The Italian Renaissance: (14th-17th Century)

    Owing to wars, disease, and famine, Europeans lost considerable amount of knowledge and scholarship in the medieval era. Besides, the church and its teachings had deeply subdued the European society. From the 14th century however Europe experienced what became known as the Renaissance. The French word “renaissance” means “rebirth”. It was a movement that started in Florence Italy and then began to spread across the Europe from the mid-14 century. This movement was premised on rediscovery of the culture of ancient Greece and Rome, which in Russell’s words was “modern as opposed to the medieval outlook”, and this influenced both science and arts alike.

    Europeans resurrected and rediscover ancient thinking and culture throughout the Renaissance. But fresh, creative concepts and methods also emerged and spread over the continent.

    There was the idea of Renaissance Man. He was such an individual whose expertise and curiosity extended to a range of diverse subjects. During this era, polymaths, scilicet Leonardo da Vinci, were produced who mastered disciplines from arts to science. In order to create realistic and detailed paintings, da Vinci would study human anatomy, and to make suitable paints, he would study chemistry.

    As mentioned previously, Renaissance was about rediscovering the ancient art and culture, but it was not merely aping them, rather classical texts inspired thinkers to emulate and even surpass the work of philosophers such as Aristotle. This point can be substantiated by Renaissance Aristotelianism. A system of sentences known as an Aristotelianism is founded on ideas or foundations whose significance is so clear-cut as to not need further justification (definitions) or evidence (axioms and postulates). Any additional concepts that appear in the system must be defined using these terms. Any additional sentences that are a part of the system must be logically inferable from the core statements. Because Aristotle was believed to have uncovered the ultimate principles of reality, the search for the principles of demonstration was disregarded. This idea began to change during Renaissance. Owing to the immense amount of scientific material which the Renaissance had recovered, a shift was witnessed from deductive to inductive science.

    There was a concept of Renaissance Humanism that placed mankind at the center of the universe. Humanists held that learning should be centred around studying people rather than God. To assist students become contributing members of society, they looked to writings from antiquity, particularly in the areas of grammar, history, and the art of persuasion. Instead of God, they credited people for human accomplishments.

    Along with preserving the human spirit, new approaches to art presentation were investigated. New techniques were created by Renaissance artists to enhance the realism of their work. In order to give scenes depth, they began to use perspective, which makes things painted on a flat surface appear closer or farther away. Renaissance painting appeared more three-dimensional due to the use of light and shade.

    Suffice to say, Renaissance was a watershed movement that affected both science and arts. This era produced many influential and competent literati and polymaths. This movement explored those elements and aspects in various disciplines which were previously clandestine to scholars.

For a wise man there is nothing invisible 

–Filippo Brunelleschi 

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post