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  Renaissance, which means “rebirth” in French,
might be defined as the awakening of art, literature, architecture and learning
in Europe between fourteenth and mid-sixteenth centuries through the
contribution of classical sources. Despite the fact that it was originated in
Italy, it started to spread throughout Europe and contributed to the transition
from the Medieval Age to the modern one. Proponents of this movement emphatically
connected themselves with the values of classical antiquity, especially as seen
in the recently rediscovered works of art of writing and history. Additionally,
they had a tendency to separate themselves from works written in the Middle
Ages, a historical period they looked upon rather negatively. According to them,
the Middle Ages were set in the “center” of two significantly
profitable periods. In the same way, Humanism, which has an ideal of placing
human beings at the center of the universe rather than God, was the major
intellectual movement of the Renaissance and then it became the dominant sophisticated
movement in Europe in the 16th century. Supporters of this movement asserted
that humanistic studies, comprising of the examination and imitation of the
established culture of Ancient Rome and Greece, would give rise to a cultural rebirth
after regarding the learning of the Middle Ages as decadent and barbarous.1

 

  For a whole picture of both movement, with
their new style of thinking and learning, it might be inferred that the
cultural advancements caused major differences between the Middle Ages and this
period. As mentioned by Wilde, one of the most significant changes that
occurred during the Renaissance was the evolution of Renaissance humanism as a
method of thinking.2
During this period, people actually started to think differently and change how
they thought about humanity, art, science and other fields.  Therefore, due to their spread throughout the
Europe with the cultural aspects by affecting painting, literature and science,
Renaissance and Humanism had several influences on the people in terms of enhancing
the way people look at the world.

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  Firstly, the Renaissance and Humanism had an
impact on the paintings with the contributions of the artists which caused
people to be under the impression. Painting has begun to be rebuilt in new
styles with respect to the techniques used by these artists including da Vinci,
Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian and Botticelli. The portray of the natural world
was taken to new stages with the aid of these artists. They mastered the
earlier techniques and then took the art to new levels with their depictions of
the material world and their representations of the appropriate features hidden
inside the outward look. While utilizing the techniques, they inserted hidden
messages which were often political, moral, or based on religious allegories. In
the Renaissance paintings, especially in its secular forms, artists started to
depict visually coded expressions of humanistic philosophy inclusive of
symbols, structures, postures and even colors in order to transmit silent
messages about humanity and nature.3 For
instance, the Creation of Adam which was depicted by Michelangelo Buonarroti,
as seen in the figure one4,
contains the God in an object looking like a brain. Frank Lynn Meshberger claims that “Michelangelo
portrays that what God is giving Adam is the intellect and thus human being is
able to plan the best and highest and to try all things received.”5

Figure
1: Creation of Adam; fresco by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine
Chapel in Vatican City.

 

  Secondly, another field that changed people’s
point of view is the literature affected by Renaissance and Humanism. Writers
which include Boccaccio, Petrarch and Montaigne used comprehension obtained from
Latin and Greek texts in order to develop literature that had the elegance and
beauty of classical authors, but become greater intensely private than ever
before.6
When the literature was characterized by making use of the restoration of the
classical literature of antiquity and the adoption of a Humanist philosophy as
well as the artists did in their paintings, also the world was taken into
consideration from an anthropocentric attitude. Themes like secularism and the
true nature of man started to be adopted.7  As mentioned by Magwell, the earliest writers and philosophers of
the Renaissance, in particular Petrarch, identified the duration from which
humanity had simply emerged as a “dark age” where classical traditions had been
rejected.8 As
a response to the medieval tendency, secularism, at the time of the
Renaissance, exhibited itself inside the improvement of humanism, while human
beings started to expose more interest in human cultural achievements and the
opportunities in their fulfillment.9 Although
a small segment of the population has benefited from ideas in their works in
the beginning, the invention of the printing press by way of Johannes Gutenberg
endorsed authors to write in their local language in place of in Greek or Latin
classical languages, widening the reading target audience and promoting the spread
of Renaissance thoughts.

 

  Finally,
the field of science during the Renaissance had a serious impact on human
beings with the contribution of bringing new ideas as a result of the new
methods applied after considering the antiquity. Robert Curley asserts that the
Renaissance was a crucial period, as scientists started out developing not only
a more enlightened view of the world, however additionally concepts and methods
that could guide the generations in expanding their scientific understanding.10 For
instance, Polish mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus released one
of the major scientific discoveries of the Renaissance. In the 1530s, he
published his theory of a heliocentric solar system. Galileo Galilei, who was
another important scientist, advanced the telescope and discovered new
celestial bodies and determined guide for a heliocentric solar system. He
carried out motion experiments on pendulums and falling items that paved the manner
for Newton’s discoveries approximately gravity.11
Furthermore, Da Vinci made scientific drawings including the Vitruvian Man as
seen in the figure two12 which
reflects the humanist spirit. The main purpose was to bring together thoughts
about artwork, architecture, human anatomy and symmetry in one distinct and dominant
picture. The drawing gave idea about how to form a square with the same area as
a given circle by placing the human at the center. Thus, the artwork had the
ideal of Humanism by showing how man is the measure of all things. Idealism and
realism essential to the classical corpus were additionally a feature employed
by using scientific humanism in its depiction in the Vitruvian Man. Scientific humanism
aimed the improvement of human dignity as an expression of God’s supremacy.
This aspect of Renaissance humanism advanced from the union of classical study
on the perfection of man and medieval Christian culture and became influential
in the enlargement of individualism.13

Figure 2: The Vitruvian
Man, sketched by Leonardo da Vinci

 

 

  To sum
up, after the release of the Renaissance with Humanism, people started to have
different opinions with the contribution of the artists, authors and
scientists. Humanist philosophy, which is almost used in all the concepts of
Renaissance, helped people to change the way they see the world due to the main
focus on human potential and achievements. The main three areas, altered human
beings’ point of view in different ways but especially through emphasizing the
importance of the subjects about human. In the field of painting or literature,
political or religious messages were given. In the same way, as a consequence
of the adoption of Humanist thoughts, scientists tried to enlighten the
population and reflected their humanistic thinking which made them benefit from
Ancient Rome and Greece.   

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