The Renaissance majorly Impacted our world


The Period of 1400 - 1650

Renaissance, originally a French term literally meaning “rebirth,” pertaining to cultural history, the word "renaissance" is now typically employed to describe the arts in Italy from the early 14th to the mid-16th centuries. During this period in European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages and predictably held to have been characterized by an outpouring of interest in Classical scholarship and values. The Renaissance also witnessed the discovery and exploration of new continents, the substitution of the Copernican for the Ptolemaic system of astronomy, the decline of the feudal system and the growth of commerce, and the invention of such potentially influential innovations. The scholars and thinkers of the day, however, it was primarily a time of the revival of Classical learning and wisdom after a long period of cultural decline and stagnation.

Historical Paintings 'The School of Athens' and the 'The Last Supper"

The Influence of Cultural, Politics and Religion

Enlightenment Influence

From the thirteenth century, European society evolved from a primarily agrarian to an urban system. Fueled by the international trade in raw and manufactured goods, the independent city-states became vital commercial centers. Commerce created a more fluid social structure, one that rewarded personal ability and encouraged political effectiveness. The established hereditary nobility still existed, but gradually it came to wield less influence as the new middle class of tradesmen, artisans, and bankers formed an increasingly important social group with great economic power.

From the fifteenth and sixteenth-century, world was shaped by historical events and technological inventions. Precise tools of measurement like the magnetic compass facilitated the navigation of the globe which, in turn, brought about economic and political expansion, as well as intellectual and technological exchanges—even a radical change in diet. Gunpowder, originally invented in China, led to the development of firearms and cannons, which initiated a new era in warfare. Mass printing was made possible by the development of movable type, which also had been used previously by the Chinese. This changed the face of Europe, contributing to the standardization of language, and allowing more people access to more texts.

Florentines Influence

The Florentines of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries characterized their times as a period of reawakening to the ideals and achievements of classical Rome, which they felt had been ignored for a thousand years, since the fall of the Roman Empire. In 1492, Marsilio Ficino (1433– 1499), a Florentine philosopher, wrote: ‘This century, like a golden age, has restored to light the liberal arts, which were almost extinct...’ In 1550, Giorgio Vasari (1511–1574), the Florentine painter, biographer, and art historian claimed that visual art was reborn with the painter Giotto. Giotto, who also was inspired by Roman ideals, initiated a more human artistic vision that reached its high point with Michelangelo.

Humanism Influence

Humanism, the underlying philosophy of this period, is often summarized in a quotation from the Greek philosopher Protagoras (circa 485–410 BC), who famously decreed that ‘Man is the measure of all things.’ I learned that Humanism referred not only to the revival and publication of classical Greek and Latin texts. This was considered the new works of art modeled on classical Greek and Roman sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, and music. The Renaissance humanist authors imitated the style of great Roman writers. The artists studied and rivaled ancient sculptors and architects. The medieval scholars interpreted classical texts to clarify Christian theology. The authors and artists of the Renaissance took classical works as philosophical models of reason, intelligence, and taste to be applied in the material world. The Art, which the renaissance art make a cultural rebirth at the close of the Middle Ages and beginning of the Modern world. They develop the highly respected and realistic linear perspective. With the fall of Constantinople in 1453, Greek scholars migrated to Italy, bringing Greek and Latin manuscripts, which they deposited in libraries like the Laurentian Medici Library in Florence. The great philologists of the time studied and edited these texts and prepared them for printing, with far-reaching consequences; for example, Desiderius Erasmus’s (1466–1536) translation of the New Testament into Latin was a driving force in the Protestant Reformation.

One profound artist was Leon Battista Alberti (1404–1472), a Florentine painter, sculptor, architect, musician, and poet who also was skilled in warfare known as the universal man. Lastly was religion, discussed in the video the new ideals of humanism, although more secular in some aspects, developed against a Christian backdrop, especially in the Northern Renaissance. From a revolutionary view of the universe, that individuals can be trusted to act on the principles of logic. It is this perspective combined with the self-conscious awareness of being part of something new and superior that gives a confident and cohesive character to the Renaissance.

Artistic Inspirations and Impact

The Human Figure

With the rediscovery of classical figurative sculpture, including the nude of the pre-Christian world, artists began to look at the human figure as an object of aesthetic beauty. Realistic representation became important once more. Renaissance artists sought to convey the illusion of movement and thus adopted the classical contrapposto pose. This pose gives the illusion of arrested motion by creating a slight twist of the body. This shows the importance of the use of light and shadow to render the volume of body parts, as well as to describe gestures and facial expressions. Artists referred to the human figure as a measure of proportion. The human figure needs a viable space in which to exist, move, and convey a story. The artists created the illusion of a three-dimensional world on a two-dimensional surface (picture plane) such as a piece of paper, canvas, wood panel, wall, clay, marble or stone slab.

