Renaissance, which means “rebirth” in French,might be defined as the awakening of art, literature, architecture and learningin Europe between fourteenth and mid-sixteenth centuries through thecontribution of classical sources.
Despite the fact that it was originated inItaly, it started to spread throughout Europe and contributed to the transitionfrom the Medieval Age to the modern one. Proponents of this movement emphaticallyconnected themselves with the values of classical antiquity, especially as seenin the recently rediscovered works of art of writing and history. Additionally,they had a tendency to separate themselves from works written in the MiddleAges, a historical period they looked upon rather negatively. According to them,the Middle Ages were set in the “center” of two significantlyprofitable periods. In the same way, Humanism, which has an ideal of placinghuman beings at the center of the universe rather than God, was the majorintellectual movement of the Renaissance and then it became the dominant sophisticatedmovement in Europe in the 16th century.
Supporters of this movement assertedthat humanistic studies, comprising of the examination and imitation of theestablished culture of Ancient Rome and Greece, would give rise to a cultural rebirthafter regarding the learning of the Middle Ages as decadent and barbarous.1 For a whole picture of both movement, withtheir new style of thinking and learning, it might be inferred that thecultural advancements caused major differences between the Middle Ages and thisperiod. As mentioned by Wilde, one of the most significant changes thatoccurred during the Renaissance was the evolution of Renaissance humanism as amethod of thinking.2During this period, people actually started to think differently and change howthey thought about humanity, art, science and other fields.
Therefore, due to their spread throughout theEurope with the cultural aspects by affecting painting, literature and science,Renaissance and Humanism had several influences on the people in terms of enhancingthe way people look at the world. Firstly, the Renaissance and Humanism had animpact on the paintings with the contributions of the artists which causedpeople to be under the impression. Painting has begun to be rebuilt in newstyles with respect to the techniques used by these artists including da Vinci,Michelangelo, Raphael, Titian and Botticelli. The portray of the natural worldwas taken to new stages with the aid of these artists. They mastered theearlier techniques and then took the art to new levels with their depictions ofthe material world and their representations of the appropriate features hiddeninside the outward look.
While utilizing the techniques, they inserted hiddenmessages which were often political, moral, or based on religious allegories. Inthe Renaissance paintings, especially in its secular forms, artists started todepict visually coded expressions of humanistic philosophy inclusive ofsymbols, structures, postures and even colors in order to transmit silentmessages about humanity and nature.3 Forinstance, 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 “Michelangeloportrays that what God is giving Adam is the intellect and thus human being isable to plan the best and highest and to try all things received.”5 Figure1: Creation of Adam; fresco by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the SistineChapel in Vatican City. Secondly, another field that changed people’spoint of view is the literature affected by Renaissance and Humanism.
Writerswhich include Boccaccio, Petrarch and Montaigne used comprehension obtained fromLatin and Greek texts in order to develop literature that had the elegance andbeauty of classical authors, but become greater intensely private than everbefore.6When the literature was characterized by making use of the restoration of theclassical literature of antiquity and the adoption of a Humanist philosophy aswell as the artists did in their paintings, also the world was taken intoconsideration from an anthropocentric attitude. Themes like secularism and thetrue nature of man started to be adopted.7 As mentioned by Magwell, the earliest writers and philosophers ofthe Renaissance, in particular Petrarch, identified the duration from whichhumanity had simply emerged as a “dark age” where classical traditions had beenrejected.8 Asa response to the medieval tendency, secularism, at the time of theRenaissance, exhibited itself inside the improvement of humanism, while humanbeings started to expose more interest in human cultural achievements and theopportunities in their fulfillment.9 Althougha small segment of the population has benefited from ideas in their works inthe beginning, the invention of the printing press by way of Johannes Gutenbergendorsed authors to write in their local language in place of in Greek or Latinclassical languages, widening the reading target audience and promoting the spreadof Renaissance thoughts. Finally,the field of science during the Renaissance had a serious impact on humanbeings with the contribution of bringing new ideas as a result of the newmethods applied after considering the antiquity. Robert Curley asserts that theRenaissance was a crucial period, as scientists started out developing not onlya more enlightened view of the world, however additionally concepts and methodsthat could guide the generations in expanding their scientific understanding.
10 Forinstance, Polish mathematician and astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus released oneof the major scientific discoveries of the Renaissance. In the 1530s, hepublished his theory of a heliocentric solar system. Galileo Galilei, who wasanother important scientist, advanced the telescope and discovered newcelestial bodies and determined guide for a heliocentric solar system. Hecarried out motion experiments on pendulums and falling items that paved the mannerfor Newton’s discoveries approximately gravity.11Furthermore, Da Vinci made scientific drawings including the Vitruvian Man asseen in the figure two12 whichreflects the humanist spirit. The main purpose was to bring together thoughtsabout artwork, architecture, human anatomy and symmetry in one distinct and dominantpicture. The drawing gave idea about how to form a square with the same area asa given circle by placing the human at the center. Thus, the artwork had theideal of Humanism by showing how man is the measure of all things.
Idealism andrealism essential to the classical corpus were additionally a feature employedby using scientific humanism in its depiction in the Vitruvian Man. Scientific humanismaimed the improvement of human dignity as an expression of God’s supremacy.This aspect of Renaissance humanism advanced from the union of classical studyon the perfection of man and medieval Christian culture and became influentialin the enlargement of individualism.13 Figure 2: The VitruvianMan, sketched by Leonardo da Vinci To sumup, after the release of the Renaissance with Humanism, people started to havedifferent opinions with the contribution of the artists, authors andscientists. Humanist philosophy, which is almost used in all the concepts ofRenaissance, helped people to change the way they see the world due to the mainfocus on human potential and achievements. The main three areas, altered humanbeings’ point of view in different ways but especially through emphasizing theimportance of the subjects about human.
In the field of painting or literature,political or religious messages were given. In the same way, as a consequenceof the adoption of Humanist thoughts, scientists tried to enlighten thepopulation and reflected their humanistic thinking which made them benefit fromAncient Rome and Greece.