Change Over Time: The Renaissance

By Carys Obertone

Olivia's Classical Cloud

Renaissance Dance by Olivia's Classical Cloud

Renaissance Art + Music = A Time of Luxury

What was the change?

Coming back from the Dark Ages, where they focused on survival, people in the Renaissance were soon interested in history and had time for luxury. The discoveries made by different people led to a change in humanity. Literature, art, science, politics, and religion were restored and impacted. Finding out about the past connected old and new societies by restoring the gap in history. Individuality was also becoming more prominent, especially with artists, who could now be known all over and actually sign their works, unlike the Middle Ages. Now, instead of someone being specialized or known for one job, it was actually better to have multiple talents. This led to many people becoming "Renaissance Men" and these people were very productive. Education also grew to educate people in the different fields they wanted to pursue. Since having many talents was common, art and literature grew, this led to many people creating their own ideals of beauty and learning. With a time of prosperity and growth, people started to be proud of their cities.

At a Glance; The Renaissance Society:

Who were the people associated with the change?

Humanists & Writers:

  • Petrarch: He was moved by the criticism of history and questioned the past to further society. He became known as the founder of humanism while attempting to connect the classical past to Christianity. Due to living on a papal court site in Avignon, France, he had many connections to the Church. Petrarch soon changed his life path by abandoning law and then pursued literature. His literature contained influence from classical literature and ancient manuscripts. He ended up producing many of his own writings about love, biographies, and epic poems.
  • Desiderius Erasmus: He was a Christian humanist who refused to accept Martin Luther's arguments because they opposed the basic teachings of the Church. While he wrote books criticizing the Catholic Church, he was still a strong Christian who influenced the Reformation with his writing.
  • Dante: He was a poet who wrote in his local language, which was Italian. His most known work is The Divine Comedy which contains three parts; Inferno, Purgatory, and Paradise.

Art Influences:

  • De Medici's: They were a family of wealthy bankers who were patrons of the arts in Florence.
  • Leonardo Da Vinci: He was an influential artist of the Renaissance who contributed many works including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. He was also known for his inventions. Da Vinci was commonly known as a true Renaissance Man due to his many talents and successes.
  • Michelangelo: He was another influential artist who contributed to society with his sculptures and paintings. He created art with religious undertones. Even with conflicts involving the Church, he used art to portray a side of religion that many people could agree on. His more famous works are the sculpture of David and the artwork on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

The "Fixers" of Society:

  • Leonardo Bruni: Florence's patriotic leader who used classical teaching to help fix problems such as attacks from their rivals. He also used Roman literature to instill patriotism in their country. Bruni was a prime example of using history and building on it to advance.
  • Laurentius Valla: Simply put, he was a harsh critic. Once he demonstrated the false authority of the Donation of Constantine, he soon questioned Livy's authority. His questioning and proving of false authority allowed for a shift in society that disproved ancient myths and questioning of the ways of the past.

Inferno is a part of the Divine Comedy. It was amazing, so is this song. Coincidence? I think not

Sir Sly

Sir Sly - Inferno ft. Lizzy Plapinger of MS MR by Sir Sly

And did this time prosper? YES!

How did the change impact the society at the time?

Religious reforms, thanks to the humanist movement, allowed the Church to unite, become less corrupt, and even separate into different sects due to a difference in beliefs. This occurred mainly because of the printing of the Bible which led to a way of thinking never thought of before and the noticing of corruptness in the society. Humanism also restored older education. The society went from just surviving to prospering in education because of the discoveries of Greek and Roman culture in the Byzantine Empire's libraries. With the improvement of the printing press, education, reading, and literature came about because of easy access. What made literature and education more common? The vernacular language. People soon began printing and writing in a local language that commoners could understand. Before this time, all writing was in Latin and only a few could read it, but now it was easier to read AND you had easy access. An increase of thought was due to many discoveries at the time. Once they discovered remains of past societies, the science of archaeology was awoken. This science was often a criticism of the past, which allowed society to advance and move forward from the past. While many other discoveries took place, a helpful one was the discovery of Plato's philosophy which was a way of increasing modern thought.

How is that change evident in today's modern society?

This was the first time a society had a real sense of patriotism. Being proud of our country is still a strong belief today. A representative government was an idea from Leonardo Bruni. This form of government influences our government today. The idea of humanism allowed people to believe that they can think on their own and have their own opinion. Today we have many freedoms that allow individuality and an ability to vote. Humanism also contributed to flexible thinking and many people now noticed all the possibilities of life and the ability to pursue those possibilities. Having a local language or vernacular is still used today and influences much of our writing based on the setting. We also have patrons of the arts today. Artwork is still extremely important in today's society and it is considered a luxury. Today, simply by buying an artist's work, you are supporting them.

During the Renaissance, there were many changes in society due to the uncovering of corruption. Today, if corruption is found, we address it and go through many steps until it is fixed (reforms in the government, *hint hint*).

Finally, as a "Renaissance Man" was the ideal man in the Renaissance, it is still common for an ideal man to have many talents and be educated. This idea was brought about because people realized if you are good at only one thing (specialized workers), no matter how good you are at that one thing, you are actually pretty boring. Once you are able to do more, then you will become more appealing In our society. Many ideal men are singers, dancers, writers, actors, or even a mix of these. The reason for this is the abundance of talents is impressive and appealing. How can you get bored?

In reality, the Renaissance made modern society.