Difference between Northern Renaissance and Southern Renaissance

Difference between Northern Renaissance and Southern Renaissance

Every continent or nation has a past or history that defines it. The nation’s history is what makes it renowned, outstanding, and unique in its own way. However, there reaches a time where every nation’s history in regards to its development rate and prosperity becomes escalated due to the put in place by the citizens. Owing to this, the European continent also had its independent era where the continent’s amelioration was globally witnessed.

The common term used for such an era is “Renaissance”. The Renaissance that belongs to the northern parts of the continent of Europe is referred to as the “Northern Renaissance.” In contrast, the one belonging to the southern part of the European continent is known as the “Southern Renaissance”.

Northern Renaissance Vs. Southern Renaissance

The difference between Northern Renaissance and the Southern Renaissance lies in the fact that Northern Renaissance is dated back to the 16th century. The Southern Renaissance, on the other hand, commenced in the 14th century. The European nations such as the Netherlands, Germany, England, and France are part of the Northern Renaissance. The Southern Renaissance, on the other hand, featured countries such as Italy.

The Northern Renaissance started in the 16th century. This 300-year golden age ameliorated the northern parts of the continent in different fields such as literature, politics, art, science, and architecture. Countries such as France, Germany, and Belgium were part of this Northern Renaissance. However, the Northern Renaissance mostly focused on Christianity development and churches.

The Southern Renaissance, also known as the Italian Renaissance, began in the 14th century. Cities and states such as Milan, Florence, Naples, Venice, and the Papal States in Italy were part of the Southern Renaissance. The Southern Renaissance was majorly controlled by the patronage Medici Family. They were the Florence city rulers for over 60 years. The Medici Family was considered a wealthy family within this time. They were prepared to sponsor the blooming artists within Italy.

What is the Northern Renaissance?

The Northern Renaissance marked the golden age to the history of Europe. It all began within the 16th century in different countries like France, Belgium, England, Germany, and the Netherlands. The Northern Renaissance referred to an era where people were mostly focused on the expansion and advancement of Christianity and churches. It also focused on the expansion of fields such as science, art, and architecture.

The adaptation of the Italian Renaissance and the art forms were made by artists who belonged to countries that took part in the Northern Renaissance. The Northern Renaissance theories and ideas put in place were very exceptional and aimed at transforming the people’s mindset as far as arts was concerned. This led to the modificati0on of the people’s perspective towards arts and other fields.

The Northern Renaissance also aimed at transforming Christianity and the development of churches within different countries that were part of this Northern Renaissance. Perfectly known for oil paintings, wood carvings, altarpieces, and portrait painting, the Northern Renaissance was actually the most crucial period in the history of Europe. It also extended its influence to countries such as Spain, Poland, Scotland, and Portugal, among others.

The Northern Renaissance was applauded because of an artist known as Jan van Eyck together with Robert Campin and also Rogier van der Weyden. These artists are considered the minds behind the Northern Renaissance. Famous writers like William Shakespeare was also played an important role in the renaissance.

The different terms used for the different artwork produced in Northern Renaissance included illusionism, triptych, tempera, and polyptych, among others. The main ideology of the Renaissance also reached the Northern part of Europe owing to the increasing number of developing cities and sovereigns.

What is the Southern Renaissance?

The Southern Renaissance was commonly referred to as the Italian Renaissance. It is considered one of the most exemplary periods in the European continent. It all started within the 14th century in Florence city under the supervision of patronage of Lorenzo de Medici, a member of the Medici family. This family was responsible for ruling Florence for almost 60 years.

Even though Florence was a city that was considered as the home of the Renaissance, there were different cities and also states that were also included in Southern Renaissance-like Tuscany, Venice, MILAN, Rome, Siena, Bologna, Lucca, Pavia, Pienza, Cremona, Urbina, Pisa, Genoa, and Sabbioneta among others.

The Southern Renaissance aim was to recover and handle the damage caused to the country during the period of shattering disasters witnessed in the 14th century. It also aimed to provide more focus to the human possessed abilities which could mold the society to become a better place. Unlike Northern Renaissance, the Southern Renaissance focused less on Christianity development but mostly focused on the novelty of arts and other fields like architecture, science, politics, and literature, among others.

Just like Northern Renaissance, lots of important people had a hand in the success of the Southern Renaissance. This included Lorenzo de Medici, Leonardo de Vinci, Michelangelo, Nicolaus Copernicus, Rapheal, Francesco Petrarca, Michel de Montaigne, Galileo Galilei and Niccolo Machiavelli.

The Italian Renaissance provided a true and independent meaning and definition of humanity. It featured different artistic endeavors that placed the world in general into awe. The mannerism seen while creating artwork lacked perspective and also proportion before the rise of the Italian Renaissance. The wealthy in the past would get entertainment through hunting, but the Italian Renaissance changed this.

This golden era in Europe marked the end of the middle ages in history. The best thing that was highlighted by the Southern Renaissance was that it brought forth enlightenment in the way people used to see life. In the past, people’s perspective of life lacked creativity, but with the Southern Renaissance, it became more harmonic and peaceful due to artistic, technological, and scientific creations.

Difference between Northern Renaissance and Southern Renaissance

  • The Southern Renaissance started before Northern Renaissance. The Northern Renaissance also had more influence on the Italian Renaissance.
  • The Southern Renaissance only featured one country that is Italy, while the Northern Renaissance involved different countries, including Belgium, France, England, and Germany.
  • The Northern Renaissance placed more emphasis on the advancement of Christianity, while the Southern Renaissance emphasized social development.
  • The Southern Renaissance pushed for the focus of fields like philosophy and music, while the Northern Renaissance promoted artistic forms such as oil painting and sculpture, among others.
  • The artwork made during Northern Renaissance was considered to be mostly chorographical. The Southern Renaissance on the same featured artworks based on Greek and Roman ideologies.


The Renaissance is the golden era of the European continent. Both parts of this continent went through tremendous growth and also expansion within different fields like culture, science, art, literature, religion, philosophy, and music, among others.

The evolutions, creations, and theories created during both the Northern and Southern Renaissance were considered exceptional and inspired the whole world.

Regardless of the beauty that Europe’s continent holds, the renaissance era played an important role. It managed to bring back the richness and dignity of this continent.

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