The Renaissance was a period of time from the 14th to the 17th century in Europe. This era bridged the time between the Middle Ages and modern times. The word “Renaissance” means “rebirth”.
Coming out of the Dark
The Middle Ages began with the fall of the Roman Empire. Much of the advances in science, art, and government that had been made by the Greeks and Romans were lost during this time. Part of the Middle Ages is actually called the Dark Ages because of this.
The Renaissance was a time of “coming out of the dark”. It was a rebirth of education, science, art, literature, music, and a better life for people in general.
The Renaissance was a time of creativity and change in Europe. It was a rebirth of cultural and intellectual pursuits after the stagnation of the Middle Ages. The Renaissance produced a golden age with many achievements in art, literature, and science, but most importantly, it produced a new concept of how people thought of themselves, each other, and the world around them. The Renaissance was centered in Italy during the 1300s, before spreading throughout Europe in the 1500 and 1600s.
A Cultural Movement
A big part of the Renaissance was a cultural movement called humanism. Humanism was a philosophy that all people should strive to be educated and learned in the classical arts, literature, and science. It looked for realism and human emotion in art. It also said that it was okay for people to pursue comfort, riches, and beauty.
The Renaissance started in Florence, Italy and spread to other city-states in Italy. Part of the reason it began in Italy was because of the history of Rome and the Roman Empire. Another reason it began in Italy was because Italy had become very wealthy and the wealthy families were willing to spend their money supporting artists and geniuses.
City-states played a big role in the rule of Italy at the time. They were often ruled by a powerful family. Some important city-states included Florence, Milan, Venice, and Ferrara.
The term Renaissance Man refers to a person that is an expert and talented in many areas. The true geniuses of the Renaissance were great examples of this. Leonardo da Vinci was a master painter, sculptor, scientist, inventor, architect, engineer, and writer. Michelangelo was also a superb painter, sculptor, and architect.
Facts about the Renaissance
- New concept of art & architecture.
- Literature spreads Renaissance ideas in common (=vernacular) languages: Shakespeare, Dante and Cervantes, among other writers.
- New technology: printing press by Gutemberg was necessary to spread new ideas.
- Scientific revolution gives a different image of our world.