Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect of the High Renaissance. His work is admired for its clarity of form, ease of composition, visual achievement of the Neoplatonic ideal of human grandeur. Together with Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci, he forms the traditional trinity of great masters of that period. Raphael was enormously productive, running an unusually large workshop and, despite his death at 37, leaving a large body of work. Many of his works are found in the Vatican Palace, where the frescoed Raphael Rooms were the central, the largest, work of his career; the best known work is The School of Athens in the Vatican Stanza della Segnatura. After his early years in Rome, much of his work was executed by his workshop from his drawings, with considerable loss of quality, he was influential in his lifetime, though outside Rome his work was known from his collaborative printmaking. After his death, the influence of his great rival Michelangelo was more widespread until the 18th and 19th centuries, when Raphael's more serene and harmonious qualities were again regarded as the highest models.
His career falls into three phases and three styles, first described by Giorgio Vasari: his early years in Umbria a period of about four years absorbing the artistic traditions of Florence, followed by his last hectic and triumphant twelve years in Rome, working for two Popes and their close associates. Raphael was born in the small but artistically significant central Italian city of Urbino in the Marche region, where his father Giovanni Santi was court painter to the Duke; the reputation of the court had been established by Federico da Montefeltro, a successful condottiere, created Duke of Urbino by Pope Sixtus IV – Urbino formed part of the Papal States – and who died the year before Raphael was born. The emphasis of Federico's court was rather more literary than artistic, but Giovanni Santi was a poet of sorts as well as a painter, had written a rhymed chronicle of the life of Federico, both wrote the texts and produced the decor for masque-like court entertainments, his poem to Federico shows him as keen to show awareness of the most advanced North Italian painters, Early Netherlandish artists as well.
In the small court of Urbino he was more integrated into the central circle of the ruling family than most court painters. Federico was succeeded by his son Guidobaldo da Montefeltro, who married Elisabetta Gonzaga, daughter of the ruler of Mantua, the most brilliant of the smaller Italian courts for both music and the visual arts. Under them, the court continued as a centre for literary culture. Growing up in the circle of this small court gave Raphael the excellent manners and social skills stressed by Vasari. Court life in Urbino at just after this period was to become set as the model of the virtues of the Italian humanist court through Baldassare Castiglione's depiction of it in his classic work The Book of the Courtier, published in 1528. Castiglione moved to Urbino in 1504, when Raphael was no longer based there but visited, they became good friends, he became close to other regular visitors to the court: Pietro Bibbiena and Pietro Bembo, both cardinals, were becoming well known as writers, would be in Rome during Raphael's period there.
Raphael mixed in the highest circles throughout his life, one of the factors that tended to give a misleading impression of effortlessness to his career. He did not receive a full humanistic education however, his mother Màgia died in 1491 when Raphael was eight, followed on August 1, 1494 by his father, who had remarried. Raphael was thus orphaned at eleven, he continued to live with his stepmother when not staying as an apprentice with a master. He had shown talent, according to Vasari, who says that Raphael had been "a great help to his father". A self-portrait drawing from his teenage years shows his precocity, his father's workshop continued and together with his stepmother, Raphael evidently played a part in managing it from a early age. In Urbino, he came into contact with the works of Paolo Uccello the court painter, Luca Signorelli, who until 1498 was based in nearby Città di Castello. According to Vasari, his father placed him in the workshop of the Umbrian master Pietro Perugino as an apprentice "despite the tears of his mother".
