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Free «Transition Development from the Medieval Period to the Renaissance Period» Essay Sample

The Renaissance period is an era that bridged the time in between the Middle Ages and the modern time or era of discovery. Renaissance originated from the French word “rinascimento”, which means rebirth. It started in Italy in the 14th century and spread to the rest of European countries by the 16th century (Hauser, 1999). It was a cultural and scientific movement that led to abandonment of the Medieval era and influenced European intellectual life such as in literature, art, music, philosophy, science, religion, new trading methods, ocean navigation, politics, and new printing techniques among other inventions (Hauser, 1999). This stimulated rather new development than it was in the Medieval era or Middle Ages period, which was full of poverty, warfare, political and religious conflicts. This paper will discuss in details the transition process from the Medieval to Renaissance period, showing how Renaissance development differs from that of the Medieval period and also its impact.

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Modern science and art were introduced during the early Renaissance by polymath artists like Leonardo da Vinci, who made observational drawings of nature and anatomy. He set up many controlled experiments in the medical section, water flow, and systematic study of aerodynamics and movements. This led to the identification of Leonardo as “the father of modern science”. The discovery of new continent by Christopher Columbus in 1492 resulted in the development of new medicines to suite the new environment that created great interest in studying chemistry and biological sciences (anatomy, botany, and medicine), leading to a major scientific advancement in the following age of discovery (Lodge, 2005).

Scientific revolution also led to the development of new scientific printing techniques. The first book De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) by Andreas Vesaliuswas printed in 1543. The content of this book resulted in the study of anatomy in a more confident way. At this time, Galileo Galilei, Johannes Kepler, and Tychro Brahe discovered that the Earth moves around the sun, which facilitated the study of geography. These changes were not specific discoveries but further developments in the process of discoveries, using scientific methods that significantly contributed to applied mathematics and discarded Aristotelian science. These scientific discoveries led to great interest in studying astronomy, biology, physics and anatomy, which were not realized in the Medieval era or Middle Ages.

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Renaissance also drove the development of humanism. During the Renaissance period, the highest cultural values of people were associated with the active involvement of individual in public life, political, moral, and military actions and finally public service that was contrary to that of the Middle Ages when the greatest cultural values were attached to religious devotion that applied only to a small number of people (Hauser, 1999). The Renaissance man was an individual, who actively participated in matters of public life and also possessed knowledge and skills in many subject areas. For example, Leonardo Da Vinci was a master painter, scientist, sculptor, inventor, architect, writer, and engineer (Hauser, 1999). Michelangelo was also an architect, sculptor, and superb painter. These men differed greatly than those of the Medieval Ages, who had just one major concern like Erasmus, who was just a churchman. Renaissance humanism was focused on teaching people how to participate and govern society rather than have individual aspirations a major concern as it was in the Middle Ages period.

During the Middle Ages, all things were centered on religion and church, but, in the Renaissance period, religion was one of the aspects that changed drastically. The Catholic Church had dominated most of the European states in the Middle Ages with the pope, being the most influential order and force body in politics, but, in the Renaissance, many people acted against the church influence (Pope Gregory VII, 1080). This led to questioning of the church due to the corruption issues that were often connected with church officials. Moreover, the highest priests like Pope Alexander the 6th broke the priestly vows by having not even one but several illegitimate children. Church officials were also caught in scandals where they gained material wealth through corruption, which angered many people and particularly Martin Luther as the church claimed to be people’s faith and a blameless organization. This weakened the church contrary to the Middle Ages, and people started to believe in human potential and dignity, forming their own churches. This led to the freedom of worship among people and also removed region from politics.  

 
 
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The Renaissance period empowered the economic growth leading to many economic changes that uplifted the living standards of people. During the Renaissance period, cities in Europe had been rapidly grown since there was trade between the states/cities and other countries (Petrarch, 1336). This helped trade and commerce move along the main routes of internal trade. Italian cities, where Renaissance started, became the most important trade centers as well as commercial centers, which sustained the social and political changes occurred at that time. This made Florence a wealthy Italian city and banking center of the 14th century. This was followed by the introduction of Medici bank in the 15th century, which operated mines, mills, loaning money to people and other commercial activities while its huge profits were used in financing cultural and political activities.

The art of painting developed to a great extent that contributed to its base. In the Middle Ages, art was religious in nature, and most of the paintings had only biblical scenes. These paintings lacked luster and were flat. The subject of paintings in the Medieval era was usually shown in profile. Additionally, the paintings were level with no perspective and real depth due to inappropriate shading. During the Renaissance period, the styles of painting, decorative art, and sculpture emerged in the late 14th century by people like Leonardo Da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo (Hauser, 1999). Leonardo showed his abilities in portraying light and shadow and also the relationship between humans, objects and animals, and their landscapes, which surrounded them. Michelangelo drew the human body, including all its parts that showed a more classical way of painting. The painters also engaged themselves in developing the landscape painting, trying to explain how our eyes perceive the elements in nature. They also developed the linear and aerial perspectives of painting, which led to new styles of architectural drawings. This made many people explore the art, which was now seen as a way of earning a living, rather than just concentrate on the art, which was only religious based in the Middle Ages period.

Like other arts, music had also a significant development during the Renaissance period. During this era, music had been released from the Middle constraints of range, harmony, rhythm, notations, and forms to the level of becoming a personal expression. Modern instruments such as guitar, violin, and keyboard were also born in this era (Hauser, 1999). Demand for music as a form of entertainment had increased due to the emergence of bourgeois class. Additionally, there were many music composers and singers, who appeared as a result of training and music education offered by many churches in the Renaissance. This training and music education led to the generation of many music styles as opposed to the Middle Ages.

The Renaissance was a cultural transition period when the biggest cultural development was observed. In this era, many people became capitalists and ended up engaging in business activity with new methods of trade than in those of the Middle Ages (Petrarch, 1336). The human personality became more important contrary to the Medieval times, and people started viewing themselves through their own efforts, intellect, knowledge, entrepreneurship, and good fortune. Corporate ties of the Middle Ages began to fade. There were various people with different professions such as poets, artists, philosophers, and philologists. Culture took a different perspective when an individual was emphasized by his own talents, skills, and knowledge through the educational process to determine his or her potential.

In a nutshell, the Renaissance was a rebirth of culture and arts in Europe after the Medieval era that passed without art. It was a revolutionary process that led to the development of culture and arts, enabling individual to participate actively in the matters of public life and also possess knowledge and skills in many subject areas like Leonardo Da Vinci and Michelangelo did. It also was a cultural and scientific movement that resulted in the refusal from the Medieval period and greatly affected European intellectual life in a new way. This led to the transition and discovery process that discarded the Middle Ages’ lifestyle full of poverty, wars, political and religious conflicts.

   

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