The word “renaissance” means “rebirth” and it is the time period in Europe that covers the 4th to the 17th centuries.
When the fall of the Roman Empire occurred and the Middle Ages began, many of the advancements that had been made during the Roman and Greek empires were lost. This included art, government, music, education, and science.
This fall is referred to as the “Dark Ages” because the detailed information that the Romans were noted for stopped happening. In other words, communication went dark.
The dawn of the Renaissance brought Europe out of the dark and became a time of rebirth of all that had been lost as well as a better life for many of the people.
Renaissance was born in Italy
Florence, Italy is the place that the Renaissance started and it began to spread out over other Italian city-states.
Italy had remained somewhat wealthy due to trade and it is the rich people that wanted to spend money on art and education.
Many of the wealthiest families in Italy ruled in the city-states of Venice, Florence, Milan, and Ferrara.
Explosion of Ideas, Art, and Cultural Movements
During the Renaissance, there was overflowing support for everything that was inspirational. In art you see sculptures and paintings, in music some of the most beautiful created.
People were open to creating things of beauty for the enrichment of all. Many of the renowned artists such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo became popular during this time.
One of the biggest changes that happened during the Renaissance was the idea of “humanism”. This was a philosophy that all should have the opportunity to learn and be educated.
A complete opposite from the Middle Ages, which was devoted to sheer survival.
Inventions, Architects, Engineers
Due to the new open attitude about learning and progress, combined with the increased flow of money that was being spent as support, some of the largest projects in Europe were undertaken in construction.
Cathedrals and buildings that were elaborately decorated with the best art began to appear, along with fountains and sculptures. All of this not only drew talent from everywhere in the world, it employed them in a central location.
Italy became a central hub for the best inventions, the most beautiful architecture, and the scientists and artists that created them. Many that lived in Italy at that time were “Renaissance Men”, those that were expert in a variety of talents.
Leonardo da Vinci is a perfect example as he was a Master of Science, invention, sculpture, painting, writing, architecture, and engineering.
Facts about the Renaissance:
- Many of the students at the Academy in Florence studied Plato, one of the most popular of all of the philosophers of Greece.
- Milan, Italy became famous for its iron smiths and Venice, Italy is renowned for its beautiful glass work.
- The King of France, Francis I, played an important role in spreading Renaissance art from Italy into France. As a patron of the arts he devoted a lot of money to bringing the new trends to France.
- We think of the artists today as individuals, but during the Renaissance they were considered to be a kind of craftsman, belonging to artist’s guilds and working in workshops.
- The Renaissance brought about major changes in the way art was created. Two of those changes that altered from the style of the Middle Ages had to do with perspective and proportion. Changing both the image view and the way that the art was displayed offered a more realistic aspect.
- Unlike today, architects and artists were often involved in competing for the same commission, project, or in the creation of an artistic piece.
- Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo had a falling out when Michelangelo made fun of da Vinci for not completing a statue of a horse that he had been working on.