The evidence of an apprenticeship comes only from Vasari and another source, has been disputed—eight was early for an apprenticeship to begin. An alternative theory is that he received at least some training from Timoteo Viti, who acted as court painter in Urbino from 1495. Most modern historians agree that Raphael at least worked as an assistant to Perugino from around 1500. Vasari wrote that it was impossible to distinguish between their hands at this period, but many modern art historians claim to do better and detect his hand in specific areas of works by Perugino or his workshop. Apart from stylistic closeness, their techniques are similar as well, for example having paint applied thickly, using an oil varnish medium, in shadows and darker garments, but thinly on flesh areas. An excess of resin in the varnish causes cracking of areas of paint in the works of both masters; the Perugino workshop w
Printmaking is the process of creating artworks by printing on paper. Printmaking covers only the process of creating prints that have an element of originality, rather than just being a photographic reproduction of a painting. Except in the case of monotyping, the process is capable of producing multiples of the same piece, called a print; each print produced is not considered a "copy" but rather is considered an "original". This is because each print varies to an extent due to variables intrinsic to the printmaking process, because the imagery of a print is not a reproduction of another work but rather is a unique image designed from the start to be expressed in a particular printmaking technique. A print may be known as an impression. Printmaking is not chosen only for its ability to produce multiple impressions, but rather for the unique qualities that each of the printmaking processes lends itself to. Prints are created by transferring ink from a matrix or through a prepared screen to a sheet of paper or other material.
Common types of matrices include: metal plates copper or zinc, or polymer plates for engraving or etching. Screens made of silk or synthetic fabrics are used for the screenprinting process. Other types of matrix substrates and related processes are discussed below. Multiple impressions printed from the same matrix form an edition. Since the late 19th century, artists have signed individual impressions from an edition and number the impressions to form a limited edition. Prints may be printed in book form, such as illustrated books or artist's books. Printmaking techniques are divided into the following basic categories: Relief, where ink is applied to the original surface of the matrix. Relief techniques include woodcut or woodblock as the Asian forms are known, wood engraving and metalcut. Intaglio, where ink is applied beneath the original surface of the matrix. Intaglio techniques include engraving, mezzotint, aquatint. Planographic, where the matrix retains its original surface, but is specially prepared and/or inked to allow for the transfer of the image.
Planographic techniques include lithography and digital techniques. Stencil, where ink or paint is pressed through a prepared screen, including screenprinting and pochoir. Other types of printmaking techniques outside these groups include collagraphy and viscosity printing. Collagraphy is a printmaking technique; this texture is transferred to the paper during the printing process. Contemporary printmaking may include digital printing, photographic mediums, or a combination of digital and traditional processes. Many of these techniques can be combined within the same family. For example, Rembrandt's prints are referred to as "etchings" for convenience, but often include work in engraving and drypoint as well, sometimes have no etching at all. Woodcut, a type of relief print, is the earliest printmaking technique, the only one traditionally used in the Far East, it was first developed as a means of printing patterns on cloth, by the 5th century was used in China for printing text and images on paper.
Woodcuts of images on paper developed around 1400 in Japan, later in Europe. These are the two areas where woodcut has been most extensively used purely as a process for making images without text; the artist draws a design on a plank of wood, or on paper, transferred to the wood. Traditionally the artist handed the work to a specialist cutter, who uses sharp tools to carve away the parts of the block that will not receive ink; the surface of the block is inked with the use of a brayer, a sheet of paper slightly damp, is placed over the block. The block is rubbed with a baren or spoon, or is run through a printing press. If in color, separate blocks can be used for each color, or a technique called reduction printing can be used. Reduction printing is a name used to describe the process of using one block to print several layers of color on one print; this involves cutting a small amount of the block away, printing the block many times over on different sheets before washing the block, cutting more away and printing the next color on top.
This allows the previous color to show through. This process can be repeated many times over; the advantages of this process is that only one block is needed, that different components of an intricate design will line up perfectly. The disadvantage is. Another variation of woodcut printmaking is the cukil technique, made famous by the Taring Padi underground community in Java, Indonesia. Taring Padi Posters resemble intricately printed cartoon posters embedded with political messages. Images—usually resembling a visually complex scenario—are carved unto a wooden surface called cukilan smothered with printer's ink before pressing it unto media such as paper or canvas; the process was developed in Germany in the 1430s from the engraving used by goldsmiths to decorate metalwork. Engravers use a hardened steel tool called a burin to cut the design into the surface of a metal plate, traditionally made of copper. Engraving using a burin is a difficult skill to learn. Gravers come in a variety of sizes that yield different line types.
