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The legacy of the renaissance Essay

The legacy of the renaissance can be described and defined in many ways and through many great people. For example, one of the main figures of the renaissance was “Leonardo Da Vinci” born in Italy during the year1452; he was during his time and is still today considered a true renaissance man. Da Vinci dabbled in almost every aspect of the arts and science. He is most famous however for his painting (Mona Lisa) finished in 1506, but he also worked on designs for weapons and sculpted as well as the study of human anatomy. Leonardo Da Vinci died on May 2nd 1519. And it is said that King Francis was at his side when he died, cradling Leonardo’s head in his arms. Another great figure of the renaissance was the Architect (Andrea Palladio) born in the year 1508, Palladio was a master architect and is often described as the most influential and copied architect in the Western world. Palladio used classical architecture to influence his style and that is what makes him a key figure of the renaissance period. Since the renaissance was based on classical ideals. By the 1540s, Palladio was using classical principles to design a series of country villas and urban palaces for the nobility of Vicenza.

One of his most famous is Villa Capra, also known as the Rotunda, which was modeled after the Roman Pantheon. Palladio also designed the Basilica in Vicenza, and in the 1560s he began work on religious buildings in Venice. Palladio died in the year 1580 but left behind a legacy of architectural works and design plans in a book he published called (The Four Books of Architecture) were widely translated, and Palladio’s ideas spread across Europe and into the New World. American statesman Thomas Jefferson borrowed Palladian ideas when he designed Monticello, his home in Virginia.

A final figure during the renaissance was the sculptor “Donato di Niccolò di Betto Bardi” universally known as Donatello, he was born in Florence around the year 1386 and during his time he created many famous works. One of his most famous is the statue (Saint George) a vigilant marble made for the guildhall of Orsanmichele. Although this is an early piece, it still follows the renaissance tradition of a return to classical themes. During his life Donatello created many beautiful and highly influential works that would later inspire such great artists as (Michelangelo) through the 16th century. Donatello died in the year 1466 in Italy but left behind a true legacy of renaissance art for generations to come.

The leaders of the Reformation were, Martin Luther, Ulrich Zwingli, John Calvin, Thomas Cromwell, Thomas Cranmer, Hugh Latimer and John Knox. The reformation was set in the ideal of building a new Church and new religion. The idea was good but the men who lead this reform were not fit be called human. If you look at the methods they choose to enforce their ideals of religious reformation you will find them to be nothing more than the sick and twisted methods of mad men. Such methods as torture, hangings and drowning were used and condoned in the name of religion and God. Consider the fact that Aldof Hitler studied the writings of “Martin Luther” and implemented many of Luther’s ideas into his own sick design for genocide of the Jewish race it is easy to say that the reformation was again, a good idea but being lead by mad men. The only good thing to come out of the reformation was the “Counter Reformation” the Catholic Church was not totally unprepared for the reformers. They had been fighting opposition, heresy and resistance for over 400 years.

SO when the reformation began the church was preparing its own form of attack or anti reformation. The Counter Reformation movement birthed many groups such as the Modern Devotion and the Oratory of Divine Love were organizations that included both clergy and lay people and encouraged a return to simple ethical living and piety, principles that had been championed by Desiderius Erasmus. But the movement that most concerned the Catholic Church was that of the (Protestant church) the Protestant church was growing beyond the Catholic Church and posed a serious threat to the power that the Catholic Church held. From this concern came “The Council of Trent” The council of Trent was formed in 1545 and lasted for almost 20 years, until 1563. During this time the council worked on the problems in three separate sessions. It was a major undertaking and the outcome was a much needed reform of the Catholic Church but it was still on their terms. Although many issues were addressed and resolved by the council it was too little too late. The Protestant Church had grown too strong and beyond the reach of the Catholic Church.

Although the Catholic Church would remain a major religion, it would in a few short centuries no longer be the leading religion in the western world.The Baroque Age was during the years 1600-1750 A.D. During this time period many great advances in the arts were made but none greater the ones made in music. The word Baroque comes from two words. The first being the French word “baroque” meaning (irregularly shaped pearl) the second being the Portuguese word “barroco” also meaning (irregularly shaped pearl) the Baroque Age was after the Renaissance and in a way was a backlash to the simplicity and ideals of the renaissance period. The Baroque age saw a trend in extravagance, bold ornamentation and flamboyance. There were three major movements during the baroque age. The first being Florid Style. This style was brought to life by the influence of seventeenth-century popes and is easily recognized by identifying its name “florid” with the style.

Think of florid the word. Flowers, bright colors and rich textures and shapes all come to mind. This was the florid style. Second is the Classical style. This style of art had a very secular focus and identified itself with “Absolutism” which at the time was the view of Louis XIV also called the sun king. If you think “absolutism” you can envision straight clean lines, simple geometric shapes and everything coming together in perfect seamless unison. This style would also influence modern art and artists. The third style of baroque art was the Restrained Baroque. This style again, is easily envisioned by simply thinking about its name. Although most restrained baroque art was being done in the northern regions of the world such as the Netherlands, examples can be found in some regions of Italy as well. Some famous artists who practiced this style were, Rembrandt Van Rijn, Jan Vermeer and Anthony Van Dyck.

The Scientific revolution lasted from 1600 to 1715 with its climax between 1685 and 1715. During this time period many great changes took place. First, the changes in astronomy and physics were largely influenced by the new theory that the sun centered the universe as opposed to the old view that the earth centered the universe. This became the official view 1543 and involved an international community of scholars. The result was called “Heliocentrism” Once this was established as fact; people now began to see the universe in a whole new light. Mathematical calculations were now though to be able to unlock the mysteries of nature and mankind. Many key figures of the time such as Nicolas Copernicus, Sir Isaac Newton and Johannes Kepler all made valuable contributions to the scientific revolution and how it was shaped.

There were also conflicts that resulted from this revolution however. The Church, both Catholic and Protestant agreed that this new theory was dangerous and went against the Holy Scripture. The church felt that if the earth was no longer at the center of the universe then neither was man and his place in the divine scheme of things was then reduced. So it was denounced and condemned as a false system. It was not until 1822 that the Roman Catholic Church accepted the theory as true. Also, sects within the Protestant church slowly began to adapt and accept the theory as true.

Thomas Hobbes was born in 1588 in England and theorized that man was incapable of existing without rule over them and in order to for humanity to exist in a civil society they must be ruled by one individual and give up their sovereignity. John Locke was born 1632 in England as well but Locke theorized that people were basically good in nature and could govern themselves but needed a government to protect them instead of ruling them. Both had different points of view on humanity and how a structured system should work but both Hobbes and Locke agreed that a “Social Contract” was needed in order to keep things balanced.

Locke and Hobbes views influenced the Enlightenment but in different ways. Locke’s views influenced the Enlightenment by helping give way to such ideas as better public education and a more liberal government. I can not find how Hobbes views influenced the Enlightenment with the exception of reinforcing the ideals of oppression and fascist rule over the people. The resulting views of government based on these theories were both for the greater good of the people based on Locke’s theory and for the greater good of the government based on Hobbes views.

Works cited.

(1) Western Humanities Vol. II fifth edition

(2) (The Panorama of the Renaissance) Edited by: Margaret Aston, Abradale Press

(3) Various internet research sites.


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