The Renaissance: Transforming Europe through Art, Literature, and Science

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The Renaissance was a transformative period in European history that lasted for around 300 years, marking the transition from the Middle Ages to the modern era. During this time, significant changes occurred in various aspects of society, including art, literature, and science, which ultimately led to a shift in man's view of himself and the world around him. In this essay, we will explore how the Renaissance changed Europe by examining the evolution of art, literature, and science during this period.

Artistic Revolution of the Renaissance

One of the most notable changes during the Renaissance was the revolution in art.

Artists began to move away from the rigid religious themes of the Middle Ages and embraced a more humanistic approach to their work. A prime example of this shift can be seen in comparing the paintings of Duccio di Buoninsegna's "Madonna Enthroned Between Two Angels" to Leonardo Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa." While the former adhered to traditional religious motifs, the latter introduced a new style characterized by realistic landscapes and three-dimensional figures.

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This new artistic freedom allowed artists to explore the complexities of human emotions and experiences, thus changing man's view of himself as a subject worthy of artistic representation.

Literary Exploration of Human Nature

Literature also played a crucial role in reshaping man's view of himself during the Renaissance. Writers like William Shakespeare and the author of "Everyman" began to portray humans as god-like creatures capable of beauty and greatness. In Shakespeare's play "Hamlet," the line "in apprehension how like a god!" reflects the newfound admiration for human potential.

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Similarly, the author of "Everyman" challenges the notion of inherent sinfulness by suggesting that humans are capable of sweetness and beauty. Through these literary works, people were encouraged to see themselves as divine creations deserving of respect and admiration.

Scientific Revolution and the Cosmos

Another significant aspect of the Renaissance that changed man's view of himself was the revolution in astronomy. Copernicus's theory of the heliocentric universe challenged the prevailing belief in a geocentric model, where the earth was considered the center of the universe. This new understanding of the cosmos not only expanded human knowledge but also challenged the authority of the Church, which had long held sway over scientific and philosophical thought. By embracing the heliocentric model, people began to see themselves as part of a vast and dynamic universe, rather than the center of it.

Overall, the Renaissance was a period of profound transformation that reshaped Europe in fundamental ways. Through the exploration of art, literature, and science, people began to see themselves in a new light, as beings capable of beauty, greatness, and understanding. The legacy of the Renaissance continues to influence our modern world, reminding us of the power of human creativity and innovation in shaping our view of ourselves and the world around us.

Works Cited

  1. Bluestone, Barry, and Mary Huff Stevenson. The Boston Renaissance: Race, Space, and Economic Change in an American Metropolis. New York, Russell Sage Foundation, 2000.
  2. Hay, Jeff. The Renaissance. San Diego, CA, Greenhaven Press, 2002.
  3. “The Renaissance.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, .
  4. Wayland, Scott. “Religious Change and the Renaissance Elegy.” English Literary Renaissance, vol. 39, no. 3, 2009, pp. 429–459.


Updated: Feb 15, 2024
Cite this page

The Renaissance: Transforming Europe through Art, Literature, and Science. (2016, May 10). Retrieved from

The Renaissance: Transforming Europe through Art, Literature, and Science essay
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