The burin produces a unique and recognizable quality of line, characterized by
Renaissance architecture is the European architecture of the period between the early 14th and early 16th centuries in different regions, demonstrating a conscious revival and development of certain elements of ancient Greek and Roman thought and material culture. Stylistically, Renaissance architecture followed Gothic architecture and was succeeded by Baroque architecture. Developed first in Florence, with Filippo Brunelleschi as one of its innovators, the Renaissance style spread to other Italian cities; the style was carried to France, England and other parts of Europe at different dates and with varying degrees of impact. Renaissance style places emphasis on symmetry, proportion and the regularity of parts, as they are demonstrated in the architecture of classical antiquity and in particular ancient Roman architecture, of which many examples remained. Orderly arrangements of columns and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches, hemispherical domes and aedicula replaced the more complex proportional systems and irregular profiles of medieval buildings.
The word "Renaissance" derived from the term "la rinascita", which means rebirth, first appeared in Giorgio Vasari's Vite de' più eccellenti architetti, pittori, et scultori Italiani The Lives of the Artists, 1550–60. Although the term Renaissance was used first by the French historian Jules Michelet, it was given its more lasting definition from the Swiss historian Jacob Burckhardt, whose book, Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien 1860, The Civilization of the Renaissance in Italy, 1860, English translation, by SGC Middlemore, in 2 vols. London, 1878) was influential in the development of the modern interpretation of the Italian Renaissance; the folio of measured drawings Édifices de Rome moderne. Erwin Panofsky and Renascences in Western Art, The Renaissance style was recognized by contemporaries in the term "all'antica", or "in the ancient manner". Italy of the 15th century, the city of Florence in particular, was home to the Renaissance, it is in Florence that the new architectural style had its beginning, not evolving in the way that Gothic grew out of Romanesque, but consciously brought to being by particular architects who sought to revive the order of a past "Golden Age".
The scholarly approach to the architecture of the ancient coincided with the general revival of learning. A number of factors were influential in bringing this about. Italian architects had always preferred forms that were defined and structural members that expressed their purpose. Many Tuscan Romanesque buildings demonstrate these characteristics, as seen in the Florence Baptistery and Pisa Cathedral. Italy had never adopted the Gothic style of architecture. Apart from the Cathedral of Milan, few Italian churches show the emphasis on vertical, the clustered shafts, ornate tracery and complex ribbed vaulting that characterise Gothic in other parts of Europe; the presence in Rome, of ancient architectural remains showing the ordered Classical style provided an inspiration to artists at a time when philosophy was turning towards the Classical. In the 15th century, Florence and Naples extended their power through much of the area that surrounded them, making the movement of artists possible; this enabled Florence to have significant artistic influence in Milan, through Milan, France.
In 1377, the return of the Pope from the Avignon Papacy and the re-establishment of the Papal court in Rome, brought wealth and importance to that city, as well as a renewal in the importance of the Pope in Italy, further strengthened by the Council of Constance in 1417. Successive Popes Julius II, 1503–13, sought to extend the Pope’s temporal power throughout Italy. In the early Renaissance, Venice controlled sea trade over goods from the East; the large towns of Northern Italy were prosperous through trade with the rest of Europe, Genoa providing a seaport for the goods of France and Spain. Trade brought wool from England to Florence, ideally located on the river for the production of fine cloth, the industry on which its wealth was founded. By dominating Pisa, Florence gained a seaport, maintained dominance of Genoa. In this commercial climate, one family in particular turned their attention from trade to the lucrative business of money-lending; the Medici became the chief bankers to the princes of Europe, becoming princes themselves as they did so, by reason of both wealth and influence.
