Renaissance: The Revival of European Art

The Renaissance is a period that bridge between two Ages of history: The Middle Ages and the Modern history. In Middle Ages it include the history till Roman Empire and the Modern history include the history after 17th century also include World Wars. This era starts at the 14th century, and duration of this period is up to late 17th century. It is often known as period of invention and innovation.

Historically, the Renaissance was a period lasting between 25 and 50 years and centered roughly on the year 1500. It can be characterized as the brilliant awakening of art, sculpture, thought and literature that pulled Europe from the intellectual darkness of the Middle Ages. It was not a natural evolutionary extension of the Middle Ages, but a cultural revolution, a reaction to the rigidity of medieval thought and tradition.


By definition, the word “renaissance” implies a revival or resurgence. The period known as the Renaissance was viewed as a rediscovery of the enlightenment of the golden ages of Greek and Roman (regarded as “classical”) civilization. In fact, while the Renaissance found many people reading classical thought, the true heart of the Renaissance involved a great deal of innovation and invention. Many universities sprang up throughout Europe, and there was a sudden surge in the dissemination of ideas.

The early years of the period 1280 to 1400 is known as a “proto-Renaissance”. The origin of the period can be found in the Italy. Artists in “proto-Renaissance” re-waked the ideas and achievements of classical Roman culture. Famous writer from the period Petrarch (1304-75) and Giovanni Baccaccio (1313-1375) wrote about the ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Other writer also described many events like the fall of Roman Empire and also about the Genghis khan. There are many famous painters in the early Renaissance period like Giotto di Bondone. Giotto was one of the most famous artists during the starting period of Renaissance. Artists in “proto-Renaissance” made enormous advances in the technique of representing the human body realistically.

The evolution was not only in literature and art but it also in some technology. Johann Gutenberg (1398 – 1468) developed the practical printing press in 1450 and the publishing industry was born. One of the best-selling authors was the witty Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus (27 October 1466 – 12 July 1536) of Rotterdam, whose humanist ideas epitomized the broad-minded, forward thinking of the Renaissance. The printing press notwithstanding, it is amazing that the Renaissance happened to quickly and that it occurred throughout the whole of Europe. For example, many of the greatest names in the history of art were contemporaries.

According to legend the proto-Renaissance was end with a war and plague and started a new period of The Renaissance known as the Early Renaissance Art (1400/01 – 1490s). This time frame is also known as the Quattrocento. During this time other major artists come over like Masaccio (1401-1428). Masaccio was an Italian painter known for The Holy Trinity, with the Virgin and Saint John and donors (1425) and The Tribute Money (1425). Both of this work is in Fresco (a technique of mural painting executed upon freshly-laid or wet lime plaster).

Renaissance paintings

After 1490s the new time phase starts of the Renaissance. In Italy there were many famous artist done like Sandro Botticelli (1444-1510), Michaelangelo Buonarruti (1475-1564), Perugino (1446-1523), Raphael (1483-1520), Tiziano Vecelli (Titian) (1477-1526) and the great Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). This High Renaissance period extends up to 1527. These artists helped to revolutionize art by studying the details of natural form and the intricacies of the interaction of light and shadow on that form. In that time many famous art made by the Great Artist Leonardo da Vinci. He is known as the “Renaissance Man”. He made some of his well known Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and the Virgin of Rocks. Leonardo was not only a painter he was a sculptor, architect, musician, geologist, mathematician, inventor, engineer and writer too. He was often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance man, a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”.

In same time north of the Alps, there was an equally impressive list of artists: Hieronymus Bosch (1450-1516), Lucas Cranach (1472-1553), Albrecht Durer (1471-1528), Hans Holbein (1465-1524) and Hans Memling (1430-1495). The Renaissance was not restricted to the visual arts. The Flemish composer Josquin de Pres (1445-1521) composed his Miserere mei, Deus, considered to be the best early example of counterpoint.

All of these people were active simultaneously in 1492 when Christopher Columbus (1451-1506) made his epic first voyage, and Michaelangelo and Durer were still alive when the expedition mounted by Ferdinand Magellan (1480?-1521) circumnavigated the globe. They paved the way for future generations of artists and composers.

In terms of science, a new generation of scholars born during, or immediately after, the Renaissance, revolutionized the way people viewed the world. Nicolas Koper-nick (Copernicus) (1478-1543) determined that the Earth revolved around the Sun, not vice versa as commonly believed.  Johann Kepler (1571-1630) explained the laws of planetary motion. While studying the heavens with his telescope, Galileo Galilei (1546-1642) discovered the moons of Jupiter and the rings of Staurn. William Gilbert (1540-1603) coined the term electricity in 1600. Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) was the first to employ modern surgical techniques.

At the end of historical period of the Renaissance Era, which was ruled by Queen Elizabeth I (1558-1663), this era, was considered the “golden era” of the renaissance. Fine artwork was just one of the many fascinations in the Elizabethan Era. The golden era and the Renaissance period end at late 15th century. The whole Renaissance period described by the great writer, painter architect and historian Giorgio Vasari (30 July 1511 – 27 June 1574), in the “Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects” (1550). It is consider as the ideological foundation of art-historical writing.

The Renaissance was a time of art, music, engineering, trade, and amazing change. The Renaissance changed the face of humanity forever and continues to the light the path ahead in the twenty-first century. The Renaissance was a milestone because it suddenly and profoundly affected the course of so many aspects of the history of Western art and culture.

Ivory Soda

'Ello there!, I do WordPress stuff, in love with Windows 10 & Lumia (Yes! Still Lumia). I also write about Microsoft & Technology for various publications.

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