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The Renaissance Spreads

The rebirth of the Italian cities attracted visitors from all over western Europe. Merchants and bankers hoped to make their fortunes in the Italian city-states. Artists and students sought knowledge and fame. When these travelers returned home, they brought Renaissance ideas with them. In time, the ideas of the Renaissance influenced people far from the Italian peninsula.


William Shakespeare is the best-known writer of the Renaissance. His plays mixed humor with drama, and showed the strengths and weaknesses of people. Audiences flocked to see his presentations of Roman emperors, British kings and queens, and Italian teenagers.

Pieter Bruegel was a Dutch painter who wanted to show people as they really were. Breugal studied Italian art, but he developed his own style. Many of his paintings show peasants working, dancing, and eating.


Download this lesson as Microsoft Word file or as an Adobe Acrobat file.

Mr. Donn has an excellent website that includes a section on the Renaissance.

William Shakespeare

William Shakespeare...perhaps.  Martin Droeshout created the iconic engraving (above) for the first edition of Shakespeare’s published works.  It is unlikely that Droeshout  and Shakespeare ever met, but Droeshout may have worked from an authentic portrait, which hasn’t survived.

This is believed to be a self-poirtrait of Pieter Bruegel the Elder, a Flemish Renaissance painter known for his landscapes and peasant scenes.

To cite this page (MLA):

Dowling, Mike. "The Renaissance Spreads" Updated August 4, 2014 . Web. Date of Access. <>