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History >> Renaissance for Kids

There were many people who had influence and became famous during the Renaissance times. Here are some of the most famous:

Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519) - Leonardo is generally considered the perfect example of the Renaissance Man. He was an expert at many different things including painting, sculpture, science, architecture, and anatomy. He not only was one of the most celebrated artists of all time with paintings such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but was also one of the most prolific inventors in history.

King Henry VIII (1491-1547) - King Henry the VIII could have been considered the prototypical "Renaissance Man" at his prime. He was tall, good looking, and confident. He was educated and intelligent and could speak four languages. He was also athletic, a good horseman, a musician, composer, and a strong fighter. Henry the VIII is also known for having six different wives and for separating the Church of England from the Roman Catholic Church.

Martin Luther (1483 - 1546) - Luther was a German theologian and priest. He objected to many of the practices of the Catholic Church such as paying to get into heaven and the authority of the Pope. He thought the Bible should be the final authority and that it should be available to everyone. Luther's ideas caused the Reformation and a new type of Christianity called Protestantism.

Portrait of Martin Luther
Martin Luther by Lucas Cranach

Catherine de Medici (1519 - 1589) - Catherine was a member of the famed Medici family of Florence. As an 11 year old girl she was taken captive and held to try and stop her family from attacking. She convinced her captors that she wanted to become a nun and, as result, they didn't hurt her. A few years later she married the son of the King of France, Henry. Henry became king of France and Catherine a powerful queen. After Henry's death, her sons became kings of France and Poland and her daughter queen of Navarre.

Erasmus (1466 - 1536) - Erasmus was a Dutch priest and scholar. He was considered the greatest humanist of the north and helped to spread humanism and the Renaissance movement to northern Europe. He is also famous for his book Praise of Folly.

Portrait of Erasmus
Erasmus by Hans Holbein the Younger

Paracelsus (1493 - 1541) - Paracelsus was a Swiss scientist and botanist who helped to make many advances in medicine. He studied current practices in medicine and found that most doctors actually made patient's conditions worse rather than healing them. His studies showed that certain chemicals and drugs could help patients to heal and get better. He also found that the environment and diet of person contributed to their health.

Christopher Columbus (1451 - 1506) - Columbus was a Spanish explorer who went to the Americas when trying to find the East Indies or Asia. His discovery began an era of exploration and expansion of European powers throughout the Americas and the world.

Other famous people from the Renaissance include:

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  • 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

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