How did the Renaissance Change Man?s View of Man?
The Renaissance represented a period of dynamic growth and some form of “rebirth” that was characterized by economic, political, artistic, and cultural transformations that would serve as the marks of modernity. Notably, the period underscored the reengineering of literature, art, and classical philosophy that would all have a sway regarding man’s view of man (IEP, 2018). The Renaissance, as the word depicts marked a new era as learning was rejuvenated, and art as the center of activities helped shift the focus and understanding of man from the religious view point to an interest in the human form. Artistic freedom served to enhance the transformations witnessed during the Renaissance as exemplified by sculptures and paintings that were visibly the pacesetters for three-dimensional figures (The Telegraph, 2015). The shift in focus of man from the religious perspective to one that focused on understanding the features of man himself would be important in the completion of the transformation during the rebirth period.
The changed perspectives underlined the potential that men held alongside the accomplishments that had been achieved through reflection. The transformations and change of the man’s view on man could be credited to an understanding of the man’s inner nature, the human body, the position of man in the universe, and through art (Mirandola, 2012). As a transition from the Middle Ages where art concentrated on religion, the Renaissance was characterized by an overarching fascination on understanding the human form through paintings that had a realistic appeal. One of the suitable examples underlining the transformation on the view of man is Leonardo Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa” that showcases the beauty of the woman (The Telegraph, 2015). The painting serves as a classic example of the transformation in the Renaissance as man’s view on man evolved because of the fascination with the human form as opposed to the religious perspectives that were important in the Middle Ages.
The importance of art in the changed view of man can be credited to the expansion of expression from the overarching religious perspectives to the portrayal of the beauty of man. Further, the changes were visible in the cultural structure as women gained prominence and their beauty was highlighted in various art forms as exemplified by the Mona Lisa, which remains an iconic painting from the Renaissance period that underlines the revered beauty of the woman (Dickson, 2017). Man’s view on man changed from the religious purposes and aspects of the beauty of the human form were explored at the external and internal levels. The Middle Ages were associated with a fascination for religion and the need for people serving to please God, but the transformations in the Renaissance indicated the significance of personal growth and the accomplishments that could be attained (The Telegraph, 2015). The formation of new perspectives on man enhanced the concentration on individuality and the need for personal successes.
The Middle Ages were characterized by the authoritative presence of the Church, but during the Renaissance, the focus shifted to humanism that reiterated the significance of humans as being important in the world (Davies, 2012). The various institutions, including art, anatomy, literature, and astronomy helped in the transformation of man’s view of man. For example, William Shakespeare’s works in literature further supported the changes witnessed during the Renaissance as the focus on the position of humans in the world became the center of attention and facilitated an evaluation of the achievements recorded over time. The changes in the philosophical thinking facilitated the distinction of man and the Church, and asserted the freedom of thought that man enjoyed (Rabb, 2007).
The rebirth of Europe in the 1400s that extended for three centuries served as an enlightening period that contributed to the change in the understanding of humanity as great scholars, thinkers, artists, and other professionals amplified the need for honoring and appreciating various accomplishments (Omodeo, 2014). Undoubtedly, the changed thoughts regarding the influence of religion on man serve as the summation of the transformed perception of man’s view on man and promoted independent thinking that could not be constrained by religious thoughts and philosophies. Education was responsible for the changed perspectives as man was empowered to question previous thinking and works of medicine, the sciences, arts, and literature offered new insights regarding man (Omodeo, 2014). The Renaissance is best described as period of rapid scientific, intellectual, political, and cultural explosion that brought to the fore new ideals and ideas regarding the centrality of man in the universe (Dickson, 2017).
The intellectual wave had a snowball effect as man increased attention on understanding the human form as opposed to being restricted to the limited descriptions associated with religion. The human anatomy was at the center of art with the pursuit of the new form of realism coupled with the desire of capturing the beauty of man in the world (Heller, 2015). Similar to the progress recorded by artists and authors, great developments continued being witnessed in the scientific domain as the means of understanding the position of man in the universe. Art, philosophy, and science were united based on the explosive transformations witnessed during the Renaissance that facilitated a better understanding of man separate from the religious perspectives held during the Middle Ages.
Davies, T. (2012). Humanism. Routledge.
Dickson, A. (2017). Key features of Renaissance culture. Retrieved from https://www.bl.uk/shakespeare/articles/key-features-of-renaissance-culture
Heller, A. (2015). Renaissance Man. Hoboken: Taylor and Francis.
IEP. (2018). Renaissance Philosophy | Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Retrieved from https://www.iep.utm.edu/renaissa/
Mirandola, G. (2012). Oration On The Dignity Of Man. Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing.
Omodeo, P. (2014). Copernicus in the cultural debates of the Renaissance. Leiden: Brill.
Rabb, T. (2007). The last days of the Renaissance and the march to modernity. New York: BasicBooks.
The Telegraph. (2015). The Renaissance – why it changed the world. Retrieved from https://www.telegraph.co.uk/art/london-culture/renaissance-changed-the-world/