We have been continuing our study of the Renaissance period. Our last post shared some of the things we did when we covered the early Renaissance period. The past week or so we talked about three of the famous artists of the Renaissance: da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael.
In the last post I mentioned that we watched Empires – The Medici: Godfathers of the Renaissance (affiliate link). This 4-part series was fabulous. It really helped us understand the important connection between the patrons who funded the blossoming art community in Florence, Rome and Milan.
In the past week, we talked a lot about Lorenzo de’ Medici who commissioned work from Botticelli and Michelangelo. Lorenzo even had Michelangelo live in his household!
We also learned a lot about Pope Julius II who (among other things) commissioned the destruction and rebuilding of St. Peter’s Basilica. He was the patron of both Michelangelo and Raphael. We watched BBC documentaries about these three artists as well that really brought them and their art to life for us.
And we also learned about da Vinci’s patron, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan. Leonardo da Vinci got his commission from Sforza after writing a letter about all the diverse things that he could achieve in the field of engineering: collapsible bridges, machines for draining trenches, siege equipment… as an after-thought he mentioned he was a painter and architect too!
We read several books about these artists as well. We read several, but especially liked Leonardo Da Vinci (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) and Michelangelo (Getting to Know the World’s Greatest Artists) (affiliate links). These were perfect for ED and DD, ages 8 and 10 (though not as in depth as I would have chosen for LD, age 12/middle school… though it was useful as an overview). I love that the pictures/paintings in these books are color. The kids thought the cartoons were fun.
By the time we had finished our sections in history book (we’re using The Story of the Renaissance (affiliate link) as our spine for this unit), watched the documentaries, and read books on the artists, the kids really had a good understanding of the Renaissance. I made this review worksheet set that we went over and the kids added to their history notebook. I tried to really give them an understanding of the timeline of the patrons and artists with the first sheet you see on the left. You can download them below if you are interested.
Then we went on to some really fun activities!!! I had purchased the Sistine Chapel Coloring Book (affiliate link) and made photocopies on thick drawing paper. I snuck downstairs where the ceiling is really low in the basement and set up our very own Sistine Chapel for the kids! They laughed SO hard when they saw the ceiling. Then, they quickly got to work! This activity was a huge hit! They *LOVED* it!! A famous movie (the Agony and the Ecstasy) depicts Michelangelo lying on his back to do his paintings, but scholars today believe he was standing (after analyzing the brush strokes, etc.)
This was the coloring book we used for that: Sistine Chapel Coloring Book (affiliate link)
We also reviewed the artists and their patrons and the kids put together these lapbook pieces for their history notebooks:
Our Renaissance Packet is currently free to download! Just click on the link below. Don’t forget, we also have a packet on the early Renaissance as well. Be sure to visit that post to get that separate pdf as well.
Finally, we did an fabulous trip into Washington D.C. to the National Gallery of Art to see some of the art from the medieval and Renaissance period. We started with the medieval rooms. The kids pointed out how stiff some of the people were. We spent a lot of time looking at the hands… noticing the lack of perspective, the strange sizing, etc. etc.
We talked about how portraits changed from the sitter being in profile (left below)… to being in three-quarter poses (right below). This is a more complete view of the face and allows the artist to show more of the personality.
We got to see one of the first women painted in this new pose… 16 year old Ginevra de’ Benci (center below). She is also the first one to be painted in an outdoor setting… done by… Leonardo da Vinci!!!
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase.
You might be interested in our other Renaissance Post:
And you might want to visit the posts from our Middle Ages Unit (Some of these posts also include some free notebook pages):
- Vikings, Norse Myths and a Woodburning Craft
- Middle Ages: King Arthur, Charlemagne
- Middle Ages Unit: The Medieval Church and Monasteries Worksheets
- Feudalism in the Middle Ages Notebook Pages and Simulation
- Middle Ages Projects and Books
- Middle Ages – Notebook Pages on England and France (800-1200)
- The Crusades
- Middle Ages in the 1300s: Black Plague Simulation, Hundred Years’ War, Crusades
- Genghis Khan and Kublai Khan Free Notebook Pages
- Marco Polo – Notebook Pages, Books and Resources