The Renaissance was a period in European history covering the span between the 14th and 17th centuries and stating the transition from the Middle Ages to modernity. The Renaissance was a very important time in history that helped shape the world to what it is now. This movement taught us the importance of looking in the past to help guide our inspirations with todays issues. The renaissance was a period in European History where influences were felt in literature, music, art, politics, religion, and science.
The Renaissance started approximately around the year of 1300. It started between the fall of ancient Rome and the beginning of the 14th century. It started by the European people making advancements in science and art. This movement started when humanism started to take over in Italy. Humanism promoted the idea of man being the center of his own universe, and people should embrace human achievements in education, classical arts, literature and science.
The Renaissance started in Florence, Italy, a place that had a lot of wealthy people and could afford to support artists.
The movement started to expand to other cities in Italy. Then in the 15th century, the ideas of the Renaissance started to spread from Italy to France, eventually spreading throughout western and northern Europe.
The origins of Renaissance art can be traced to Italy in the late 13th and early 14th century. A lot of Renaissance art depicted religious images, including subjects such as the Virgin Mary. Today, they are viewed as great works of art but at the time that these artworks were created, they were devotional objects.
Renaissance artworks were also commonly painted for altarpieces for rituals involving the Catholic Mass. Renaissance artists usually started off as apprentices before being admitted to a professional guild and working under a older master. Three of the most known artists from the Renaissance were Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael. Leonardo da Vinci best known artworks were “Mona Lisa”, “The Virgin of the Rocks”, and the “Last Supper”. These paintings showed his ability to use light and shadow, as well as the physical relationship between figures, animals, and objects alike- and the landscape around them. Michelangelo drew on the human body for inspiration and created works on a broad scale. He made pieces such as the Pieta in St. Peters Cathedral and the David in his native Florence. Michelangelo considered himself a sculptor before anything, but he also achieved greatness as a painter as well. One of his most famous paintings was his giant fresco covering the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel that took him four years to complete. Raphael was the youngest out of the three painters and learned his ways through Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci. Raphael is most known for his painting of “The School of Athens” located in the Vatican. This painting showed his skill to show classical ideals of beauty, serenity, and harmony.
Religion during the Renaissance started to get questioned. The main religion during the Renaissance was Christianity and the main church was the Catholic Church. People of the Renaissance started to question the Roman Catholic church because of the new idea of humanism. In the 16th century, a German monk by the name of Martin Luther led the Protestant Reformation. This reformation was a revolutionary movement that split the Catholic Church. Martin Luther questioned the ways and the practices of the Church and whether they were correct with the Bible. As a result, a new form of Christianity was formed and practiced called Protestantism.
During the Renaissance period, literature developed rapidly in Italy, France, Spain, and England. In the 15th century, the invention of the printer came about and helped literature spread more quickly to a larger audience. Renaissance authors embraced humanism by injecting a measure of realism into the characters, plots, and settings of this new literature, distinguishing it from medieval work. One of the most known literature writers of the Renaissance is Dante. Dante is known as one of the greatest epic poets of the Middle Ages. His masterwork of the “Divine Comedy” is still talked about today. This poem described the authors journey through purgatory, hell, and heaven and provides a detailed account of the medieval Christian view on the universe.
Scientific studies during the Renaissance changed a lot of people’s mind on how the universe works. Copernicus said that the Sun, not the Earth, was the center of the solar system. This study known as the term “heliocentric” created a breakthrough in the history of science. Galileo improved the telescope, discovered new celestial bodies and found support for a heliocentric solar system. Galileo also conducted experiments on falling objects that paved the way for Isaac Newton’s discoveries about gravity.
Renaissance music was European classical music written during the Renaissance from about 1400-1600. The increasing reliance on the interval of the third as a consonance is one of the most pronounced features of Renaissance art music. Polyphony is a texture using two or more independent melodic voices. This style of music became very popular in the 14th century. The 15th century Renaissance music showed simplification, with the musician voices striving for smoothness. The modal characteristics of Renaissance music began to break down towards the end of the period with the increased use of root motions of fifths. The common sacred genres of Renaissance music were the mass, the motet, the madrigale spirituale, and the laude. Masses were polyphonic, which means they had two more melody lines. Motets were also polyphonic, but it contained a highly varied choral musical composition. Madrigale spirituale is a madrigal-like piece of music with a sacred rather than secular text. The laude was the most important form of vernacular sacred in Italy of the Renaissance.
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