Term Paper: 16th Century Renaissance

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16th Century Carnivals

The carnival, or pre-Lenten festival, was often described as a socially transgressing ritual in 16th century Europe. The festival took place in common areas such as market spaces, where people of all different classes and walks of life could mix in a crossroads of commerce, entertainment, as well as sacred pageantry. The carnival was a place where an seemingly older, pagan spirit 'jousted' with the new, Christian spirit of order and the church. One 16th century woodcut by Bruegel is entitled, "The Fight Between Carnival and Lent" (1559) the title of this painting refers to the focal scene which depicts a typical pageant during the carnival, where there is a mock-tournament between "Prince Carnival and Dame Lent," two figures that represent the different spirits embodied in the carnival.

This event of the carnival typically took place, in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance, during the Shrove Tuesday processions where there were folkloric and popularly sponsored pantomime and masquerades paired together with officially church sanctioned rituals. In the common space of the carnival marketplace the church and the inn both had their representative figures, and Bruegel, with "his use of spatial contiguity" thus "vividly conveys" the ideological closeness of both spirits of the holiday as embodied in these two figures.

However, some scholars dispute the direct roots of the carnival in pagan Saturnalia rituals. Rather, they believe "Carnival developed initial as a reaction… [END OF PREVIEW]

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16th Century Renaissance.  (2005, May 16).  Retrieved December 8, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/16th-century-renaissance/6729

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"16th Century Renaissance."  Essaytown.com.  May 16, 2005.  Accessed December 8, 2019.