Where can I find information about the Renaissance?

Senior Secondary

(Years 11-13)

Colour photo showing the façade of the Santa Maria Novella, a church in Florence, Italy, built during the Renaissance. The architect was Giorgio Vasari.

Image: Santa Maria Novella (Florence) by Commonists on Wikimedia Commons.

Entry last updated: 27/05/22


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.

EPIC resources

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.

Britannica School Secondary

This is the online version of Encyclopaedia Britannica for secondary school students. It has articles, videos, and photos about a range of topics.

  • 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.

  • Renaissance (European history) gives a good overview.

  • 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.

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.

High School (Gale In Context)

Also one of the EPIC databases, Student Resources in Context offers reliable information on topics like the Civil Rights Movement.

  • Select Browse Topics.

  • Narrow the topics by selecting History from the drop down menu.

  • Select Renaissance and Reformation.

  • Read the overview or you can look at articles, videos, images and more.

  • Check out the Related Topics at the bottom of the page.

Tips: The different coloured squares beside the topic tell you the level of the article. Blue squares have simpler information whereas red is more complex.

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 (Gale In Context)

This is another useful resource, with a focus on science.

  • Enter the keyword 'Renaissance' in the search box.

  • Select Biographies to find out about Renaissance scientists eg Peter Apian.

  • Select Reference, Academic Journals or Magazines to find out about scientific discoveries.

Biography (Gale In Context)

Here you will find an extensive range of biographies of historical people. It can be searched by name, nationality, and occupation.

  • Search names such as Francis Bacon or Hieronymus Bosch.

  • For a full list of Renaissance biographies go to Browse People.

  • Then narrow the list by using the Topics drop-down menu and selecting Renaissance.

World History (Gale in Context)

This website has information on a wide range of international history topics including the Renaissance.

  • Select Browse Topics to browse for Renaissance.

  • Resources are separated into Reference, Videos, Biographies, Primary sources, Audio and more.

  • Check out Related Topics at the bottom of the page.

Gale eBooks

This website has access to a collection of reference e-books containing biography, literature, science, history, social sciences information and more.

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 uslink on the website, if you can find one. That can tell you what the company’s mission and values are.

Khan Academy

This educational website offers information and instructional videos on various subjects for students to learn at their own pace.

  • Go to Courses and select World history.

  • Find the unit 1450 - 1750 Renaissance and Reformation.

  • This has a great video to watch about the Scientific Revolution and Enlightenment.

  • Or you could search for 'Renaissance' and look through the results.


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:

SCIS no: 1912574

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