Renaissance Research Paper

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Words: 1041
Pages: 5

Emily O'Connor
1st Block 8-29-14 Renaissance Essay (Final Copy)
How Did the Renaissance Change Man's View of Man? Imagine moving to a different country after living in the same one for your entire life. The people are different, the language is different, and most of all, the culture is nothing like you’ve ever seen before. Around the mid 14th century, this feeling of massive change occured in Europe. From the collapse of the Roman Empire to 1350 CE, Europe went through a time known as, The Middle Ages where technological advances were exceedingly slow. During this time, the church held a firm grasp on society, causing many people to be illiterate. Although the majority of people were illiterate, the monks of the Catholic Church were some of the only people during this time to be granted with the gift of literacy. But at the start of the mid 14th century, Europe would never be the same again. What began is what we now call, The Renaissance. The renaissance was a time of rebirth, the attention of the European’s slowly began to shift from the Church to man himself. Art, Creativity, and Humanism sprouted up to give life back to what was lost during The Middle Ages. When we think of the word “Renaissance” the name, DaVinci usually comes to mind. Like most renaissance men, DaVinci was an extremely accomplished painter. During the Middle Ages, the majority of paintings, if not all, were purely centered around themes relating to God and the Church. At the start of the Renaissance, that all changed. Painters like Leonardo DaVinci started painting things such as the Mona Lisa (Document A) which focused more intensely on the human form and expression. In the Middle Ages, paintings were usually unrealistically created, but still keeping Christ as the main subject. For instance, in the late 1200’s a painter by the name of, Duccio di Buoninsegna created a painting titled, Madonna Enthroned Between Two Angels. (Document A) In this painting, there are two people. A woman painted with little detail, and a small child that seems to resemble an old man. The style used in this painting is very simple, but it gets the desired point across that is indeed based on religion. If we compare this painting to DaVinci’s, Mona Lisa, we can see that much more effort was put into the facial expression, background, and bodily features. This just goes to show how different Renaissance was from the Middle Ages. The focus that was once on the church, shifted to the individual. Aside from art, literature is also one of the major changes between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. In Document B, we look at an excerpt from the English play, "Everyman." In this excerpt the poet explores the theme of Christian morality. The poem’s focus is mostly around the subject of sin, and is an overall dark layout on how life was seen. But like Document A, the changes made during the Renaissance were definitely welcome. Written by, William Shakespeare in 1601, an excerpt from the play, "Hamlet" explores more pleasant themes, praising the nobility of mankind unlike the former piece. Hamlet seems to celebrate how “godlike” mankind truly is and how perfect, and admirable we are compared to other life. On the other hand, "Everyman" focuses on how we walk foolishly and powerlessly into our eternal graves. Not only does this Document further prove how the Renaissance changed our view of ourselves, but it gives us a solid understanding as to who we really are and what we are like. In Document C, we can see that the arts were not the only subject influenced by the Renaissance, but also subjects like Astronomy. Around the year 100 CE, a Roman astronomer from Alexandria, Egypt, created a theory, known as "the Geocentric Universe", that all life was centered around the earth. But about 1400 years later, a Polish astronomer, named Nicolaus Copernicus created a new theory relying on his knowledge of