The Renaissance Essay Sample

The Renaissance Pages
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Renaissance  was a cultural differences that appeared in the 14th to the 17th century, it began in Italy in the late Middle Ages and later spreading to the rest of Europe, The term is also used in a somewhat indiscriminate manner as a historic era, but as the cultural advances and social changes normally associated with it were both spotty and uneven, as an age in historiography the term can only be used in the loosest and most general sense. Renaissance influence had an important affection on culture, philosophy, art, politics, science, religion, and other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance scientist and scholars used the humanist method in study, and searched for realism and human emotion in art.

As a cultural movement, which included a revival of learning based on classical sources, the development of linear perspective in painting, and gradual but widespread educational reform, traditionally this intellectual transformation has resulted in the Renaissance being viewed as the “bridge” between the Middle Ages and the Modern era. Renaissance period saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, specially on social and political upheaval but it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who have inspired the term “Renaissance men.”

A lot of historical people agree that the ideas that characterized the Renaissance had their origin in late 13th century Florence, in particular with the writings of Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) and Francesco Petrarch (1304–1374), as well as the painting of Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337) and until now  it remains unsure why the Renaissance began in Italy, and why it began when it did. So that different theories have been put forward to explain its origins.

Historian called that period because it was a “rebirth” of certain classical ideas that had long been lost to Western Europe, It has been argued that the fuel for this Renaissance period was the rediscovery of ancient texts that had been forgotten by Western civilization, but were preserved in the Byzantine Empire, the Islamic world, and some monastic libraries; and the translations of Greek and Arabic texts into Latin.

And During this important period the rediscovery of ancient scientific texts was accelerated after the Fall of Constantinople in 1453, and the invention of printing which would democratize learning and allow a faster propagation of new ideas, but at least in its initial period, the Renaissance is usually seen as one of scientific backwardness. Historians at that time like George Sarton and Lynn Thorndike have criticized how the Renaissance affected science, arguing that progress was slowed. Humanists favored subjects talk about human (human-centered) like politics and history over study of natural philosophy or applied mathematics. But other historian have focused on the positive influence of the Renaissance, pointing to factors like the rediscovery of lost or obscure texts and the increased emphasis on the study of language and the correct reading of texts.

Scientific Renaissance had been coined by Marie Boas Hall to designate the early phase of the Scientific Revolution, more recently, Peter Dear has argued for a two-phase model of early modern science: a Scientific Renaissance of the 15th and 16th centuries, focused on the restoration of the natural knowledge of the ancients; and a Scientific Revolution of the 17th century, when scientists shifted from recovery to innovation.

Renaissance historian , scientists and scholars such as Niccolò de’ Niccoli and Poggio Bracciolini scoured the libraries of Europe in search of works by such classical authors as Plato, Cicero, Pliny the Elder and Vitruvius. In addition, as the reconquest of the Iberian peninsula from Islamic Moors progressed, numerous Greek and Arabic works were captured from educational institutions such as the library at Córdoba, which claimed to have 400,000 books. the work of ancient Greek and Hellenistic (such as Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Ptolemy, and Plotinus) and Muslim scientists and philosophers (such as Geber, Abulcasis, Alhacen, Avicenna, Avempace, and Averroes), were reintroduced into the Western world, providing new intellectual material for European scholars. In the case of mathematical knowledge particularly some of the work of Muslim mathematicians were based on the earlier work of Indian mathematicians.

Arabic knowledge and Greek was not only assimilated from Spain, but also directly from the Greek and Arabic speaking world. Mathematics studying was flourishing in the Middle East, and mathematical knowledge was brought back by crusaders in the 13th century. And after 1204 the decline of the Byzantine Empire and its eventual fall in 1453 accompanied by the closure of its universities by the Ottoman Turks led to a sharp increase in the exodus of Greek scholars to Italy and beyond. These people brought with them texts and knowledge of the classical Greek civilization which had been lost for centuries in the West ,and they transmitted the art of exegesis. Works   majority of Greek Classical literature and Roman Law that survive to this day did so through Byzantium.

During this period, artists and musicians have an important impact , they produced works that displayed more artistic freedom and individualism., this creativity allowed artists to abandon the stricter ways of the Medieval Era. Artist and musicians art forms rediscovered the ancient Greek ideals. The important and great masters of the Renaissance were revered in their own lifetimes (rather than after their deaths), which was different from most of their Medieval predecessors. And With the new printing techniques, music and musical ideas were able to be preserved and distributed to the people.

