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The Great Plague of London
What was it?

Renaissance motifs -  Nash Ford Publishing


  • The Renaissance was a 'movement' in society: a series of ideas that effected art, music, literature, science, the way people thought about the World and the way they treated each other.
  • Reniassance is a French word meaning 'Re-Birth'. It refers to the re-discovery of the 'classical' ideas of the ancient Greeks and Romans.
  • The Renaissance started in Italy in the 14th century. It slowly spread across Europe. Renaissance ideas became popular in England & Scotland from about 1520. They lasted about a hundred years.
  • The most obvious things that reflected these new ideas were produced in art (paintings), crafts (such as jewelry making), sculpture (statues & carvings) and architecture (building design). They all included more realistic depictions of creatures and objects and the use of perspective (the way things look small in the distance and big close up).
  • London once had many fine Renaissance style buildings, like Old Somerset House.
  • You can recognise Renaissance art & architecture by some of the common motifs that were used:
    • Columns
    • Caryatids (columns shaped like people)
    • Naked people
    • Cherubs (winged babies)
    • Masks
    • Urns (large two-handled vases)
    • Panelling
    • Scrolls (often of plants)
    • Garlands of fruit & flowers
    • Armour
    • Ox skulls
    • Mythical creatures
  • Renaissance ideas also led to an increase in fine poetry and plays for the theatre, like those by William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. There was also an increasing interest in philosophy (thinking about things like existence, knowledge, values & reasoning) from people like Thomas More and Francis Bacon.


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