Italian Renaissance Humanism

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In the Italian Renaissance, about the late fourteenth century, the idea of humanism was created; likewise, it was given a name by Leonardo Bruni. The idea of humanism was centered mainly on human beings and their achievements, interests, and capabilities. Interest in human achievement led humanists to point out the importance of individualism. Many loved the idea of individualism for the very reason that it glorified their personalities as individuals. Therefore, the Italian Renaissance idea of humanism transformed the ideas about an individual’s role in society through its emphasis on uniqueness, genius, and full development of one’s capabilities and talents.

In many ways an individual’s role in society was changed by the importance of one’s uniqueness. In the fourteenth century, humanists wanted to be considered unique because it put them in a whole unique class of their own, they would have many traits that were very unique that distinguished them. This seemed to many individuals a sense of glory and exceptional power. In an essence, this concept of uniqueness was like human self-worship. In addition, some humanist writers said that men were special since they were made in God’s image, and that men could do anything they wanted to. For instance, Leon Battista Alberti once said, “Men can do all things if they will.” Humanists were very confident in who they were as a person and as an individual. Even though humanists were confident in themselves, they still tried to put emphasis on God and how humans are divine because they were made in his image.

The idea of being a genius was another main idea that the humanists laid emphasis on as important, mainly because they liked the idea that they were considered to be very smart and wise. Humanists changed the people thought in society by telling them since they made in the image of God they were not only unique, but they could also do anything they set their mind to if they worked really hard and used their...
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