To answer this question, first of all, let us try to understand what it is. It is generally agreed today that the Renaissance is a cultural and philosophical trend (from the 14th till the 17th century) based on humanism and interest in antiquity.
Let us start with considering the main characteristics of this period. First and foremost it is the interest to classical Greek philosophy. Religion comes to the second plan. Church still took an important place in peoples life, but the person, a real human being, and the happiness of a real man\woman became the most important. The philosophy of humanism became very famous and started influencing the art. The philosophy of humanism made a psychological aspect of a person the most important. A person became the center of the world. The humanists believed in a perfect man with an ideal mind and perfect body. (as in antique art tradition). A vivid example for this idea may be the statue called David made by Michelangelo Buonarroti. This work represents the idea of a perfect appearance and personal qualities in a marble image of a hero (beauty and the philosophic idea in one masterpiece).Renaissance humanists didnt turn Christianity down. Many of the famous artists made some of their masterpieces under the patronage of Church. The greatest works based on religious themes was done in a combination with the ideas of humanism. For example, such masterpiece as Leonardo da Vincis The Last Supper and Michelangelos The Creation of Adam in The Sistine Chapel ceiling.
Studying of perspective, light, and shadow made the painters change their artistic method. They started to portray people and nature realistically developing their techniques of using light and perspective. We can see this conception in works if such great artists as Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci, and Raphael.
The interest in the ancient tradition in architecture was started with the study of the remains of ancient classical buildings by the famous architect Filippo Brunelleschi. He formulated the style of Renaissance architecture. This style is characterized by proportion, symmetry, and the regularity of parts (as in ancient Roman architecture), and also by using columns according to tradition of roman orders, and also by using pilasters, semicircular arches, hemispherical domes, and various niches. The most famous examples of this architectural style are: the main work of Filippo Brunelleschi - The dome of Florence Cathedral (Basilica di Santa Maria del Fiore); Palazzo Medici Riccardi by Michelozzo in Florence.
The most interesting in this cultural period is the philosophy of humanism and the works of such authors as Niccolo Machiavelli and his followers. The most significant is the representation of the philosophical ideas in art. In conclusion, I can say that this cultural period made the base for the European culture.
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