     Renaissance’s distinctive musical sounds of the era were comprised of a smooth, imitative, polyphonic style, as seen in the music of Byrd, Palestrina, and Lassus. While sacred music sacred music remained of great importance, secular music secular music was starting to become increasingly common, and this polyphonic style was not only used in sacred music, but also in secular madrigals .

     instrumental music’s repertoire also began to grow considerably. And a lot of new instruments were invented, including two keyboard instruments called the clavichord and virginal. Additionally many existing instruments were enhanced . and this time period the lute became the favored instrument and it was established as the standard instrument for family music making during the 16th century.

The primary forms for sacred vocal polyphony  were Masses and motets were, These were accompanied by the lute or a small instrumental ensemble or consort. Forms   of Secular vocal included motets, madrigals and songs, while instrumental pieces were usually short polyphonic works or music for dancing.

And about humanism ,during Renaissance period Scientific revolution occurred through the influence of humanists who took a renewed interest in the work of ancient philosophers. Humanism was an important movement appeared in Florence, Italy, in the mid-1300s by scholars who set out to revive the culture of ancient Greece and Rome (called the classical period). They want to start a cultural rebirth, orrenaissance , that would end what they believed was the “barbarism” of the Middle Ages, the thousand-year period that began with the fall of the Roman Empire in the fourth and fifth centuries. Particularly scientists were interested in giving Greek texts updated translations and interpretations

Humanism was a method of learning not a philosophy per se, and  in contrast to the medieval scholastic mode, which focused on resolving contradictions between authors, humanists would study ancient texts in the original, and appraise them through a combination of reasoning and empirical evidence. Education of  humanist was based on the study of poetry, grammar, ethics and rhetoric. Humanists  asserted “the genius of man… the unique and extraordinary ability of the human mind.”

Important and distinguishing features of Renaissance art was its development of highly realistic linear perspective, Giotto di Bondone (1267-1337) is credited with first treating a painting as a window into space, but it was not until the writings of architects Filippo Brunelleschi (1377-1446) and Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472) that perspective was formalized as an artistic technique. The development of perspective was part of a wider trend towards realism in the arts. Also painters  developed other techniques, studying light, shadow, and, famously in the case of Leonardo da Vinci, human anatomy. these differences and changes in artistic method was a renewed desire to depict the beauty of nature, and to unravel the axioms of aesthetics, with the works of Leonardo, Michelangelo and Raphael representing artistic pinnacles that were to be much imitated by other artists. Other artists like Sandro Boticceli, working for the Medici in Florence, Donatello another Florentine and Titian in Venice, among others.

It wasn’t until the nineteenth century that the French word Renaissance achieved popularity in describing the cultural movement that began in the late 13th century. First one who define Renaissance by French historian was “Jules Michelet” (1798-1874), in his 1855 work, Histoire de France. And about Michelet, the Renaissance was more a development in science than in art and culture, he asserted that it spanned the period from Columbus to Copernicus to Galileo; that is, from the end of the fifteenth century to the middle of the seventeenth century. Moreover, Michelet distinguished between what he called, “the bizarre and monstrous” quality of the Middle Ages and the democratic values that he, as a vocal Republican, chose to see in its character. He also sought  to claim the Renaissance as a French movement.

Jacob Burckhard the Swiss historian (1818-1897) in his Die Kultur der Renaissance in Italien, by contrast, defined the Renaissance as the period between Giotto and Michelangelo in Italy, that is, the 14th to mid-16th centuries, he saw in the Renaissance the emergence of the modern spirit of individuality, which had been stifled in the Middle Ages. Jacob Burckhard’s book was widely read and was influential in the development of the modern interpretation of the Italian Renaissance.

Renaissance personalities :

Vesalius: He was an early Belgian anatomist. His great work was the revolutionary Fabric of the Human Body, which provided a detailed survey of the human body.

Galileo: He was an astronomer and physicist that supported the Copernican theory.

Copernicus: He was an early scientist who wrote Revolutions of the Heavenly

Johann Gutenburg : Invented the printing press. He printed the first printed version of the bible.

References : 

  • Cronin, Vincent (1967), The Florentine Renaissance
  • Debus, Allen G. (1978) Man and Nature in the Renaissance. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Haskins, Charles Homer (1927), The Renaissance of the Twelfth Century.
  • James Brophy ( 1962) Reprinted in The Achievement of Galileo.

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