Along the trade routes, thus offered some protection by commercial interest, moved not only goods but artists and philosophers. The return of the Pope Gregory XI from Avignon in September 1377 and the resultant new emphasis on Rome as the center of Christian spirituality, brought about a boom in the building of churches in Rome such as had not taken place for nearly a thousand years; this commenced in the mid 15th century and gained momentum in the 16th century, reaching its peak in the Baroque period. The construction of the Sistine Chapel with its uniquely important decorations and the entire rebuilding of St Peter's, one of Christendom's most significant churches, were part of this process. In wealthy republican Florence, the impetus for church-building was more civic than spiritual; the unfinished state of the enormous cathedral dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary did no honour to the city und
Albrecht Dürer sometimes spelt in English as Durer or Duerer, without umlaut, was a painter and theorist of the German Renaissance. Born in Nuremberg, Dürer established his reputation and influence across Europe when he was still in his twenties due to his high-quality woodcut prints, he was in communication with the major Italian artists of his time, including Raphael, Giovanni Bellini and Leonardo da Vinci, from 1512 he was patronized by Emperor Maximilian I. Dürer is commemorated by both the Episcopal Churches. Dürer's vast body of work includes engravings, his preferred technique in his prints, altarpieces and self-portraits and books; the woodcuts, such as the Apocalypse series, are more Gothic than the rest of his work. His well-known engravings include the Knight and the Devil, Saint Jerome in his Study and Melencolia I, the subject of extensive analysis and interpretation, his watercolours mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium.
Dürer's introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, has secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatises, which involve principles of mathematics and ideal proportions. Dürer was born on 21 May 1471, third child and second son of his parents, who had at least fourteen and as many as eighteen children, his father, Albrecht Dürer the Elder, was a successful goldsmith who in 1455 had moved to Nuremberg from Ajtós, near Gyula in Hungary. One of Albrecht's brothers, Hans Dürer, was a painter and trained under him. Another of Albrecht's brothers, Endres Dürer, took over their father's business and was a master goldsmith; the German name "Dürer" is a translation from the Hungarian, "Ajtósi". It was "Türer", meaning doormaker, "ajtós" in Hungarian. A door is featured in the coat-of-arms. Albrecht Dürer the Younger changed "Türer", his father's diction of the family's surname, to "Dürer", to adapt to the local Nuremberg dialect.
Dürer the Elder married Barbara Holper, daughter of his master when he himself qualified as a master in 1467. Dürer's godfather was Anton Koberger, who left goldsmithing to become a printer and publisher in the year of Dürer's birth, became the most successful publisher in Germany owning twenty-four printing-presses and built a number of offices in Germany and abroad. Koberger's most famous publication was the Nuremberg Chronicle, published in 1493 in German and Latin editions, it contained an unprecedented 1,809 woodcut illustrations by the Wolgemut workshop. Dürer may have worked on some of these; because Dürer left autobiographical writings and became famous by his mid-twenties, his life is well documented by several sources. After a few years of school, Dürer started to learn the basics of goldsmithing and drawing from his father. Though his father wanted him to continue his training as a goldsmith, he showed such a precocious talent in drawing that he started as an apprentice to Michael Wolgemut at the age of fifteen in 1486.
A self-portrait, a drawing in silverpoint, is dated 1484 "when I was a child", as his inscription says. Wolgemut was the leading artist in Nuremberg at the time, with a large workshop producing a variety of works of art, in particular woodcuts for books. Nuremberg was an important and prosperous city, a centre for publishing and many luxury trades, it had strong links with Italy Venice, a short distance across the Alps. After completing his apprenticeship, Dürer followed the common German custom of taking Wanderjahre—in effect gap years—in which the apprentice learned skills from artists in other areas, he left in 1490 to work under Martin Schongauer, the leading engraver of Northern Europe, but who died shortly before Dürer's arrival at Colmar in 1492. It is unclear where Dürer travelled in the intervening period, though it is that he went to Frankfurt and the Netherlands. In Colmar, Dürer was welcomed by Schongauer's brothers, the goldsmiths Caspar and Paul and the painter Ludwig. In 1493 Dürer went to Strasbourg, where he would have experienced the sculpture of Nikolaus Gerhaert.
