CONCEPT OF THE RENAISSANCE

WHAT do you mean by Renaissance?

REBIRTH

  • Renaissance is a French word meaning “rebirth.” It refers to a period in European civilization that was marked by a revival of Classical learning and wisdom.
  • The word “Renaissance,” whose literal translation from French into English is “Rebirth,” appears in English writing from the 1830s. The word occurs in Jules Michelet’s 1855 work, Histoire de France.
  • The word “Renaissance” has also been extended to other historical and cultural movements, such as the Carolingian Renaissance and the Renaissance of the 12th century.

The Renaissance was a period in Europe, from the 14th to the 17th century, regarded as the cultural bridge between the Middle Ages and modern history. It started as a cultural movement in Italy, specifically in Florence, in the late medieval period and later spread to the rest of Europe, marking the beginning of the early modern age. 

Beginnings

Various theories have been proposed to account for the origins and characteristics of the Renaissance, focusing on a variety of factors, including the social and civic peculiarities of Florence at the time; its political structure; the patronage of its dominant family, the Medici; and the migration of Greek scholars and texts to Italy following the Fall of Constantinople at the hands of the Ottoman Turks.

Many argue that the ideas characterizing the Renaissance had their origin in late 13th-century Florence, in particular in the writings of Dante Alighieri (1265–1321) and Petrarch (1304–1374), as well as the paintings of Giotto di Bondone (1267–1337).

Cultural, Political, and Intellectual Influences

  • As a cultural movement, the Renaissance encompassed the innovative flowering of Latin and vernacular literature, beginning with the 14th-century resurgence of learning based on classical sources, which contemporaries credited to Petrarch; the development of linear perspective and other techniques of rendering a more natural reality in painting; and gradual but widespread educational reform.
  • In politics, the Renaissance contributed the development of the conventions of diplomacy, and in science an increased reliance on observation. Although the Renaissance saw revolutions in many intellectual pursuits, as well as social and political upheaval, it is perhaps best known for its artistic developments and the contributions of such polymaths as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who inspired the term “Renaissance man.”