How the Renaissance Changed the World Examples from Art, Literature, and Science

The Renaissance is known as the era that introduced creativity and defied the rules of society to explore new ideas. For 300 years, the Renaissance was prominent in most of Europe. Throughout the years, humanism emerged which focused on the beauty and intelligence of individuals. The more people started to question what the Church taught; the more people became educated. People started to delve into arts, literature, science, and medicine. People started to change from getting a uniform view of the world from the Church, to finding all kinds of discoveries. The Renaissance changed man’s view of the world through art, science, and

paintings are proof of how man’s view of the world changed. Bouninsegna focused on the bigger picture and masculinity while da Vinci focused on capturing even the smallest of details, and

femininity.

Through the Renaissance, man’s view of the world changed with literature. In Document B, An English play called “Everyman” written in 1485 talks about the day of judgement. In most religions, when we die our soul is called up for judgment, and what we did when we were alive will determine if we go to heaven or hell for all eternity. During the Renaissance, being Christian/Catholic was the main religion, and with the Church in control, writers in the Early Renaissance talked about the teaching of Christianity. The message of the play was that even though we as mortals think in the beginning sin is sweet, “Ye [man] think sin in the beginning full sweet” we learn the hard way that sin only causes eternal suffering “Which in the end causeth thy soul to weep”. The play was used to make people steer clear of sin and follow the sayings of God. An excerpt from Hamlet by Shakespeare in 1601 talks about the qualities of humans. He mentions how “a piece of work is a man” and how they are “infinite in faculty” and “like a god”. Shakespeare focuses on the characteristics of men, and praises humans for being the most perfect creatures on Earth. Within 1 century, how people viewed the world drastically changed. In 1485, the main focus was on how humans are subject to evil and sin and must change their ways and follow the Lord. Shakespeare breaks free of the talk of religion and chooses to talk about how we are as people. One time period brings down people and forces them into a mold, while the other uplifts humans and shows the qualities that humans possess.

The Renaissance changed man’s view of the world through science. In Document C, The Geocentric Universe of Ptolemy (100 CE) focuses on the Earth itself, and even includes the twelve astrology/zodiac signs as its symbols. In the drawing, there are the other seven planets

surrounding Earth in a straight line with their names written in Latin. Earth is seen in the center, with the Sun in between Venus and Mars. The Heliocentric Universe of Copernicus focuses on the Sun, with it in the center and the other planets behind it, all in a straight line. Man in 100 CE viewed the Earth, as the center of the solar system, therefore the world and humans with the Geocentric Universe, while man in the Renaissance era (1500), thought outside of the box and came up with the idea that the Sun is the real center of the universe (Heliocentric Universe). The woodcut of the “Zodiac Man” in 1512, has a drawing of a man with the 12 zodiac symbols surrounding him. The idea at that time was that each part of the human body was controlled by a constellation. Aries, the ram, controlled the head of the body, while Gemini controlled the shoulders. The woodcut from “On the Makeup of the Human Body” in 1543, focused on how the human body looked like. The drawing pays close attention to muscle and bone structure. Between a few decades, man perception of the world changed, as in 1512 the main focus was how the body was connected to the 12 zodiacs, while in 1543, the main idea was how the body itself functioned. We see the progression of how man sees the world, as the focus of science was on astronomy in 100CE and 1512, and the focus of science in later years was how astronomy was connected to the body and mind. The Renaissance, which lasted about 300 years, gave a spotlight to subjects that were restricted from the Church such as art, science, and literature. Smart individuals of the time decided to explore other possibilities of the world through their skepticism of the Church’s teachings. With skepticism, humanism came, which opened the door for multiple scientific discoveries and talented people creating beautiful pieces of art and literature.

The Renaissance changed how humans view the world through art. In Document A, Duccio Di Bouninsegna’s painting of the Mother Mary and baby Jesus, gives an insight on what was considered art in the late 13th century. Mother Mary is drawn with her head tilted, and on her lap is baby Jesus; except he does not look like a child. He is drawn to look like a middle-aged man, with a receding hairline and older masculine features. The main focus of the painting was Mother Mary and baby Jesus and at first glance, you don’t notice the two angles sitting on either side of Mary. The angels are drawn the same way as Mary, with the same features and the same tilt. From the painting, it seems like there was a certain way of drawing women in the late 13th century. Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, one of the greatest paintings of all time, is thought to be a portrait of Lisa Gherardini, made in the early 16th century. The main focus of the painting is the woman, who is drawn in such intricate detail. The theme of the painting is human emotion, and historians are yet to figure out what emotion the woman is displaying. Here we see one of the most successful attempts at capturing human emotions. Da Vinci was able to paint a human, and make it seem as if it were a picture being taken. The key difference between Duccio Di Bouninsegna’s painting and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, is the attention to detail. Both

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