Renaissance, Florence and Middle Ages

As the cradle of Renaissance, Florence boosted art, culture and technology within the entire Europe from the 14th to the 17th century. Florence was one of the wealthiest cities in Italy, so it created a basic condition to erupt an ideological and cultural movement. Renaissance was born in Florence, then it spread like flood throughout the entire Europe. Furthermore, there were enormous number of reputable philosophers and artists who were born during Renaissance including Leonardo da Vinci (Plumb 4).

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Nevertheless, the Renaissance is so sophisticated that there was no well-defined beginning and ending point. Meanwhile, its root causes were complicated. At that moment, vacuum of leadership provided a soil for Renaissance. The holy Roman Empire lost their sovereignty in north, and the whole country was ruled by various families in different regions. Because of chaotic political environment, ideas and goods were exchanged unprecedented prosperity. In terms of religion, the Renaissance was a product of ancient Greek and holy Roman which shared the same Mediterranean cultures. Before Renaissance, the Church had gathered economic, political and intellectual into their hands, so it fostered an atmosphere to be the birthplace of Renaissance (‘Why did the Renaissance begin in Italy?’).

The economic was free development for the reason that the holy Roman government existed in name only. Simultaneously, the Church possessed the richest merchants. Under these environment, artists, philosophers and scientists could acquire funds endlessly and create works without limit (‘Why did the Renaissance begin in Italy?’). Furthermore, the power vacuum resulted in the significant influence of religion. During early renaissance, Christianity subsidized artists and philosophers so that more and more works served the religion (Spielvogel 377,380).

As an era of rebirth and reform, not only did Renaissance innovate the creation of art works, but it also improved technology and science. For instance, eyeglasses and clocks were created during Renaissance. Additionally, guns, cannon were improved to shoot farther, which led to the cold weapon being far away from war gradually. Ships during the era were improve to hold up to 300 people. Therefore, the era of exploration started. (‘Technology Development during the Renaissance’).

Without a real government, religion and dominant families need to consolidate their power. Because of the influence of literature, the role of artists in society during the Renaissance was noble. Artists’ masterpieces became an effective tool to expand the influence of religion. In addition, royalty and wealthy merchants were pleased to invite artists to record their history and daily life such as Mona Lisa.

Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy which near to the storm center of Renaissance, Florence. When he was 15 years old, he became an apprentice to Andrea Del Verrocchio. From then on, he started his path to be one of the most famous artist in the world. Because his genius of painting an angel in his master’s painting and much better than his master, Verrocchio declared that he would never paint again. Verrocchio required all his apprentices to study anatomy which made Leonardo be a great artist as well as a distinguished anatomist in his later life. Because of his talent of anatomy, he created the first robot in the whole world in 1495, however, being found in 1950. During his entire life, he left a lot of extraordinary work such as The Last Supper, Mona Lisa and The Virgin on the Rock. Unfortunately, Leonardo da Vinci died on May 2, 1519, because of stroke. Right now, Leonardo da Vinci was named as a universal genius and Renaissance man. (‘DA VINCI – THE RENAISSANCE MAN’)

Basically, the concept of Renaissance was connected with revolution in culture. Renaissance literature came up with a revival of the ancient Greek and Holy Roman learning. Renaissance literature, however, was longer only limited to religious topic for the reason that the printing press was invented. With the rapid development of science, musicians knew that pitch changes by the different size of the string on instruments. At the same time, musicians started to combine theater and music with the stories of ancient Greek (‘The Middle Ages | The Renaissance and the Reformation’).

As I mentioned before, Leonardo da Vinci explored many different areas in his lifetime, yet he was celebrated as a great painter. He lived in the period of the Italian High Renaissance, and he was the pioneer of linear perspective, chiaroscuro, emotional expressionism and naturalism. (‘The Art Story’) In Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci used a new method to draw portrait. He raised up the center of the body slightly, so that the entire body seemed like a pyramid. Therefore, it made Mona Lisa more dignified and stable. In addition, she crossed her hands, which conveyed us an image of gentleness, noble social status. In the background, mountains, rivers and trees integrated a beautiful natural scene.

Works Cited

  1. ‘DA VINCI – THE RENAISSANCE MAN’. n.d. https://www.mos.org/leonardo/biography. 19 October 2018.
  2. ‘Technology Development during the Renaissance’. n.d. http://1216.virtualclassroom.org/technology/renaissance.html. 19 October 2018.
  3. ‘The Art Story’. n.d. https://www.theartstory.org/artist-da-vinci-leonardo.htm. 19 October 2018.
  4. ‘The Middle Ages | The Renaissance and the Reformation’. n.d. https://westernreservepublicmedia.org/middleages/reform_art.htm. 19 October 2018.
  5. ‘Why did the Renaissance begin in Italy?’. n.d. https://www.methacton.org/cms/lib/pa01000176/centricity/domain/121/why%20did%20the%20renaissance%20begin%20in%20italy.pdf. 19 October 2018.
  6. Plumb, John H. Renaissance Florence. Newbury, NH: New Word City, Inc, 2015, pp. 4
  7. Spielvogel, Jackson J. Western Civilization (Eighth Edition), Volume II: Since 1500. Boston, MA: Wadsoworth, 2012, pp. 377 380 
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