A person, family, or group that supports an artist, paying them for their work.

Perspective - Painting or drawing such that the picture has three dimensions and creating the illusion that some objects are closer than others.

Playwright - A person that writes a play.

Pope - Leader of the Catholic Church and head of the city-state of Rome.

Portrait - A painting or sculpture of a person.

Realism - A style of art that involved techniques to make the art appear as realistic as possible.

Reformation - A split in the Christian church where some people called Protestants left the Catholic Church to begin their own church.

Renaissance man - A man of many talents, interests, and abilities.

Triptych - A piece of art painted on three panels that folded together.

Learn more about the Renaissance:

How did the Renaissance start?
Medici Family
Italian City-states
Age of Exploration
Elizabethan Era
Ottoman Empire
Northern Renaissance
Daily Life
Renaissance Art
Clothing and Fashion
Music and Dance
Science and Inventions
Famous Renaissance People
Christopher Columbus
Johannes Gutenberg
Henry VIII
Queen Elizabeth I
William Shakespeare
Leonardo da Vinci

Works Cited

History >> Renaissance for Kids

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