Renaissance means rebirth. It is the period of European history between the 14th and 17th centuries which was distinguished by the following:
A rejuvenated desire for the sciences
A revived interest in the culture of the ancient Greeks and the ancient Romans,
A resurrected passion in the re-birth of ancient Greco-Roman values after the “dark” Middle Ages
A regenerated zeal in the values of the classical world which fueled robust activity in the areas of classical art, literature and philosophy
Classical Humanism, Naturalism, perspective drawing, and the development of oil painting were key elements and principles in the art of the Italian Renaissance.
8 facts that are important to know in order to understand the Renaissance:
1: The Renaissance thrived in Italy due to the country’s abundant wealth and riches. Italian city states were industrial powerhouses, for example, Florence specialized in cloth and Milan in arms. Venice and Genoa also became extremely rich through trade with the Ottoman Empire. Artists depended entirely on patrons (wealthy individuals) while the patrons needed money to promote artistic talent.
2: The fall of Constantinople in 1453 and the printing revolution birthed by the invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in 1436 accelerated the growth, development and spread of the Renaissance
3: The Renaissance was intellectually grounded on its own version of humanism which was derived from the study of five humanities, namely: history, grammar, moral philosophy, poetry, and rhetoric.
4: The widely distributed works of Francesco Petrarca, the Italian scholar and poet who is considered the Father of the Renaissance and founder of Humanism led to the intellectual blossoming of the Renaissance.
5: Renaissance is most famous for its artistic achievements, for example, the Florentine painter and architect, Giotto di Bondone, who, aside from painting some of the most well-known masterpieces of the Early Renaissance, is credited for reversing the decline in visual arts following the collapse of the Roman Empire. In essence, Giotto rejected the prevalent Byzantine style and introduced the techniques of drawing accurately from life.
6: Some of the most famous works of art were executed during the Renaissance. The High Renaissance is a term used to describe the glory days of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), Michelangelo (1475-1564) and Raphael (1483-1520) form the ternate of great masters of the High Renaissance. Together they created some of the most famous works in western art. For example, Da Vinci’s painting, “Mona Lisa,” Michelangelo’s statue of “David,” and Raphael’s fresco “The School of Athens.”
7: The Renaissance was a major contributing factor in starting the Protestant Reformation. Following the high-profile accusations of corruptions against the most powerful institution in Europe, the Roman Catholic Church, the German priest, Martin Luther and Dutch priest, Erasmus, proposed reforms to the Church, which was based on widely spread pamphlets of humanist textual criticism of the New Testament. In essence, Renaissance’s Humanism championed by the aforementioned printing revolution helped to ignite the Protestant Reformation, which resulted in many people leaving the Catholic Church and joining the growing number of Protestant churches. Reformation was a major point in European history which had far-reaching effects on all spheres of western life.
8: The development of inductive reasoning led to scientists challenging antiquated traditions and belief systems resulting in major advancements in science as the Renaissance progressed. For example, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler and even Sir Isaac Newton are all major scientists of the Renaissance.