Renaissance trends from Italy and Central Europe influenced Russia in many ways, though this influence was rather limited due to the large distances between Russia and the main European cultural centers, on one hand, and the strong adherence of Russians to their Orthodox traditions and Byzantine legacy, on the other hand.
Prince Ivan III introduced Renaissance architecture to Russia by inviting a number of architects from Italy, who brought new construction techniques and some Renaissance style elements with them, while in general following the traditional designs of the Russian architecture. In 1475 the Bolognese architect Aristotele Fioravanti came to rebuild the Cathedral of the Dormition in the Moscow Kremlin, damaged in an earthquake. Fioravanti was given the 12th-century Vladimir Cathedral as a model, and produced a design combining traditional Russian style with a Renaissance sense of spaciousness, proportion and symmetry.
The Palace of Facets on the Cathedral Square of the Moscow Kremlin.
In 1485 Ivan III commissioned the building of a royal Terem Palace within the Kremlin, with Aloisio da Milano being the architect of the first three floors. Aloisio da Milano, as well as the other Italian architects, also greatly contributed to the construction of the Kremlin walls and towers. The small banqueting hall of the Russian Tsars, called the Palace of Facets because of its facetted upper story, is the work of two Italians, Marco Ruffo and Pietro Solario, and shows a more Italian style. In 1505, an Italian known in Russia as Aleviz Novyi or Aleviz Fryazin arrived in Moscow. He may have been the Venetian sculptor, Alevisio Lamberti da Montagne. He built 12 churches for Ivan III, including the Cathedral of the Archangel, a building remarkable for the successful blending of Russian tradition, Orthodox requirements and Renaissance style. It is believed that the Cathedral of the Metropolitan Peter in Vysokopetrovsky Monastery, another work of Aleviz Novyi, later served as an inspiration for the so-called octagon-on-tetragon architectural form in the Moscow Baroque of the late 17th century.
Although Italian Renaissance had a modest impact in Portuguese arts, Portugal was influential in broadening the European worldview, stimulating humanist inquiry. Renaissance arrived through the influence of wealthy Italian and Flemish merchants who invested in the profitable commerce overseas. As the pioneer headquarters of European exploration, Lisbon flourished in the late 15th century, attracting experts who made several breakthroughs in mathematics, astronomy and naval technology including Pedro Nunes, João de Castro, Abraham Zacuto and Martin Behaim. Cartographers Pedro Reinel, Lopo Homem, Esteban Gómez and Diogo Ribeiro made crucial advances to help mapping the world. Apothecary Tomé Pires and physicians Garcia de Orta and Cristóbal Acosta collected and published works on plants and medicines, soon translated by Flemish pioneer botanist Carolus Clusius.
In architecture, the huge profits of the spice trade financed a sumptuous composite style in the first decades of the 16th century, the Manueline, incorporating maritime elements. The main painters being Nuno Gonçalves, Gregório Lopes and Vasco Fernandes. In music, Pedro de Escobar and Duarte Lobo, and four songbooks, including the Cancioneiro de Elvas. In literature, Sá de Miranda introduced Italian forms of verse, Bernardim Ribeiro developed pastoral romance; Gil Vicente plays fused it with popular culture, reporting the changing times, and Luís de Camões inscribed the Portuguese feats overseas in the epic poem the Lusiads. Travel literature specially flourished: João de Barros, Castanheda, António Galvão, Gaspar Correia, Duarte Barbosa, Fernão Mendes Pinto, among others, described new lands and were translated and spread with the new printing press. After joining the Portuguese exploration of Brazil in 1500, Amerigo Vespucci coined the term New World, in his letters to Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco de’ Medici.
An early Italian humanist who came to Poland in the mid-15th century was Filippo Buonaccorsi. Many Italian artists came to Poland with Bona Sforza of Milan, when she married King Zygmunt I of Poland in 1518. This was supported by temporarily strengthened monarchies in both areas, as well as by newly established universities. The Polish Renaissance lasted from the late 15th to the late 16th century and is widely considered to have been the Golden Age of Polish culture. Ruled by the Jagiellon dynasty, the Kingdom of Poland (from 1569 known as the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth) actively participated in the broad European Renaissance. The multi-national Polish state experienced a substantial 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 (giving rise to the Polish Brethren), while living conditions improved, cities grew, and exports of agricultural products enriched the population, especially the nobility (szlachta) who gained dominance in the new political system of Golden Liberty. The Polish Renaissance architecture has three periods of development.
In the second half of the 15th century, the spirit of the age spread to Germany and the Low Countries, where the development of the printing press (ca. 1450) and early Renaissance artists such as the painters Jan van Eyck (1395–1441) and Hieronymus Bosch (1450–1516) and the composers Johannes Ockeghem (1410–1497), Jacob Obrecht (1457–1505) and Josquin des Prez (1455–1521), predated the influence from Italy. In the early Protestant areas of the country humanism became closely linked to the turmoil of the Protestant Reformation, and the art and writing of the German Renaissance frequently reflected this dispute. However, the gothic style and medieval scholastic philosophy remained exclusively until the turn of the 16th century. Emperor Maximilian I of Habsburg (Ruling 1493–1519) was the first truly Renaissance monarch of the Holy Roman Empire, later known as “Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation” (Imperial Diet of Cologne, 1512).