Dürer's first painted self-portrait was painted at this time to be sent back to his fiancée in Nuremberg. In early 1492 Dürer travelled to Basel to stay with another brother of Martin Schongauer, the goldsmith Georg. Soon after his return to Nuremberg, on 7 July 1494, at the age of 23, Dürer was married to Agnes Frey following an arrangement made during his absence. Agnes was the daughter of a prominent brass worker in the city. However, no children resulted from the marriage, with Albrecht the Dürer name died out; the marriage between Agnes and Albrecht was not a happy one, as indicated by the letters of Dürer in which he quipped to Willibald Pirckheimer in an rough tone about his wife. He made other vulgar remarks. Pirckheimer made no secret of his antipathy towards Agnes, describing her as a miserly shrew with a bitter tongue, who helped cause Dürer's death at a young age, it is speculated by many scholars Albrecht was bisexual, if not homosexual, due to several of his works containing themes of homosexual desire, as well as the in
Renaissance in Poland
The Renaissance in Poland lasted from the late 15th to the late 16th century and is considered to have been the Golden Age of Polish culture. Ruled by the Jagiellonian dynasty, the Crown of the Kingdom of Poland participated in the broad European Renaissance; the multi-national Polish state experienced a period of cultural growth thanks in part to a century without major wars – aside from conflicts in the sparsely populated eastern and southern borderlands. The Reformation spread peacefully throughout the country, while living conditions improved, cities grew, exports of agricultural products enriched the population the nobility who gained dominance in the new political system of Golden Liberty; the Renaissance movement, whose influence originated in Italy, spread throughout Poland in the 15th and 16th century. Many Italian artists arrived in the country welcomed by Polish royalty, including Francesco Fiorentino, Bartholommeo Berecci, Santi Gucci, Mateo Gucci, Bernardo Morando, Giovanni Battista di Quadro and others, including thinkers and educators such as Filip Callimachus, merchants such as the Boner family and the Montelupi family, other prominent personalities who immigrated to Poland since the late 15th century in search of new opportunities.
Most of them settled in Kraków, the Polish capital until 1611. The Renaissance values of the dignity of man and power of his reason were applauded in Poland. Many works were translated into Polish and Latin from classical Latin and Hebrew, as well as contemporary languages like Italian; the Cracow Academy, one of the world's oldest universities, enjoyed its Golden Era between 1500 and 1535, with 3,215 students graduating in the first decade of the 16th century – a record not surpassed until the late 18th century. The period of Polish Renaissance, supportive of intellectual pursuits, produced many outstanding artists and scientists. Among them were Nicolaus Copernicus who in his De revolutionibus orbium coelestium presented the heliocentric theory of the universe, Maciej of Miechów, author of Tractatus de duabus Sarmatis... – the most accurate up to date geographical and ethnographical account of Eastern Europe. Young Poles sons of nobility, who graduated from any one of over 2,500 parish schools and several academies traveled abroad to complete their education.
Polish thinkers, like Andrzej Frycz Modrzewski, Johannes Dantiscus or Jan Łaski maintained contacts with leading European philosophers of the Renaissance, such as Thomas More and Philip Melanchthon. Poland not only partook in the exchange of major cultural and scientific ideas and developments of Western Europe, but spread Western heritage eastwards among East Slavic nations. For example, printing process, Latin language and art with the syllabic versification in poetry in Belarus and Ukraine, from where it was transmitted to Russia, which began to increase its ties with western Europe in the aftermath of the Mongol invasion of Rus; the first four printed Cyrillic books in the world were published in Kraków, in 1491, by printer Szwajpolt Fiol. Incentives for development of art and architecture were many. King Sigismund I the Old, who ascended to the throne in 1507, was a sponsor of many artists, begun a major project - under Florence architect Bartolommeo Berrecci - of remaking the ancient residence of the Polish kings, the Wawel Castle, into a modern Renaissance residence.
