Renaissance: Transformed Economics, Trade, Knowledge, Learning, and Arts

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The Renaissance was knows as the “rebirth”, the revival of the culture of classical Greece and Rome. People started taking interest in learning classical Greece and Roman texts, therefore there was a rebirth of learning (also because the Medieval times lacked education).

It transformed economics and trade, knowledge and learning, and the arts.

It begins in Italy in the 1350s after the Crusades and later spread to Northern Europe. Italy became the birthplace because of its thriving cities, a wealthy merchant class, and the classical heritage of Greece and Rome.

Sources of Renaissance Ideas

1. Trade flourished and made cities richer— Trade led to growth of large city-states in northern Italy. These places became urban. In these cities people often exchanged ideas and from this bred intellectual revolution. Merchants helped create the economic system of capitalism. 2. Bubonic Plague— The bubonic plague that killed half of the population brought upon a change in the economy. When there were few laborers, they could demand high wages. Thus, there were fewer opportunities to expand business. Merchants then begun to pursue other interest, such as art. 3. Reviving Greece and Roman Art— Renaissance scholars returned to the learning of the Greeks and Romans. Firstly, artists and scholars of Italy drew inspiration from the ruins of Rome that surrounded them. Second, Western scholars studied ancient Latin manuscripts that had been preserved in monasteries. Christian scholars in Constantinople fled to Rome with Greek manuscripts.


The study of classical texts led to humanism.

Humanists studied ancient texts to understand Greek values. They influenced artist and architects to carry on classical traditions. They also popularized the study of subjects common to classical education.


Individualism is the belief in the primary importance of the individual and in the virtues of self-reliance and personal independence.

Examples of Individualism

Patrons— By patronage and having their portraits painted or by donating art to the city to place in public squares, this demonstrated their own importance.

Universal/Renaissance Man

Renaissance writers introduced the idea that all educated people were expected to create art. The ideal individual strove to master almost every area of study.

In Baldassare Castiglione’s The Courtier, it stated that a young man should be charming, witty, and well educated in the classics. He should dance, sing, play music, and write poetry. In addition, he should be a skilled rider, wrestler, and swordsman.

For Renaissance women, they should expect to seek fame. They were expected to inspire art, but rarely create it.

Renaissance Values VS Middle Ages Values

Medieval| Renaissance|
Suffer on Earth for reward in heaven.| Worldly pleasure | For the glory of god| For fame and glory|
| Humanism|
| |

The Medieval mind VS Renaissance mind

Medieval| Renaissance|
Medieval scholars tried to make classical texts agree with Christian teachings| Studied ancient texts to understand Greek values. | People demonstrated piety by wearing rough clothing and eating plain foods. | Humanists suggested that a person might enjoy life without offending God. During the Renaissance, the wealthy enjoyed material luxuries, good music, and fine foods. |

Renaissance Art VS Middle Ages Art

Medieval| Renaissance|
Medieval artists used religious subjects to convey a spiritual ideal. | Renaissance artist often portrayed religious subjects, but with a realistic style copied from classical models. | | Art drew on techniques and styles of classical Greece and Rome| | Paintings and sculptures portrayed individuals and nature in more realistic and lifelike ways. | | Artists created works that were secular as well as those that were religious.| | Writers began to use vernacular...
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