Meaning of Renaissance

What is Renaissance:

Renaissance is known as the cultural and artistic movement that emerged in Italy between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries. It spread throughout Europe (especially in countries such as Germany, the Netherlands, England, France, Spain and Portugal).

Etymologically, the word Renaissance it is composed with the Latin prefix re- which means "reiteration" and the verb nasci that expresses "to be born". Therefore, rebirth literally means being born again. It is used figuratively to refer to the recovery of energy or mood, whether of an individual or a group.

In this sense, the Renaissance takes its name from the desire to recover the cultural greatness of the Greco-Roman past, a time when the Italian peninsula was the center of imperial power. Florence, Rome, Venice, Genoa, Naples and Milan were crucial stages in its development.

Vitruvian Man or Study of the ideal proportions of the body. Leonardo Da Vinci, 1490.

The Renaissance was opposed to the values ​​of the Middle Ages, a period characterized by the consolidation of a theocentric and anti-individualist culture. In contrast, the Renaissance fought to rescue the values ​​and practices of classical antiquity, and promote anthropocentrism and individualism.

The Renaissance helped the development of trade in the Mediterranean and the formation of an economy described by some as proto-capitalist. It also meant the revival of scientific research, the secularization of society, the heyday of the universities, and the separation of the concepts of art and artist from crafts and craftsmen.

Renaissance Features

The Renaissance is characterized mainly by:

  • Anthropocentrism: The Renaissance proposes the passage from a theocentric society and culture to an anthropocentric society, in which the human being is seen as the center of the universe. Anthropocentrism was philosophically based on anthropocentric humanism.
  • Secularization of society: it was the process by which the civil sectors of society were gaining greater political, economic and, especially, cultural influence, with respect to the power held until then by the clerical class.
  • Valuation of classical antiquity: the Renaissance rescued many documents produced in classical antiquity written in Latin, Greek and Arabic, which were translated into vulgar languages ​​for the benefit of secularization. In addition, they devoted themselves to the study of Greco-Roman art.
  • Appearance of the idea of ​​the gentleman: the Renaissance created the ideal of the multiple and learned man who should know about all subjects.
  • Rationalism and scientism: the Renaissance were convinced that everything can be explained through reason and science. For this reason science flourished and scientists such as Nicolás Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Alonso de Santa Cruz, Miguel Servet and Leonardo Da Vinci himself stood out.
  • Individualism: the Renaissance favors the idea of ​​self-conception, self-worth, self-qualification and self-distinction of man. It should not be confused with consumer individualism.

See also Anthropocentrism.

Anthropocentric humanism

Humanism is an intellectual, philosophical and cultural movement that is closely related to the Renaissance. It is a philosophical doctrine that consists of the valuation of man and the search for his good.

This had been born in the Middle Ages, but by then it was conceived as a humanism theocentric. The Renaissance, on the other hand, proposed anthropocentric humanism, which consisted in the valuation of the human being as an individual and subject, regardless of external justifications. Among its main promoters we can mention Erasmus of Rotterdam, Tomás Moro and Leonardo Bruni, among others.

See also Humanism.

Patronage

During the Renaissance, not only the values ​​of Classical Antiquity were retaken, but also some customs. Among them, the development of patronage was fundamental, a form of sponsorship of artistic or scientific production, which brings benefits, both material and symbolic, to the investor.

The term comes from Gaius Cilnio Maecenas, who lived in the time of Emperor Caesar Augustus, famous in history for promoting and sponsoring the arts. However, the private initiative of artistic patronage disappeared with the empire, and fell almost entirely on the Christian Church until the Renaissance, when civilians assumed the leading role.

Renaissance in fine arts (plastic arts)

The artists of the Renaissance investigated and reinterpreted the plastic values ​​of Greco-Roman art, which allowed them to apply them not only to the techniques already known, but to the new techniques and supports of their time, which is why the painting stood out particularly.

General characteristics of Renaissance art

In general terms, the art of the Renaissance was characterized by:

  • Perception of art as an object and form of knowledge.
  • Imitation of classical Greco-Roman art in all disciplines.
  • Study of human anatomy.
  • Naturalism (observation and imitation of natural forms).
  • Symmetry.
  • Balance.
  • Proportion.
  • Study of spatial geometry.
  • Perspective in vanishing point.
  • Taste for diaphanous light (to the detriment of the colorful gothic light).
  • Appearance of chiaroscuro.
  • Development of profane themes such as mythology, history and landscape (this always subordinate to the main representation).
  • Appearance of the portrait genre in painting.
  • Appearance of oil painting on canvas.

Most representative artists of the Renaissance

Gioconda or Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci, around 1503-1519.

Giotto, Fra Angelico, Sandro Botticelli, Leonardo Da Vinci, Rafael Sanzio, Titian, El Bosco, Giorgio Vasari, Jan Van Eyck, etc. stood out in the painting.

Piety, Michelangelo Buonarroti, 1499.

In the sculpture, Miguel Angel Buonarrotti (also a painter and architect), Lorenzo Ghiberti, Donatello, Verrocchio and Antonio Pollaiuolo, among others, stood out.

Dome of the Duomo of the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fior, Filippo Brunelleschi, 1436.

In architecture, Andrea Palladio, Filippo Bruneleschi, Leon Battista Alberti, Donato d "Angelo Bramante and many more stood out.

Renaissance in literature

The literary Renaissance in his works sought simplicity, clarity, and naturalness. With the Renaissance, great geniuses of literature emerged, among them: Machiavelli, author of Prince; Michael de Montaigne and his work Essays; Boccaccio and the Decameron; Francesco Petrarca and the Song book, among others.

Considered one of the greatest playwrights of all time, is the Englishman William Shakespeare, who wrote tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, and comedies like The Taming of the Shrew or The dream of a nigth of summer.

In Spain, a period of extremely high literary fertility is known as the Golden Age, which coincided with a good part of the Renaissance, and lasted until approximately the seventeenth century. From the Golden Age are the writers Miguel de Cervantes, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Lope de Vega, Francisco Quevedo, Góngora, Garcilaso de la Vega, San Juan de la Cruz, Santa Teresa de Ávila, among others.

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