Sigismund's zeal for Renaissance was matched not only by his son, Sigismund II Augustus, but by many wealthy nobles and burghers who desired to display their wealth and cultural savvy. In 1578, chancellor Jan Zamoyski begun construction of the ideal Renaissance city, sponsoring the creation of Zamość, which soon became an important administrative and educational town of Renaissance Poland. Two largest contemporary Polish cities - Kraków and Gdańsk - gained the most in the era, but many other cities spotted new Renaissance constructions. Renaissance painting was introduced in Poland by many immigrant artists, like Lucas Cranach, Hans Dürer and Hans von Kulmbach, practiced by such Polish painters as Marcin Kober; the works of the portraitists created an impressive gallery representative of those who could afford to be immortalized in them. The centre of musical culture was the royal residence at Kraków, where the royal court welcomed many foreign and local performers; the most significant works of the Renaissance in Poland include compositions for lute and organs, both vocal and instrumental, from dances, through polyphonic music, to religious oratorios and masses.
In 1540 by Jan of Lublin released the Tablature, in which he collected most known European organ pieces. Nicolaus Cracoviensis composed many masses, songs and preludes. Mikołaj Gomółka was the author of musical rendition of Kochanowski's poems (Melodies for
Renaissance music is vocal and instrumental music written and performed in Europe during the Renaissance era. Consensus among music historians has been to start the era around 1400, with the end of the medieval era, to close it around 1600, with the beginning of the Baroque period, therefore commencing the musical Renaissance about a hundred years after the beginning of the Renaissance as it is understood in other disciplines; as in the other arts, the music of the period was influenced by the developments which define the Early Modern period: the rise of humanistic thought. From this changing society emerged a common, unifying musical language, in particular, the polyphonic style of the Franco-Flemish school, whose greatest master was Josquin des Prez; the invention of the printing press in 1439 made it cheaper and easier to distribute music and musical theory texts on a wider geographic scale and to more people. Prior to the invention of printing, written music and music-theory texts had to be hand-copied, a time-consuming and expensive process.
Demand for music as entertainment and as a leisure activity for educated amateurs increased with the emergence of a bourgeois class. Dissemination of chansons and masses throughout Europe coincided with the unification of polyphonic practice into the fluid style which culminated in the second half of the sixteenth century in the work of composers such as Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Orlande de Lassus, Thomas Tallis and William Byrd. Relative political stability and prosperity in the Low Countries, along with a flourishing system of music education in the area's many churches and cathedrals allowed the training of large numbers of singers and composers; these musicians were sought throughout Europe in Italy, where churches and aristocratic courts hired them as composers and teachers. Since the printing press made it easier to disseminate printed music, by the end of the 16th century, Italy had absorbed the northern musical influences with Venice and other cities becoming centers of musical activity.
This reversed the situation from a hundred years earlier. Opera, a dramatic staged genre in which singers are accompanied by instruments, arose at this time in Florence. Opera was developed as a deliberate attempt to resurrect the music of ancient Greece. Music was freed from medieval constraints, more variety was permitted in range, harmony and notation. On the other hand, rules of counterpoint became more constrained with regard to treatment of dissonances. In the Renaissance, music became a vehicle for personal expression. Composers found ways to make vocal music more expressive of the texts. Secular music absorbed techniques from sacred music, vice versa. Popular secular forms such as the madrigal spread throughout Europe. Courts employed both singers and instrumentalists. Music became more self-sufficient with its availability in printed form, existing for its own sake. Precursor versions of many familiar modern instruments developed into new forms during the Renaissance; these instruments were modified to responding to the evolution of musical ideas, they presented new possibilities for composers and musicians to explore.
Early forms of modern woodwind and brass instruments like the bassoon and trombone appeared. During the 15th century, the sound of full triads became common, towards the end of the 16th century the system of church modes began to break down giving way to the functional tonality, which would dominate Western art music for the next three centuries. From the Renaissance era, notated secular and sacred music survives in quantity, including vocal and instrumental works and mixed vocal/instrumental works. An enormous diversity of musical styles and genres flourished during the Renaissance; these can be heard on recordings made in the 20th and 21st century, including masses, madrigals, accompanied songs, instrumental dances, many others. Beginning in the late 20th century, numerous early music ensembles were formed. Early music ensembles specializing in music of the Renaissance era give concert tours and make recordings, using modern reproductions of historical instruments and using singing and performing styles which musicologists believe were used during the era.