Sculpture - Pietà, marble sculpture by Michelangelo


Renaissance paintings invite the viewer to consider habitable spaces where religious and mythological events occur and where life is chronicled through the observation of detail. Artists in both northern and southern Europe shared a belief in the power of observation and in the verity of what is seen by the eye. Albrecht Dürer agreed with the Greek philosopher Aristotle that “sight is the noblest faculty of man.” Leonardo da Vinci stated that observation is the common mother of “all Sciences and the Arts.” He believed that “the eye is the least easily deceived of all the senses.” Artists devised pictorial systems like perspective to imitate what they observed. It has been said that in the north the room is fixed and the viewer’s eye is invited to wander about the room or space, while in the south, it is the artist’s viewpoint that is fixed, and it guides the viewer to the important event. Linear one-point perspective is based on a mathematical system with a fixed viewpoint; Alberti was one of the artists who developed its underlying geometry. This system guides the viewer’s eye through the picture plane to the focal point or vanishing point.

Leonardo da Vinci


Composition is the arrangement of the elements of a work of art. Looking back to antiquity, a artists developed systems of composition based on harmonious proportions, or the relationships of parts. Classical composition applied measurable standards of symmetry balance, and harmony; the golden rectangle, for example, was adopted from Euclid, the ancient Greek mathematician. This geometrical and mathematical construct was endowed with harmonious proportions that had divine implications. It was employed throughout the Renaissance in architecture, painting, and sculpture. In addition, the composition of a Renaissance painting is inextricably linked with perspective, the placement of the human figure and objects, and is further unified using color and the distribution of light and shadow.

The Vitruvian Man


The Renaissance artists paintings shows:

  • serenity
  • eternal
  • stability
  • horizontals/verticals
  • calm nobility
  • more reserved/distant
  • idealized
  • uninterrupted contours
  • light is not as clear
  • focus is redirected

Mona Lisa

Leonardo Da Vinci

The ‘Mona Lisa’ has been acclaimed as “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about and the most parodied work of art in the world”. Its fame rests on the elusive smile on the woman’s face which is why it is also known as “la Gioconda”, or the laughing one. For Da Vinci, the ‘Mona Lisa’ was forever a work in progress, as it was his attempt at perfection. The painting was never delivered to its commissioner; Da Vinci kept it with him till the end of his life. Guinness World Records lists the ‘Mona Lisa’ as having the highest insurance value for a painting in history. It was assessed at US$100 million on December 14, 1962, which after adjusting inflation, would be around US$759 million today.

Mona Lisa

Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints

Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio)

The Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints this display the humanism, art and religion. After reading the article on the for the Art of Renaissance. The humanism and religion shown as Mary sits on the throne with Christ on her lap; she looks down at Saint John. He in turn looks up at Christ, who responds with the hand sign for blessing. The art revealed the three figures fit into an equilateral triangle, the apex of which is Mary’s halo. God the Father sends his blessing from the center of the lunette, repeating the Child’s gesture. His head is the apex of a second triangle that frames the entire composition in the main panel. The triangle is a stable shape as well as being the Christian symbol for the Trinity.

Madonna and Child Enthroned with Saints

The Composers

Orlande de Lassus

Musical Rendition - Hieremiae prophetae lamentationes

Orlande de Lassus

Enjoy the music below

Orlande de Lassus (also known as Roland de Lassus) was a Netherlandish or Franco-Flemish composer of the late Renaissance. He is today considered to be the chief representative of the mature polyphonic style of the Franco-Flemish school, and one of the three most famous and influential musicians in Europe at the end of the 16th century (the other two being Palestrina and Victoria). Renaissance composer Orlande de Lassus was born in Mons and got his start as a choirboy. Lassus spent less than a year in Sicily and transferred to Milan for the remainder of the 1540s. He often used an Italian form of his name, Orlando di Lasso. In 1551, Lassus was made choirmaster at St. John of Lateran in Rome, but remained only until 1553, being succeeded by Palestrina. In 1555, Lassus' first book of madrigals and a collection of various secular works appeared simultaneously in Antwerp and Venice, thus beginning his status as a one-man industry of musical publications. Lassus' work accounts for three-fifths of all music printed in Europe between 1555 and 1600. In 1557, the German Duke Albrecht V engaged Lassus' services as a singer at the court in Munich. Lassus status was upgraded to Kapellmeister in 1561. His position enabled considerable travel, and Lassus made frequent trips to Venice, where he met and made friends with the Gabrielis. Judging from the range of settings, both sacred and secular, coming from Lassus in these years, it is apparent he was asked to supply music for a wide variety of events at the court of Duke Albrecht.

