Where can I find information about the Renaissance?

[no title] by Sandra Ollier on

Entry last updated: 20/04/20


The Renaissance followed the Middle Ages in Europe. It lasted from the mid-14th century to the mid-17th century (1350-1650 AD), and was a time of great scientific and artistic development. Famous scientists discovered that the earth was round, European explorers travelled around the globe to find countries they previously did not know about, and artists developed new, more realistic, ways to paint and illustrate the world around them.

Famous people of the Renaissance

Famous people from the time of the Renaissance include:

Galileo: Italian astronomer, mathematician, and philosopher who discovered (among other things) that the Earth rotates around the sun.

Christopher Columbus: Italian explorer who discovered 'The New World' (America).

Martin Luther: German monk who started the Protestant Reformation against Catholicism.

Michelangelo: Italian painter, sculptor, and architect, best known for his 'David' statue and his painting on the roof of the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Rome.

Leonardo Da Vinci: Italian artist, mathematician, and engineer, known for his paintings 'The Last Supper' and the 'Mona Lisa', his study of the human body, and his inventions.


There are lots of ways to learn about the Renaissance in Europe. The following websites provide general information about this period of time. All of these resources are part of EPIC, a collection of reliable databases covering lots of different topics. It’s put together especially for New Zealand school students and helps to answer questions like this.

Research in Context

This website is a great place to start for an introduction to the Renaissance.

  • Enter your keyword into the search box at the top of the page (eg 'Renaissance').
  • Select the Renaissance article to get an overview of the topic, or click on the 'Reference' tab to find more information about particular aspects of Renaissance life.
Tips: The green circles, yellow squares, and red triangles beside the topic tell you the level of the article. Articles with green circles give introductory information, and ones with yellow squares are intermediate level.

Britannica School

This website has articles, videos, and photos about a range of topics suitable for school students.

  • Choose the 'Secondary' level.
  • Enter your search term in the search box at the top of the page (eg. 'Renaissance').
  • Choose an article that you like the look of eg Renaissance.
  • Check out the images and videos and related articles tabs to take your research further, and to give you ideas of new search terms you could use.

Oxford Art Online

Here you can find lots of information on the art, architecture, and landscaping of the Renaissance. You can either search for a specific term, or browse the information using the categories on the website.

  • Use the search tool (the magnifying glass on the right side of the screen) to look for a specific term.
  • Check out the Subject Guides and Timelines of Modern Art links on the Tools and Resources page.
  • Italian Renaissance Learning Resources is an associated resource put together especially for researchers and students. Choose the topic you are interested in (eg The Making of an Artist), and you will find essays, primary sources and images to help your research, and a glossary to help you understand what you read.

Science in Context

This is another useful resource, with a focus on science. You will find the biographies of famous scientists, reference articles about scientific discoveries and what people thought, and videos, magazine articles and images about the time.

The Student Resources in Context and World History in Context databases in EPIC are also useful for this topic.

Tips: To get to the EPIC resources you will need a password from your school librarian first. Or you can chat with one of our AnyQuestions librarians between 1 and 6pm Monday to Friday and they will help you online. Some EPIC databases may also be available through your public library.

General Websites

If you want to find information about a particular aspect of the Renaissance, you might find these websites useful.

Find out about the lives and achievements of famous people from the Renaissance.

  • Use the search tool (the magnifying glass on the right hand side of the black title banner) to enter the name of the person you are looking for eg Michelangelo.
  • Choose the results marked 'biography' for the best information.
Tips: Some websites have advertisements (or ads) which ask us to buy something or tell us to ‘click here’. It’s best to ignore these ads and focus on the information we’re looking for.


Find out about the history of the Renaissance.

  • Enter your keyword into the search box at the top of the page (eg Renaissance).
  • Select the article called Renaissance to find more information about the history Renaissance.
Tips: Websites that have .com or .co in the address can have good information, but you need to assess how reliable it is. Check the About us link on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.


Your school or public library will also have books about the Renaissance in Europe that you can use for your research. Check out these titles to get you started:

Art of the Italian Renaissance: architecture, sculpture, painting, drawing by Rolf Toman (editor).

Renaissance People: Lives that shaped the modern age by Robert C. Davis and Beth Lindsmith.

SCIS no: 1912574

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