The Renaissance has been called a time of rebirth for Western society. When and where did Renaissance begin, and what was reborn?
Some historians say that the Renaissance began in 1341, when Francesco Petrarch, a scholar, and writer from Florence, Italy, was crowned poet laureate (official poet) of Rome.
But most feel that the Renaissance didn’t begin in a single year or with a single person.
It was a time when ideas and achievements by philosophers, artists, writers, and scientists flowered.
By the 1400s, Renaissance ideas had spread across Europe.
The Renaissance flourished after a long period in the Middle Ages when writing and art from the great classical period of Greece and Rome were ignored.
In the mid-1300s, scholars such as Petrarch rediscovered Greek and Roman culture and architecture and championed self-expression.
Their interest and enthusiasm spread from Italy to other countries in Europe.
Soon new ideas were showing up in all aspects of life. Paintings and sculptures began to look more natural through the use of new techniques such as perspective.
Renaissance art blossomed in the work of painters such as Filippo Brunelleschi, Piero della Francesca, Sandro Botticelli, Raphael, Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo Buonarroti .
These artists often had patrons — rich families, rulers, and popes — who hired them to paint and sculpt.
Education in the Renaissance emphasized knowledge of a wide variety of subjects.
Poetry and other writing flourished first in Latin, then in Italian and subsequently in other languages.
Criticism, self-knowledge, and curiosity were encouraged.
The invention of the printing press by Johannes Gutenberg
greatly aided the spread of new ideas.
Scientists had a harder time. Brilliant scientists such as Nicolaus Copernicus and Galileo Galilei proved that the Earth and the other planets revolved around the Sun.
This went against the teachings of the Catholic Church, which held that the Earth was the center of the universe.
Galileo’s belief was so controversial that he was sentenced to house arrest and had to remain at home for the last nine years of his life.
The Renaissance lasted till the late 1600s.
RIPPLES: – The Renaissance influenced the artists, musicians, scientists, and writers who followed.
Many historians believe that Renaissance ideas led to the Protestant Reformation.
The Reformation was a protest against the Catholic Church. Many people broke away from that religion to form new Protestant churches.
Today, we’re still shaped by Renaissance ideas.
We use the term “Renaissance man” or “woman” to describe someone who has accomplishments in many areas.