Renaissance Research Paper Assignment English


People of the Renaissance

By the end of the Middle Ages there began a drastic change in culture and society.In Italy there began a cultural revolution that reflected the humanities that were so appreciated during ancient Greek and Roman civilizations.This “Renaissance”, or rebirth of culture, soon spread throughout Europe by the achievements of many unbelievably talented individuals.It is your assignment to write a research paper on a person of this historical time period:

***You may report on another individual from this time period if you check with Mr. Sundstrom first.

***This is a cross-curricular project for your English and History class.You will be working on this project in both classes and the project will be graded and recorded on both your English and History term three grades.

Directions- Each student will be assigned a person from the Renaissance and required to write a research paper. Each report should include the following things:

The Task: Write a 3-4 page research paper about an assigned Renaissance figure.

Essential Question to Answer:

  • How did the works of this person reflect the ideas of the Renaissance?

Secondary Questions:

  • What were the great achievements of this person?
  • What contributions did your person make to this field?


  • To learn about the culture of the Renaissance and important historical figures.
  • To learn how to describe and analyze important works of art
  • To develop skills for finding and organizing information
  • To practice quoting from and properly citing sources of information


  • Plan: What are the key ideas of the Renaissance? What are the great works of the artist? What information do you need to find? Where are you going to find your information?  Form a plan of action.
  • Research:  Find information on your chosen artist and his work.  Two days will be spent in class using books and computers to gather facts about your person and his achievements.  Take notes on what you read.  You must use at least three electronic and two book sources.  One electronic source must be from a database search.  Print sources should include both reference and nonfiction books.  Enter all of your sources into a works cited page in MLA-8 format.  
  • Organize: Create a thesis statement, or claim, based on your findings. It should answer the Essential Question.   Sort your evidence and organize it chronologically.  For instance, information about your person’s training and early works would come before his later masterpieces.  Create a written outline to organize all of your evidence and facts in paragraphs using proper outline format.  Include at least three citations for specific information or quoted portions.
  • Write: Using your outline as a skeleton, fill in your paper with an introduction, sentences, transitions, and conclusions.    This is your rough draft.   It should be a complete draft- nothing should be missing.  
  • Edit: Proofread and use teacher comments to improve the paper or correct mistakes.  This creates your final draft.
  • Submit: Turn in your paper, along with a cover page and works cited page.  Final paper should be in MLA format.  Attach your rough draft as well for comparison.

Due Date: Wednesday, March 7th, 2018.Any papers received after this date will be considered late and 10 points will be subtracted from grade for each day late.


·Quality and quantity of information.That is, did you fully describe the life and achievements of your assigned person?From your paper, the reader should not be left with any questions.This is the most important part of your paper.

·Writing style.You must use: full sentences; proper grammar, paragraphs, capitalization, and spelling; proper tone and formal style.You must have a strong, well-structured introduction, body paragraphs and conclusion.

·Process and timeliness- all steps must be followed and all deadlines must be met.

Please note the following deadlines.You must turn in all of the pieces of this paper by their set deadline in order to receive full credit.

ØWednesday, January 31st: Topic Assigned

ØWednesday, February 7th: Preliminary Work Cited Page Due

ØFriday, February 9th Research Cards Due

ØThursday, February 15th: Outline Due

ØThursday, March 1st: Rough Draft Due

ØWednesday, March 7th: Final Draft Due


Paper Requirements

1)Cover Page- This should have the student’s name, date, title (Individual you are reporting on), and class color. Do not repeat this information on the subsequent pages!You will be marked down if this information is repeated!

2)12 point Times New Roman font and double spaced.

3)Proper research essay format. ** A handout will be given on the specifics

4)The report must be 3 to 4 pages.

5)Works Cited Page

·Have at least 6 references (You will probably have more).

·You must have at least two books and three electronic resources in your work cited page.Remember that one of your electronic resources must be a database.

·Be sure to use the proper format.Be sure to use Noodle Tools for this aspect of the paper.

Essay Format

I. 1st Paragraph- Introduction

A.The first sentence should try to “hook” the reader.The hook is a statement (not a question) that will grab the attention of the reader and make them interested in what is to come in the paper.Ex. Few artists had the determination, skill, and perseverance to stare at a wet ceiling for years at time and create one of the greatest pieces of art known to mankind (Michelangelo).

B.Thesis statement

C.Transition sentence to background

II2nd Paragraph- Background

A.Topic sentence about subject’s background

B.At least three important facts from their background that influenced and inspired their art.

C.Transition sentence to achievements

III. Body Paragraphs- Achievements (Be specific) -Be sure to describe and detail some of the life achievements of your assigned person.If your person has many achievements, try to focus on several of their better-known pieces art. You should choose a few famous works and thoroughly describe and detail each of them.The achievements segment of the paper should be split into several paragraphs.Each famous piece should be described in a separate paragraph and address the following:

  • Date completed
  • Medium (eg, marble, oil on canvas, etc)
  • Subject description
  • Why it’s important
  • How it reflects Renaissance idea.See back for the six themes of the Renaissance. This should help answer this question.

IV. Contributions Paragraph(s)- How did this person contribute to the Renaissance?How did this individual help change society?What were the long lasting effects of this person lifetime work?Be sure to answer the essential question in this segment of the paper!

Essential Question

How did the works of this person reflect the ideas of the Renaissance?

V. Conclusion

(Restate thesis in a new, innovative way, personal opinion, what was the lasting impact of this individual)


#1: Perspective

Flat artwork appeared three dimensional by using one-point perspective for the first time.Invented by Brunelleschi, perfected by Masaccio, explained by Piero della Francesca, one-point perspective made artwork more realistic.

#2: Geometrical Arrangement

In order to make art more pleasing to the eye, figures and groups of people were clustered into circles and triangles.This helped to balance paintings and makes the eye move around the artwork, creating a fuller appreciation when viewing.

#3: Realism and attention to human anatomy

Renaissance artists didn’t just want to imitate nature.They wanted to master it. Artists studied cadavers and live models in order to perfectly recreate muscles and poses in their artwork.

#4: Light and Shadow, or Soft Edges

Medieval art was almost cartoon-like with black outlines around subjects.That doesn’t happen in nature.In the Renaissance, artists mastered using light and shadows to show the 3D features of their subjects.

#5: Classical Greek and Roman Influence

Greek and Roman styles were very trendy during the Renaissance, which got its name as a rebirth of the classical period.Marble was the medium of choice for building and sculpting, and columns and domes were used in architecture.Myths were a common subject for artists as well.

#6: Humanism

In the Middle Ages, art was designed to be devotional, to make people want to pray.In the Renaissance, Bible scenes are still used, but the focus was on the emotions of the subjects.Caring Mother Mary and cute baby Jesus replaced stiff icons.Artists also used contemporary settings and clothing, or mixed Renaissance characters into Bible stories, in order to connect their world to the Biblical past.Art focused on the people more than the spiritual side of the story.

Humanism replaces the Medieval viewpoint that God 'designs' everything and man is a mere pawn in His design; Humanists believed in rational thought, geometry, logic and reason -- and these philosophies lead to artists becoming the creators, rather than the makers, of art.  

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