Compare and Contrast Medieval Ages and Renaissance

Topics: Middle Ages, Europe, Renaissance Pages: 5 (1758 words) Published: June 6, 2012
The Medieval Ages and Renaissance were periods of distinct cultural and worldviews within the continent of Europe. Both the Medieval Ages and Renaissance had the presence of a social organization and had artwork centered on religion. However, during the Renaissance architecture was influenced by Greco-Roman styles, had the existence of towns, questioned the power of the Catholic Church, and had an educated public. The Medieval Ages was the period of European history between the 5th and the 15th century. Normally marked from the collapse of the Western Roman Empire, this time period was an unproductive one where the public lived in constant fear of barbarian invasions. Little to no thinking occurred as life itself seemed to worsen as time progressed. Soon after the commercial revolution, came a period of cultural prosperity known as the Renaissance. During this time much of the lost wonders of the Roman and Greek civilizations were re-established into society and improved upon. Both during the Medieval ages and Renaissance a social hierarchy existed. During the Medieval Ages there were four main classes, Lords, Nobles, Knights and Serfs. Lords were the rich elites who owned the manor. They appointed Nobles who would tend to matters within the manor and take care of it in their absence, since they often owned multiple manors. Knights were below nobles and were in charge of protecting the Lords, Nobles, and Serfs from Nomadic invasions. Serfs were the lowest of all classes within the manors. Serfs were peasants who were bound to the land; they lived off of the land that was supplied to them by the lord. They often lived in shakes that were on the fields and were never allowed to enter the castle. Although they did not enjoy Peasantry life they were willing to except it in order to receive protection. During Renaissance, the social structure changed completely from that of feudalism. This is partially because of the bubonic plague; also called the "Black Death" occurred in the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance and devastated one half of the population of Europe. As Peasants died in vast amounts, economic depression became more prevalent, this in turn made Peasants request more pay and better conditions for their work, since there were such little left. The social structure was composed of four social classes. The Kings were on the top; holding the most political power as well as money. They often established laws with the consolidation of a select group of Nobles. The nobles were treated well. They protected the king and received land in return. Consequently, the nobles owned much of the land, and lived on large estates outside the city walls. Due to the overwhelming demand in the market, the number of trading activities rapidly increased. As a result, the merchants were the newly rich, who gained wealth in industries like wool processing, boat making and banking. As the middle class gained more wealth artisans became to emerge who created master pieces to be sold to the public. The lowest level was composed of workers, who did not have job protection and were very dependent on their employers. Workers who violated rules could have their wages withheld or could be discharged from their jobs. Art during both ages were heavily revolved around religion. During Medieval Times art work often depicted images of angels and Saint Mary such as done in The Annunciation, painted by Simon Martini. This is because religion was the only aspect of society that connected everyone as a whole, thus making it the most important thing in the lives of people. Also, During Medieval times, the Catholic church took the place of the government as the patron of the arts. Therefore, most artists would be commissioned to have their work be of a religious nature. During the Renaissance, prominent artists such as Leonardo da Vinchi painted religious scenes. Religious subjects were chosen during the Renaissance because of the humanistic approach that...
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