The Renaissance (from the French word meaning “rebirth” or “regeneration”) is the period of time after the Middle Ages. The dates of the beginning and end of the Renaissance vary, but most see it as occuring between the 14th and 16th centuries.
During the Middle Ages, wars were frequent. The Church leaders and kings dictated the lives of all, and were often prejudiced and merciless in their decisions. In the 14th century, in Italy, things start to change. A movement of “humanists”, led by the Italian Petrarch, rediscovered the works and ideals of the ancient Greeks and Romans. These cultures did not have the Church as an authority figure, so the people were not simply members of the Church, but individuals. The people of Germany, France and the Netherlands eventually followed the Italians in their return to the individualist lifestyle of the ancient pagans. Because they had more individual freedom, the great thinkers of the time discovered numerous inventions and theories. The sections covered in this report will be Art, Science, and Exploration.
RENAISSANCE AND ART
The Renaissance saw many developments in sculpting and painting techniques. Also, the Renaissance is probably the period in which most of the best known artists lived.
Masaccio (Tomasso di Giovanni di Simoe Cassai), born in 1401, is known as “the father of modern painting”. Born in Italy, he influenced later artists such as Michelangelo and Raphael. He was the first of the Renaissance painters to use perspective. In “The Healing of the Cripple and the Resurrection of Tabitha”, Masaccio paints the people in the background smaller and slants the roofs of buildings to give the impression of depth. This technique had not been used since the fall of the Romans.
... Religious establishment went through many changes during the Renaissance. People relied less on the church for guidance and focused more on their inner ... efforts paid off and many people reverted back to the Church, although Protestantism still remained strong. During the Renaissance people expressed individuality in their ...
The most famous of Renaissance painters is Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo was a “Renaissance Man”: he had many skills and made important discoveries in many fields. Today, he is known and admired for all his achievements, but, during his lifetime, he was known almost only as an artist.
Leonardo was born April 15, 1452, near Vinci, Italy. He left home in or around 1469 to become an apprentice to Andrea Verrocchio, a well-known painter of the time. His first major works, notably the unfinished “Adoration of the Magi”, were completed in this time period.
He moved to Milan in 1482, where he became interested in other fields, notably mechanics, anatomy, biology, mathematics, and physics. He wrote his thoughts and discoveries in notebooks. He did continue painting, and he completed The Last Supper (a huge mural, known as Leonardo’s best work) while in Milan. He left Milan and moved to Florence in 1500, where he painted, among others, the Mona Lisa. However, Leonardo was slowly painting less to concentrate on his theoretical research. He died May 2, 1519, near Cloux, France, where he had lived in a castle with King Francis I.
RENAISSANCE AND SCIENCE
Before the Renaissance, religion and science were almost synonyms. All scientists and people accepted the views of the Bible or ancient thinkers like Aristotle. The Renaissance saw the beginning of the Scientific Revolution in Europe, and many scientists invented theories that directly contradicted the accepted views of the people.
Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543) discovered that the Earth revolves around the sun. However, the “founder of modern astronomy” was Johannes Kepler (1571-1630).
Kepler invented three laws of planetary motion that disproved the common belief that the stars rotated around the Earth. They are as follows:
1. The shape of each planet’s orbit is an ellipse, with the sun at one focus.
2. If an imaginary line is drawn from the sun to the planet, the line will sweep out equal areas in space in equal periods of time for all points in the orbit.
There are two eras in the history of Western Art that had many achievements from art to music and literature. The period following the middle ages called the Renaissance was a cultural movement that began from the late 13th century to the 17th century. The arts, music and literature that came out of this period helped in developing the Baroque period which coincided with the 17th century. These ...
3. The ratio of the cube of the semimajor axis of the ellipse (the average distance of the planet from the sun) to the square of the planet’s period (the time it takes to go around the sun, a year) is the same for all planets.
Galileo Galilei discovered many laws of physics and planetary motion. When he was 19, he discovered that each oscillation of a pendulum always takes the same time (the principle of isochronism).
He made discoveries about the gravity of falling bodies. He found that bodies do not fall with a velocity proportional to their weight, a contradiction of the earlier law of Aristotle.
Galileo also discovered that a thrown projectile follows a parabola, and anticipated the laws of motion discovered by Newton. He constructed the first astronomical telescope and used it to find Jupiter’s four largest satellites. When he published the “Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems” which demonstrated that the Earth revolved around the sun, Galileo was brought before the Inquisition in 1633. The Inquisition made Galileo renounce all his beliefs and writings.
RENAISSANCE AND EXPLORATION
Before the Renaissance, exploration was not common. The only voyages that are noteworthy are that of Eric the Red to Greenland in or around 982 and of Leif Ericsson to Vinland (Nova Scotia) in or around 1000. However, the Renaissance saw many changes in geography, including the discovery of a new continent.
Christopher Columbus, the best-known of the explorers, was born in Genoa in 1451. As a boy, he became initiated to sailing by one of his kinsmen, a sea captain. While living as a map drawer in Portugal, he concluded that it would be possible to sail to India by going directly west, instead of going through the Mediterranean Sea. After 8 years of pleading the Spanish and French governments, Spain’s King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella I gave him a grant to lead an expedition to the west. After a long voyage, on October 12, 1492, Columbus and his fleet of 3 ships landed on what is believed to be the Bahama island of San Salvador. Columbus still believed he had reached India. He went on to discover Cuba (which he believed was Japan) and Hispaniola. Columbus set sail for Spain on January 14, 1493. A storm blew the only remaining ship of his fleet off course to Portugal, but Columbus arrived in Spain in mid-March. The King and Queen, pleased with the results of the first expedition, financed a larger, 17 ship expedition which explored the West Indies for 4 years. Columbus led a third expedition, but he was chained and sent home by his men. On his fourth expedition, he explored Central America and Jamaica.
How would western civilization be different if Christopher Columbus had not discovered America?" Many circumstances led to Christopher Columbus' discovery of America in 1492. He was born in the port city of Genoa, Italy. He learned the skills of seamanship from working on the sardine fishing fleets. It is also probable that his father owned his own coastal schooner used for trading wool. He had no ...
Columbus died shortly after this expedition, in 1506, bitter because he had not found the treasures of India, and unaware that he had discovered a new continent.
Other explorers went from where Columbus had left off. Ferdinand Magellan led an expedition which went around the world. Hernando Cortez sailed to Mexico, where he conquered and eventually destroyed the Aztec empire of Montezuma. Francisco Pizarro conquered Peru. At this point in history, Spain was quickly gaining new lands and riches and becoming the most powerful European country. English, French and Dutch explorers would soon come to claim territories for their homeland. This led to the colonisation of the Americas and the rise of the French and English empires.
The Renaissance ended in the late 16th and 17th centuries. The sense of individualism was becoming for many an excuse to do anything, and thus lust, treason, assassinations and violence grew steadily. However, the Renaissance saw the beginning of many important inventions in all domains. Other than those already covered in this report, paper, the compass, gunpowder, printing, coins and the use of diplomacy instead of brute force as a determining factor in certain wars were all Renaissance innovations. The governments and churches did not wield a tyrannic power as they did before. Obedience of authority was being replaced by balance of power.
The period of time produced by these changes and the downfall of the Renaissance became known as the Age of Reason or the Enlightenment. Rationalist, humanitarian, liberal and scientific are all adjectives that can be used to define the typical Enlightened person.