An ideal renaissance man or woman in the fourteenth and fifteenth century, a time when people aspired to be skilled in numerous areas and humanistic education was customary, meant you would have to stand out from the rest. Pico della Mirandola theories in Oration on the Dignity of Man sum up the ideal Renaissance man. He proclaimed that individuals face no limits to their development except those that are self-imposed (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia).
In theory only one can hinder their own success. The ideal renaissance man had a broad base in knowledge or was highly skilled in the arts, music or literature. Some lived up to being ideal just because they were bold or unique. The ideal renaissance man was respected by his peers and his knowledge and abilities were often required by the patrons of this era. Ingeniously, some individuals happened to be masters of art, engineering, and even anatomy all at the same time.
Mostly men, renaissance contributors did not normally encourage women to participate during this time. Women were encouraged to fit the profile of wives and mothers and their political rights at this point were still kind of limited. Nevertheless, there were many that fit the description of an ideal renaissance women. One unique women of this time was Laura Cereta. A writer who struggled with heavy criticism from her cohorts because of her scholarly pursuits.
In response to both the men and women who were judgmental of her, Laura wrote two letters “that were penned to answer both critics: a defense of learning aimed at male humanists and a defense of her vocation directed toward her female critics” (Cunningham 289). Laura’s heated verbiage in these letters won her great recognition and respect. In describing an ideal renaissance man Leonardo Davinchi owned up to that title for his many achievements. He donated to us many chemical theories, the air balloon, the telescope, and trigonometry. He was a plethora of knowledge.
He was also recognized for his many works of art known all around the world today, The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper for example. He was diverse in his thinking and saw many of his ideas through. He was a living example and true to Leon Alberti’s (1404–72) quote: that “men can do all things if they will. ” The Renaissance is understood as a historical era of cultural movements. Its contributors are termed “Ideal Renaissance Men and Women” for making it possible. Even so, they continued to pursue more knowledge and abilities. For this, they were ideal renaissance people of their time.
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