Samples Art The Renaissance

The Renaissance

732 words 3 page(s)

The term “Renaissance” was first used by the famous painter, architect and art historian Giorgio Vasari (1512-1574) in his book “Biography of the most famous painters, sculptors and architects”. The artist had in mind the revival of antiquity. But The Renaissance movement itself started in Florence, in the 14th century (Burke 1998). The era of the Italian Renaissance was characterized primarily as the era of human rebirth, as an era of humanism. However, the origins of this interpretation of culture originate in the culture itself.

A distinctive feature of the culture of the Renaissance in Italy was the comprehension and deepening of individualistic aspirations of a human. The basis of this process was antiquity, which caused a special interest in it among the figures of the Renaissance. The culture embraced many cities of Italy, but its center was Florence. It is impossible to say exactly, whether the Renaissance was a world phenomenon or a cultural process inherent only in Italy. Either way, it influenced a bit part of humanity that is hard to evaluate nowadays.

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The main features of the culture of the Renaissance are:
Modification of the medieval Christian tradition
A special attitude to antiquity is the revival of ancient monuments of art and ancient philosophy
A new attitude towards the world
These features are closely related, and should be considered all together.

Chronology of the Italian Renaissance is also connected with the definition of the main features. The time in which these features only barely manifested, is characterized as a Proto-Renaissance; a period of time, when the cultural tradition that meets these traits is clearly traced back to the early Renaissance. The time that has become the flourishing of the ideas and principles of the Renaissance, as well as the eve of its crisis, is usually called the High Renaissance.

The socio-economic factors played a significant role in the birth of the Renaissance, in particular the development of a simple market economy. In many aspects, the cause of the independence of a man and his nascent free-thinking was urban culture. The cities of Italy were famous for a variety of crafts and at the same time were major trading transit cities. Since the Mediterranean Sea was the focus of trade routes, almost all residents benefited from this.

The people of the Renaissance were still people of the Middle Ages, although time made them realize their importance and responsibility for themselves. Without losing God and faith, they perceived themselves in a new way. A modification of the medieval consciousness was concentrated on a keen interest in antiquity. That created a unique culture, which in many ways was only typical for the upper classes of society. Though facing major changes, the Catholic church was reigning in all important parts of social life.

One of the most outstanding personalities of the Renaissance was Leonardo Da Vinci, for his contribution to the development of the culture of mankind. Intelligence and refinement of his activities are still alien even to the highly developed humanity living today. Many historians and scholars regard Leonardo as the prime exemplar of the “Renaissance Man” (Gardner 450). His impact was appreciated during his age as well, as the comprehension of a world filled with divine beauty became a creative task for the people of the Renaissance. Close attention to visual perception, painting and other spatial arts flourished back then. It is them who possessed spatial regularities that allow more accurate and true seeing and capturing the divine beauty. Therefore, the era of the Italian Renaissance has a distinctly artistic character.

A special role in the spiritual culture of this time was given to philosophy, and it had all the features that were mentioned above. However, the most important feature of the philosophy of the Renaissance was the antischolastic orientation of the points of view. Another bright feature is the creation of a new pantheistic picture of the world, which identifies God and nature.

Without doubts, the Renaissance changed the course of human development. This was a manifestation of sublime awareness, without which the next step in the evolution of consciousness would be impossible. Despite the idealistic signs and, sometimes excessive elevation of man over nature and simple problems, the Renaissance returned the society to its cultural origin.

  • Burke, Peter, The European Renaissance: Centre and Peripheries, Blackwell Publishers LTD, 1998
  • Gardner, Helen. Art through the Ages. New York, Harcourt, Brace & World, 1970