One of the most pronounced features of early Renaissance European art music was the increasing reliance on the interval of the third and its inversion, the sixth. Polyphony – the use of multiple, independent melodic lines, performed – became elaborate throughout the 14th century, with independent voices; the beginning of the 15th century showed simplification, with the composers striving for smoothness in the melodic parts. This was possible because of a increased vocal range in music – in the Middle Ages, the narrow range made necessary frequent crossing of parts, thus requirin
Germany the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north and the Czech Republic to the east and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to the west. Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,386 square kilometres, has a temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a decentralized country, its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport. Germany's largest urban area is the Ruhr, with its main centres of Essen; the country's other major cities are Hamburg, Cologne, Stuttgart, Düsseldorf, Dresden, Bremen and Nuremberg. Various Germanic tribes have inhabited the northern parts of modern Germany since classical antiquity.
A region named Germania was documented before 100 AD. During the Migration Period, the Germanic tribes expanded southward. Beginning in the 10th century, German territories formed a central part of the Holy Roman Empire. During the 16th century, northern German regions became the centre of the Protestant Reformation. After the collapse of the Holy Roman Empire, the German Confederation was formed in 1815; the German revolutions of 1848–49 resulted in the Frankfurt Parliament establishing major democratic rights. In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic; the Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to the establishment of a dictatorship, the annexation of Austria, World War II, the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, Austria was re-established as an independent country and two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American and French occupation zones, East Germany, formed from the Soviet occupation zone.
Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990. Today, the sovereign state of Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor, it is a great power with a strong economy. As a global leader in several industrial and technological sectors, it is both the world's third-largest exporter and importer of goods; as a developed country with a high standard of living, it upholds a social security and universal health care system, environmental protection, a tuition-free university education. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993, it is part of the Schengen Area and became a co-founder of the Eurozone in 1999. Germany is a member of the United Nations, NATO, the G7, the G20, the OECD. Known for its rich cultural history, Germany has been continuously the home of influential and successful artists, musicians, film people, entrepreneurs, scientists and inventors.
Germany has a large number of World Heritage sites and is among the top tourism destinations in the world. The English word Germany derives from the Latin Germania, which came into use after Julius Caesar adopted it for the peoples east of the Rhine; the German term Deutschland diutisciu land is derived from deutsch, descended from Old High German diutisc "popular" used to distinguish the language of the common people from Latin and its Romance descendants. This in turn descends from Proto-Germanic *þiudiskaz "popular", derived from *þeudō, descended from Proto-Indo-European *tewtéh₂- "people", from which the word Teutons originates; the discovery of the Mauer 1 mandible shows that ancient humans were present in Germany at least 600,000 years ago. The oldest complete hunting weapons found anywhere in the world were discovered in a coal mine in Schöningen between 1994 and 1998 where eight 380,000-year-old wooden javelins of 1.82 to 2.25 m length were unearthed. The Neander Valley was the location where the first non-modern human fossil was discovered.
The Neanderthal 1 fossils are known to be 40,000 years old. Evidence of modern humans dated, has been found in caves in the Swabian Jura near Ulm; the finds included 42,000-year-old bird bone and mammoth ivory flutes which are the oldest musical instruments found, the 40,000-year-old Ice Age Lion Man, the oldest uncontested figurative art discovered, the 35,000-year-old Venus of Hohle Fels, the oldest uncontested human figurative art discovered. The Nebra sky disk is a bronze artefact created during the European Bronze Age attributed to a site near Nebra, Saxony-Anhalt, it is part of UNESCO's Memory of the World Programme. The Germanic tribes are thought to date from the Pre-Roman Iron Age. From southern Scandinavia and north Germany, they expanded south and west from the 1st century BC, coming into contact with the Celtic tribes of Gaul as well