Renaissance vs. the Middle Ages

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From the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, Europe underwent a great deal of changes in culture, most notably art and religion. In the Middle Ages, people were more focused on the religion and spirituality, whereas during the Renaissance, the focus was more secular: right here and now as humans on Earth. Although these periods differ in many ways, three of the most notable changes were in architecture, art, and philosophy.

Architecture shifted from religious admiration to classic inspiration between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. During the Middle Ages, architecture was built usually for making advancements in the church. Medieval cathedrals had distinctive features such as pointed arches, flying buttresses, and massive stained glass windows. Renaissance architecture was modeled after the classic Greek and Roman structures and was built with geometry, symmetry, and proportion in mind. Orderly arrangements of columns, pilasters, and lintels, as well as the use of semicircular arches and hemispherical domes replaced medieval buildings.

Art became very different between the two periods as well. Three important changes that occurred in art from the medieval period to the Renaissance were: the evolving role of the artist from craftsman to independent artist; the incorporation of more secular objects into works of art, particularly mythological objects; and the expansion of individual art styles and techniques. Painters in the Middle Ages got most the inspiration from the Bible, and in the Renaissance painters looked to the classics and mythology for inspiration.

Finally, philosophy changed significantly from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. Middle Age philosophy was very varied and was a mix of classical pagan philosophy (mainly Greek and Roman), Christian beliefs, and some Islamic and Jewish beliefs. Medieval thinkers practiced scholasticism, which placed an emphasis on dialectical reasoning. Conversely, Renaissance philosophy was based upon the Classic...
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