Cipriano de Rore

Musical Rendition - Mia Benigna Fortuna

Cipriano de Rore

Enjoy the music below

Cipriano de Rore (occasionally Cypriano) (1515 or 1516 – between 11 and 20 September 1565) was a Franco-Flemish composer of the Renaissance, active in Italy. Not only was he a central representative of the generation of Franco-Flemish composers after Josquin des Prez who went to live and work in Italy, but he was one of the most prominent composers of madrigals in the middle of the 16th century. His experimental, chromatic, and highly expressive style had a decisive influence on the subsequent development of that sacred and secular music form. Rore is principally known for his Italian madrigals, published in several collections during his life-time. He also wrote a small number of French chansons and many secular Latin motets. He wrote a similar amount of sacred vocal music, settings of the Mass and the Magnificent and motets. These compositions typify the style of polyphonic composition current in the generation after Josquin, leading to the changes of the later part of the 16th century.

Renaissance Literature


The philosophical and historical period known as the Renaissance started in Italy during the 14th century and spread throughout Europe, bringing on a rebirth of secular creative endeavors and study after a long period of domination by the Catholic Church. Writers such as Petrarch, Shakespeare and John Milton explored literary themes relating to the Renaissance ideal of individuality — a concept that was relatively new at the time. Renaissance works such as Milton's "Paradise Lost" explore the topic of religion in a critical, though not necessarily negative, manner that implies a degree of questioning and a shift away from dogmatic adherence to religious convention.

William Shakespeare

The playwright William Shakespeare (1564–1616) is considered the greatest of English writers and one of the most talented creators in history. Today he is the most quoted author in the English language. Shakespeare had established his career in London by 1592, when theater was flourishing in England. He was popular with audiences from a wide range of social classes, who flocked to see his plays. At the time of his retirement in 1613 he had made important innovations in all the major dramatic genres, or forms, of the Renaissance period—comedy (depiction of humorous characters and situations), romance (love story), chronicle (history play), and tragedy (drama portraying the downfall of a good man). Shakespeare wrote more than thirty plays. These are usually divided into four categories: histories, comedies, tragedies, and romances such as Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, Othello, King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and Cleopatra. In his final years, Shakespeare turned to the romantic with Cymbeline, A Winter’s Tale, and The Tempest.

List of Plays by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's earliest plays were comedies, which entertained audiences while depicting social issues of the day. One of his best-known comedies is The Merchant of Venice, which he wrote as a "comical history," that is, a play with a happy ending. Shakespeare was reflecting commonly held 16th-century attitudes toward Jews, who were intensely mistrusted by Christians. In fact, because of anti-Semitic, or anti-Jewish, prejudices Jews had been subjected to expulsions (forced exits) from European countries for centuries. The Merchant of Venice was first performed in 1596 (published 1600), thousands of Jews had been driven out of many areas and they could live only in certain places.

How the Renaissance is viewed today?

After viewing his presentation about the Renaissance, I was impress with the art form include music, portray and art.

My Personal Thoughts

After studying about the Renaissance, I gain an appreciation for art, music and literature. I was amazed how this era impacted Humanism referred not only to the revival and publication of classical Greek and Latin texts. This was considered the new works of art modeled on classical Greek and Roman sculpture, painting, architecture, literature, and music. The Renaissance humanist authors imitated the style of great Roman writers. The artists studied and rivaled ancient sculptors and architects. The medieval scholars interpreted classical texts to clarify Christian theology. The authors and artists of the Renaissance took classical works as philosophical models of reason, intelligence, and taste to be applied in the material world. The Art, which the renaissance art make a cultural rebirth at the close of the Middle Ages and beginning of the Modern world. They develop the highly respected and realistic linear perspective. This will impact the way I listen to music, read literature and view the art world. I have gain a greater appreciation for the things around to realize that the world is ever evolving. Innovation never stops because the God we serve is always birthing and inspiring new ideals inside each one of us. I wonder what type of contribution my family will contribute to this world today?


The information for this Adobe project was extracted from many places. One educational source and reference is the lessons from class:

2017P2 HUMA-2003-GA030 Survey of the Arts

The Britannica.

YouTube Sources --Renaissance Video -- Cipriano de Rore - Mia Benigna Fortuna --Roland de Lassus (1530-1594) - Hieremiae prophetae lamentationes

Created By
Tawauna Croom

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