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Culture of Renaissance vs. Culture of Late Middle Ages
Following the period of time known as the Late Middle Ages, the Italian Renaissance is significantly marked by several cultural and artistic achievements. With artists such as Jan van Eyck, known for his remarkable attention to human personality, and Michelangelo, painter of the Sistine Chapel, the quality of art during the Italian Renaissance greatly surpasses the generic faces and gothic-like qualities of the Late Middle Ages. As far as technology is concerned, the invention of the printing press during the Renaissance is far more advanced than the writing of scribes in the Late Middle Ages. When it comes to the achievements of the Renaissance, there is no doubt that it was truly a unique era in European history. As time progressed through the 1300's, and then the 1400's, the artistic ability of the Renaissance became stronger and stronger. Artists became more aware of their work, and created new ways to construct their masterpieces. Just one of these improvements was the increased use of colored oil paints. By using colorful oil paints instead of the dull, traditional black and white paintings of the Middle Ages, canvases were now bursting with color, and had more of a textural look to them. Forming color paintings made the gothic-looking paintings of the Middle Ages old news. Using color also creates a new, deeper sense of dimension, and an all-around better painting. Pursuing this further, the earlier works of the Middle Ages were usually one-dimensional. By adding color to the palette, it became much easier to create objects and humans that seemed to almost pop out of the picture! This sense of dimension, called a perspective, was used more and more frequently in the Renaissance. As long as a professional had mastered the art of using perspectives, creating scenes using real figures and people became a much easier task. An entire setting using people and objects, such as The Last Supper, created by Leonardo da Vinci, was no problem. Assuredly, the art during the Middle Ages wasn't always dull and boring. However, there was a great lack of emotion in all paintings unlike the cheerful and full of expression works of art during the Renaissance. As artists became more familiar with the idea of perspective, significant emotion became a better alternative to those drab, emotionless paintings of the Middle Ages. Renaissance art was created to smile, cry, and even laugh! Along with more exciting art, came more patrons to the arts. Unlike the Middle Ages, the Renaissance had many patrons of the arts including popes and merchant princes. The Middle Ages merely had few patrons of whom belonged to the church. Moreover, the Middle Ages, along with art, were not exactly the epitome of technology. Instead of being able to easily create a letter to a friend, or a newspaper for the town, those of the Middle Ages had to use scribes. During the Renaissance, Johann Gutenberg of Germany devised a solution for the time consuming use of scribes. He invented the printing press. The printing press was an easier way of creating a document, and allowing those of the Renaissance to stop relying on scribes to write everything for them. The printing press revolutionized writing, and replaced bothersome block printing. It wasn't long before this Renaissance invention was being used all over Germany. Granted that the Middle Ages had one advance over the Renaissance, the social status of women was much higher than that of the Renaissance. However, all other thoughts aside, the art, culture, and technology of the Renaissance overtakes those of the Middle Ages by far. Artists were more intellectual, and knew of more exciting and intriguing techniques, making their art greatly superior to that of the Middle Ages. Technology was also more advanced in the Renaissance. The printing press was single-handedly the greatest invention of the time period, and the most revolutionary. The Renaissance is obviously and indefinitely a unique era in European history.