A History Of The Renaissance Research Paper
The Renaissance began in Florence, Italy in the 13th century and was known as a period of rebirth for society, where art, literature, and the economy prospered. The Middle Ages ended a new way of living and thinking evolved. During the Renaissance there was a cultural rebirth, Europeans began to embrace life for themselves. Art, literature, and individuals disconnected themselves from the Church and lived life. During the Middle Ages, the church controlled everyone’s life and was many people’s only focus. Artists and writers began to use their voices to talk about more secular topics and not only focus on religion. By the Renaissance, a new secular way of thinking had emerged and with the help of inventions like the printing press, these new ideas were able to spread throughout all of Europe. The Renaissance changed man's view of the world in at least three ways: there was an emphasis on individualism, people began to embrace life in the present, and reason prevailed over religion.
The Renaissance changed man’s view of the world by focusing on individualism. There was a renewed interest in classics, Italians began educating themselves on Greek and Latin philosophy. This sudden interest began the movement known as Humanism. Which emphasized individualism, which is more specific than humanism and is the belief that everybody with good morals is capable of achievements. Also, secular topics were explored, especially in art, the artist began to be inspired by everyday life and not just religious scenes and topics. Not only were these topics explored in the art they were also a clear theme in literature. In the painting, the Madonna Enthroned Between Two Angels, the artist Duccio bi Buoninsegna, painted a religious theme, which makes it evident that it is a Middle Age painting. There is no anatomical correctness either; the baby in the picture represents Jesus, Jesus is not proportional, the painting lacks depth, making it one-dimensional. Both of these qualities prove the painting is a Middle Age painting (Doc A). Mona Lisa expresses humanism and is very secular. The Mona Lisa is proportional and has depth in the background making it appear three-dimensional. All of these qualities are the embodiment of Renaissance art (Doc A). The emphasis on individualism and humanism is what the Renaissance represents and is portrayed in both pieces of art.
The emphasis on individualism was not the only reason that man’s view during the Renaissance changed. During the Renaissance people began to live life in the present, they began to live for themselves. Previous to the Renaissance the Catholic Church influenced everyone’s lives. Especially during the plague as many looked to the Church to guide them through the uncertainties of the plague. They believed the sickness was caused by God's wrath, and the alignment of the planets, this proves religion and superstitions were prioritized over science. Religion had so much control over people’s lives that during a time of sickness they referred to the Church for help rather than science. In the play called Everyman, the author expresses that religion was people’s only focus and was a crucial part of many people’s lives during the Middle Ages. The playwright talks about how religion is apparent in every part of life. Hamlet exemplifies Renaissance ideology, by portraying the idea of humanism. The playwright talks about how man and God are very similar (Doc B). Both playwrights explain people’s focus in life changed and how during the Renaissance the focus transformed from religion to everyday life.
In addition to the emphasis on individualism and embracing life in the present, people began to refer to logic and reasoning instead of blindly believing the Church. During the Middle Ages, people referred to the Church as a source for all of their knowledge. The Church would believe in science as long as it corroborated with their religious beliefs, the Church would not listen to logic and reasoning. The Geocentric Universe of Ptolemy was a theory created by Claudis Ptomely that stated that the Earth was the center of the universe. This theory was accepted by the Church because it supported the Catholic Church's beliefs (Doc C). Nicolaus Copernicus made a discovery; he used logic and reasoning to create a theory regarding the planets and their location in the solar system. In his theory The Heliocentric Universe of Copernicus, he used logic and reasoning to come with a proper representation of the universe. According to his diagram, the Sun is the center of the universe, which was later proven to be correct (Doc C). Copernicus angered the Church by going against their beliefs and challenging them. Scientists using logic and reasoning contributed to man’s view of the world-changing because they could now see the Church was not always right and one shouldn’t believe the Church blindly. Not only did the use of logic and reasoning change man’s view but it changed how future scientists viewed their work, which then caused the Scientific Revolution and the Protestant Reformation. Future scientists like Galileo utilized logic and reasoning to come up with some of the greatest scientific discoveries. Artist and scientist Leonardo DaVinci used logic and reasoning to further educate himself in the anatomy of the human body. This was portrayed in not only his science but in his art as well. Similar to DaVinci, an artist by the name of Andreas Vesalius was captivated by the human body and painted a portrait by the name of On the Makeup of the Human Body, this painting was painted in 1543 and represented all of the Renaissance painting techniques. Andreas Vesalius dissected human corpses to create an anatomically correct picture to better explain the human body to his medical students. His artwork depicted the human body, and all of the ligaments, muscles, and bones (Doc D). German astronomer Johann Regiomontanus created a woodcut out called the Zodiac Man, in which each zodiac sign-controlled a certain element of the body. Although Johann Regiomontanus created the Zodiac Man in 1512 the use of astronomy was a theme that was common in the Middle Ages (Doc D). With the use of logic and reasoning, many were able to make advances in science and art, which contributed to how man’s view of the world changed.
In conclusion, the values of the Renaissance changed man’s view of the world in three ways; individualism was emphasized, logic and reasoning became a priority over religion, and reason triumphed over religion. During the Middle Ages, many simply accepted the Churches beliefs, but by the end of the Renaissance many used logic and reasoning to view the world differently. During the Renaissance, people began focusing more on other things compared to religious thoughts. People thought everything was about god, religion and there was no other way of life. Humanism allowed them to be less about god and more about themselves, and other things, hence making more people break away from the church. As people began to view life in the present and focus on logic and reasoning man's view changed indefinitely. The world as one knew it changed, the advancements in science, art, and literature contributed to an overall change in thinking and living.