Renaissance Humanism and the Individual's Role in Society

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Renaissance Humanism And the Individual's’ Role in Society

Humanism emphasize the importance of the Individual, promoted emotions and rational thought partly while rebelling against medieval traditions and views on religion, de-emphasizing sacrifice and devotion to prayer and other spiritual matters. Humanist scholars were attracted to classical literature of the Romans and Greeks, bringing secularism, rhetoric, and focus on logic to Europe, which is part of why scholars gradually floated away from blindly following religious traditions. Humanists teachings included rhetoric and moral philosophy, going against traditional ways of education. In fact, many humanists believed that tradition were useless in many aspects. They believed that education should not only inform but “promote individual virtual and public service”(pg 327). Vittorino da Feltre, an Italian humanist teacher, not only had his students read works of classical philosophers, but also instructed them to exercise and to participate in games. Desiderius Erasmus, one of the most famous humanists, instructed his students to show good manners, speak well, and live a healthy life. Renaissance art expressed the ideal of the individual’s worth by focusing on expression of emotions. Leonardo da Vinci, for example, expressed feelings and moods through body language and facial features. His soulful self portrait and the world famous Mona-Lisa showed deep mood and hidden feelings. Michelangelo also expressed individualism through his works of art. His “David” and “Dying Slave” showed the human potential through the statues’ perfect physique. Art during this time period also became more precise and rational in nature. Shading and linear perspective ( when objects were drawn in different scales to create the illusion of three dimensional distance on a two dimensional graph) were brought forth, helping artists to create pieces closer to reality. Raphael's “Marriage of the Virgin” , Antonello da Messina...
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