In mid to late 14th Century, the Renaissance rose in Italy. Renaissance came with vast transformations in art and thought that led to the changes in the Italian culture. These transformations resulted in the realignment of the direction of Western civilization. The Renaissance renewed classical perspectives to learning in a style that separated with the gothic outlook of Christianity (Hunt 1343). The Renaissance humanists were not anti-Christian, but these individuals admired the strength in this life rather than looking at the future.
Furthermore, Renaissance humanists did not focus on renouncing earthly aspirations for the scrutiny of God, but cultivated self-excellence, searched the recognition of their success in their doings, and ventured into the exploration of their personalities. These acts of individualism were expressed through the deep understanding of the classics, as was for the case of the deep thinkers of the Twelfth-Century Awakening; Renaissance scholars treasured and embraced classical learning. Moreover, these scholars focused deeply on the classical texts and appreciated them for their benefits. The Renaissance humanists had so much belief in the classical teachings, and they thought these lessons would give them an insight about life, civic duty, and graceful expression (Hunt 1348). Nevertheless, these thinkers, unlike their gothic forebears, did not carry these teachings as timeless wisdom but analyzed them critically in their historical frame.
In Italy, the renaissance unfolded in the time of political fragmentation. Apart from the forty years of relative peace that was experienced, the peninsula was significantly divided by warfare among the states of Italy. This took place from 1494 to 1559, and it was between France and Spain. In the early fifteenth century, humanism begun in Florence and became the principle channel of classical revival. The influential family of Medici, Coluccio and Leonardo expressed the studia humanitatis as an educational program aimed at and having the foundation of the study of the Greek and Roman Authors of the classical period. The civic humanisms goal was to educate aristotactic men for public affairs and representation (Hunt 1352). These humanists believed in the glorification of Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio as distinguished forebears, since both men stressed on the study of classical languages, grammar, religion, moral philosophy, poetry, and history. Men and women were allowed to take these studies; however, there was a limitation since only men were allowed to take up rhetoric, mathematics, and science.
Among the known philosophies, humanism was not considered to be one, but it was a fundamental tool for the works in history, social thought, and philosophy. According to the scholars of Byzantine, a big number of humanists had an exemplary insight of Greek and studied Platonism and Aristotle lessons in their day to day activities (Hunt 1358). The Greek philosophy guided many humanists and they came up with vast secular ideas on the human soul, ethics and the power of reasoning.
These individuals regularly looked into the teachings of the past historians for cultivation of significant awareness of history, moral guidance and for political direction; and they used these teachings in developing their own works in the historical frontier. The secular humanism in Florentine was blown by rapid and violent reaction from Christians led by Savonarola. Machiavelli derived a theory on secularism in which leaders maintained civil order by using harsh policies and actions (Hunt 1374). This political sphere focused on the realities of the sixteenth-century politics, as Castigliones social deal did.
There was a split between Renaissance art and medieval past on the form of humanity and natural world. This break was spearheaded by Vasari and Alberti, who developed mathematical principles on the perspective and redefinition of Renaissance as a distinct age, period of medieval decay and a cultural rebirth. During the early Renaissance, painters, sculptors and architects came up with the human image that formed the focal point to which their activities were inclined to. For example, Brunelleschi used the fundamentals of linear perspective in his respective art, while Donatello modeled the shapes of their figures. Botticelli, on the other hand, experimented with a whole range of techniques, like color and sculptural precision (Hunt 1390).
Most Renaissance artists of today learned from the works of their predecessors and implemented the lessons in a style that is governed by simplicity, classical balance, and harmony. For instance, Leonardo da Vinci championed the discovery of circular motion, painting, and pyramidal design to arrange figures harmoniously and realistically. Michelangelo discovered the sculpturing of a range of emotional and physical tension. As a painter, he diligently used the proportions of figures to fit the alignment of space while giving them monumental definition and weigh (Hunt 1408). In addition, he was a prominent poet and an architect.
Another recognized Renaissance individual was Raphael who brought pyramidal design to its highest clarity in Madonna-and-Child paintings and impressive schools in Athens. There was a revolution of color in the introduction of oil paints (Hunt 1410). The design of modeling was derived by Titian on his figures using color rather than line; in addition, he used tone to create individualized portraits. Tintoretto developed a style in mannerism with his earthly light and unusual perspective lines.
Due to the sixteenth-century disturbance in politics and religion, mannerism broke the high reconnaissance harmony and balance. Parmagianino, who was a painter, cultivated irregular human proportions, discord, instability, and used eccentric colors. Sofonsiba also acquired a significant fame as a skilful painter of psychologically insightful portraits, and Vasari very known for his artistic paintings and a successful architect (Hunt 1458).
Music did not experience a significant transformation during this time of Renaissance. Italian composers developed secular and sacred music in medieval polyphonic style. Nevertheless, intermezzi was composed in the sixteenth century and was used as interludes during plays (Hunt 1380).
In conclusion, Renaissance art, and medieval world view was faced with a huge drift. This drift occurred in the area of reasoning and earthly human achievement that Renaissance thinkers introduced in the modern image that is still familiar to us today. By viewing history as an evolution process, these individuals developed the idea of progress that continues to transform our notions of history today.
Hunt, Lynn, et al. "The making of the West." The American Historical Review105.5 (2000).Panofsky, Erwin. "Renaissance and renascences in western art." (1961).
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