[The Venetian wedding]
The Mediterranean Sea was the hub of transport, trade and cultural links between three continents: Western Asia, North Africa, and Southern Europe. The history of the cultures and people of the Mediterranean region is important for understanding the origin and development of the Mesopotamian, Egyptian, Canaanite, Phoenician, Hebrew, Carthaginian, Greek, Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Ottoman, Christian and Islamic cultures. The Italian "Repubbliche Marinare" (Maritime Republics) of Venice, Genoa, Amalfi and Pisa developed their own "empires" in the Mediterranean shores. The Islamic states had never been major naval powers, and trade from the east to Europe was soon in the hands of Italian traders, especially the Genoese and the Venetians, who profited immensely from it. The Republic of Pisa and later the Republic of Ragusa used diplomacy to further trade and maintained a libertarian approach in civil matters to further sentiment in its inhabitants. The republic of Venice got to dominate the eastern Mediterranean shores after the Fourth Crusade. In 1347 the Black Death spread from Constantinople across the mediterranean basin. In 1453, the Byzantine Empire was extinguished with the fall of Constantinople.
Old master prints that were made in Germany during the 16th century from The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art. The term ‘old master print’ describes artworks that were made by a printing technique originating from the beginning of 15th century throughout the year 1830. It is well-known in the art trade but an unsophisticated person could simply confuse it with decorative or popular prints. Master prints were widely spread and popular at the end of the 15th century when paper became available and cheap. The term covered several techniques: woodcut, engraving, and etching. Many European artists like Albrecht Dürer, Rembrandt, and Francisco Goya that now are famous for their paintings, initially acquired their international reputation as print masters. As for subjects of the master prints, there were religious topics alongside with social ones: сhivalry scenes, tournaments, battles and so-called ‘Gardens of Love’. Usually, artists didn’t sign their works, and it was Albrecht Dürer who was the first to leave his name on a master print. The collection includes old master prints that were made in Germany during the 16th century. All these images were gathered by the New York Public Library.
During Middle Ages, Church considered dance as a sin and condemned it. Records of Medieval dance are fragmented and limited, but a noteworthy dance reference from the medieval period is the allegory of the Danse Macabre. During the Renaissance, dance experienced growing popularity. Country dances, performed for pleasure, became distinct from court dances, which had ceremonial and political functions. In Germany, originated from a modified ländler, the waltz was introduced in all the European courts. The 16th century Queen of France Catherine de' Medici promoted and popularized dance in France and helped develop the ballet de cour. The production of the Ballet Comique de la Reine in 1581 is regarded by scholars as the first authentic ballet. In the 17th century, the French minuet, characterized by its bows, courtesies and gallant gestures, permeated the European cultural landscape.