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The Renaissance period was a time of renewed influence and power for the Papacy in Italy and also internationally. The era from 1420 to 1517 saw it reach new heights of power and become a great patron of the arts. This article will examine the role of the Papacy in Renaissance Italy and its contribution to the great flowering of art and culture at that remarkable time. The article will show that the Papacy became the absolute rulers of the Papal States, who played a leading role in Italian politics. The Papacy was largely secular and this allowed Italy’s artists and writers to work in an environment that was relatively free. Finally, the Papacy was one of the leading patrons of the arts at this time and they commissioned many of the greatest works in the western tradition. This piece will argue that the character of the Renaissance was shaped by the Pope’s in Rome. It will also demonstrate that the Papacy, with its corruption and secular preoccupations were a major factor in the Reformation.