The North Renaissance refers to the Renaissance movement that occurred in countries outside of Italy. The most creative form of art was produced in France, the Netherlands and Germany during this period, and as all these countries are to the north of Italy, the name Northern Renaissance stuck on.
Between Northern Renaissance and Italian Renaissance there are some differences. For instance, the north held on to the art from the Middle Ages for a much longer period than Italy. Architecture in the north stayed Gothic for much of the 16th century. Although the art kept pace with the art created in Italy, it was too far and apart in the beginning. The reason for this was the Italy had many republics and small kingdoms that created a rich class, which was able to fund the art. The only rich Duchy in northern Europe was the Duchy of Burgundy. Although the dukes from Burgundy funded art, the art they preferred was different. They were more into manuscripts, tapestries and furnishings. While the Italian dukes were more into paintings, sculpture and architecture.
While Renaissance in Italy was inspired by Humanism, in northern Europe it was inspired by religious beliefs. In the north, it was believed that the Church was not walking the path of Christian values. Also, the artists in the north were very worried about how their art would look. They gave more importance to color rather than proportion, perspective and anatomy.
Climatic conditions also played a big role in the Northern Renaissance. The north was full of stained glass windows for protection from the elements. The climate was not conducive to curing frescoes and egg tempera that was painted on wood. So, the north moved towards oil paints. In addition, the northern artists created a lot of sculptures from wood, while the Italians made the sculptures from marble because of the numerous quarries present in Italy.