Emergence of the Renaissance
In history there are certain circumstances that create the perfect storm for transformation - Emergence of the Renaissance introduction. There were specific conditions in Italy that made the emergence of the renaissance possible. Had any of these circumstance been different perhaps we would be living different lives today. The rebirth or renaissance was a cultural movement that started an artistic transformation and started the scientific revolution. The Renaissance started in Italy in the 14th century and spread to Europe by the 16th century. During the Renaissance artists changed the way they painted and sculpted, they began to paint in all three dimensions.
This new dimension to art gave a refreshing new life and realism to art works. This also broke away from the religious roots of art and in turn created an entirely new type of art that was rich in drama cultural content and filled with depth and complexity. Specifically the renaissance provided a way for life to transform artistically, scientifically, as well as politically. Scientifically people started to question the church and its power. The result of which was a society that actually started to study the outside world. From Leonardo Da Vinci’s discoveries in science to Galileo’s discovery of the Earth revolving around the sun.
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The invention of the printing press was probably one of the most helpful tools in ensuring the renaissance happened. Free flowing print and idea’s opened up a whole new medium for social conversation. Even though printers were trained much like other apprenticeships such as butchers or blacksmiths, the advantage for printers was there connection to politics, art and scholastics. With the printing press ideas were spread quickly with hundreds or thousands of identical copies being made in a very short period of time. The printing press first originated in China and Korea centuries earlier.
Johan Gutenberg amongst others would take this woodblock printing technique later called type and transformed every letter of the alphabet into stamps that were reusable. This combined with availability of paper enabled the printing revolution. Cause: The invention of the printing press. Effect: Mass distribution of information and ideas otherwise reserved for the few, was then distributed to the many. Politically the common man was getting more educated. As religion took a backseat socially because of constant social domination, the middle class grew wealth and became more educated.
With the invention of the printing press ideas were easier for the common man to gain access to and form an opinion on. Martin Luther being the first to publish his works world-wide divided religion for all of time since. The renaissance then had traction both artistically as well as politically. With the common man being free to think and imagine for himself, religious differences made people want to speak up. These core religious differences and the opportunity to demonstrate them was a major contributing factor to the renaissance.
Even though the renaissance doesn’t have a specific starting point or place, it’s said to have started in Florence, Italy. The Medici started it, with the portrait and solo sculpture emergence. The economic perfect storm that was created by ambitious Italian merchants who made the economic climate in Italy impervious to most circumstances including the Black Death. In 1344 When King Edward III repudiated his debts to Florence bankers and forced some of them into bankruptcy this environment was still ripe for growth.
The modern day comparison would be to equate the American national debt currently owed to china being entirely abandoned and it having no affect whatsoever on the future development of china. This strong economic environment helped balance the growth of the renaissance. The Renaissance was also due in large part to intellectual change. The renaissance was characterized as a period of self-conscious awareness. Some even said they were living in the new era. Francesco Petrarch (1304-1374) thought that he was living at the start of the new age, a period of light following a long night of gothic gloom.
Petrarch a poet and a major part of the humanist movement thought that man had accomplished the most during the Roman Empire, and the time since then had been a period of social rot he called the Dark Ages. Petrarch thought man needed to look to history not religion to advance as a society, literarily, and in art. Humanism had a main preoccupation; education. This also helped fuel this environment for the renaissance. The opening of schools and academies moved forward free thinking and philosophical thought. Humanist were rigorous about education for men as well as women.
Creating a very well educated society was a strong goal of the humanistic movement. A very well read book of the time was “The Prince” by Niccolo Machiavelli. The subject of “The Prince” is political power: how to gain it, maintain it, and increase it. This view of humanity led him to believe that the prince may have to manipulate the people in any way he finds necessary. For a man who, in all respects, will carry out only his professions of good, will be apt to be ruined amongst so many who are evil. A prince therefore who desires to maintain himself must learn to be not always good, but to be so or not as necessity may require.
This piece clearly defined free thought and discovery of the time. Discovery that helped to fuel the renaissance. The emergence of the renaissance can be attributed to a lot of factors. The real question is if the renaissance would have happened if all of the factors that contributed to it had not have happened at the same time. Social change, political enlightenment, religious shifts, regional economic growth, humanist movement along with educational advancement. These are all very strong environment elements to have at play.