Renaissance means revival or restoration or rebirth .The Italian Renaissance was a humanistic revival, of art, literature, architecture and learning that started in the late Middle Ages 1330-1550.This marked the transition from, medieval to modern times. Renaissance began in the city states of Italy. The most powerful city-states were The Papal State, Venice, Florence and Milan. The Italian renaissance was because of the birth of humanism philosophy. Humanism is all about the philosophy of renaissance, knowing the potential of individuals and their achievements. In humanism, human beings capable of doing good and being truthful.


The climate of Italy favored the Renaissance. The Italians earned their living through sea and trade. Large cities were built on seacoasts as Italy developed. The temperate climate of Italy allowed growth of fruits such as grapes and olives. These fruits are up to date a major source of income in Italy. Geographically, Italy is located centrally towards Africa and the Middle East, this allows for efficient trade: location is everything.

The major participants of this period included early humanists such as writer Petrarch Francesco and Boccaccio. Petrarch Francesco was referred to as the founder of humanism. Their likes together with Plato and other ancient thinkers helped in shaping this period. These early humanists studied the ancient Greeks and Romans for inspiration and ideology. They also used the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church for extracting ideas. Boticelli was a know painter of   the Renaissance. Brunelleschi was one of the best architects and sculptors; he designed the dome of the Cathedral of Florence. This dome still dominates the Frolentine skyline up to date.

Isabella d’Este was the most outstanding, most powerful and most intelligent woman of the renaissance .She memorized all the works of the ancient scholars. Isabella actively participated and excelled in singing, dancing and playing musical instruments. Being the duchess of Mantua, she exerted a great influence in politics, economy of the city and social life. Under the influence of the early humanists and the ancient thinkers literature, religion, arts and philosophy upgraded .

Donatello was of one the greatest sculptors. He created several masterpieces .The most important was that of David, the Hebrew king. David was a freestanding naked figure. Donatello also created the first bronze statue of the Renaissance, of a soldier on a horseback. Johann Gutenberg invented a printing press in Germany. The first book to be printed was Gutenberg Bible. He laid a stepping stone for the age of printed books. At this era, books became cheaper and affordable Michaelangelo had a   talent that was spotted at a tender age. Lorenzo de Medici spotted Michaelangelo’s talent, the boy was brought up in the palace carved the Pieta and painted walls and ceilings of the Sistine chapel.

             The Italian renaissance period helped in the furthering of arts, literature, religion, philosophy, music and the advancement of new techniques and styles. Pico was a well-known philosopher and a writer in the Renaissance. His famous work was the 900 philosophical treasities. He believed in the freewill of man and the ability of man to communicate directly with   God without a priest. Renaissance led to invention of printing and the rise of literature. Italian writers, who included Niccolo Machiavelli and Pico, distributed their books easily and at a cheaper price because of the rise of printed materials.

There are three reasons that made Italy the revival place of renaissance; the ancient Roman ruins where located in Italy. The invention of the printing press helped spread new ideas quickly and accurately. Considering that the printed articles were easily available and were affordable, everyone accessed and received the information .The rise of vibrant economy contributed to the renaissance in Italy. Italian  city  states like  Milan , Florence  and Venice  helped in patronizing the arts and the crafts .This lead  to wealth  and freedom of expression thriving in  Italy. This freedom led to people becoming more knowledgeable since information was shared without limitations.

Renaissance period generated four new patterns of thought amongst the people, these are : Secularism, humanism , individualism and skepticism. Secularism means worldly. The medieval civilization was concerned about the religious world   and the next world that is the world after ones death. However the urban civilization came along with the new   competitive economic and political horizons. New opportunities arose in the Western Europe, this made m any people interested in the world. The art too adopted and exhibited the secular spirit. The fact that people and the artistes became more open minded, they painted detailed, accurate sceneries of anatomy and nature. On the other hand, medieval artistes ignored such things; their paintings were only meant for the glory of God.

Humanism portrays that the center of attraction and attention has shifted to the humans. According to the Humanists, the human body is a beauty of its own. It also describes the group of scholars and ancient thinkers who drew inspiration and ideology from secular Roman  and Greek  civilizations.

Individualism proves that human beings are capable of real great accomplishments and achievements. The importance of individualism is that it granted freedom to those who embraced it. These included the geniuses and many artistes. The artiste’s paintings and their arts showed individualistic pride in their work Leornado da Vinci lived up to his potential without being held back by the medieval society that discouraged innovation.

Skepticism was an outgrowth of the three renaissance ideas. It has led to curiosity and questioning of authority and theories .It has led to controversies between the church and Renaissance Humanists. The controversies have led to Protestant Reformation, the Age of Exploration and The Scientific Revolution all of which alter how Western Europe views the universe. The spirit of skepticism under graded the authorities, regulations and its theories. This led to more challenges by the Protestants. The Protestants Reformation   created room for new thoughts on social, political, economic and scientific affairs.

Literature and learning all changed during Renaissance. Through out the Middle Ages learning and most books were of religious nature. There were a few monasteries by then but very few people made use of them .Increased wealth, presence of printing press and increased freedom of expression changed it all. The newly educated people from the noble classes and the middle class wanted to get more enlightened, therefore they opted for more practical books .They wanted books and articles that enlightened them on secular education, business world and politics.

Renaissance art contrasted in all aspects with the medieval one. More portraits were on secular themes. Paintings were detailed and flourished; there was also a medieval gothic style during renaissance. Music in the Renaissance was improved to classical music. Violins were developed. Counterpoint refers to the blending of two melodies and polyphony refers to interweaving several melodic lines were discovered in the renaissance period.


The Italian Renaissance led to economic, social and political improvement. It increased the freedom of expression amongst the people. That was a positive change because many people became knowledgeable. The Renaissance gave rise to new and improved type of music in the industry. Increased wealth and job opportunities boosted the economy and made people learn to value them selves. Renaissance thinkers decried medieval life as primitive and looked to the ancient times of Greeks and Romans for ideology and inspiration.      It is a dilemma as the principles of humanism and individualism rival the doctrines of the church.

Works Cited:

Symonds, John A. Renaissance in Italy. New York: Modern Library, 1935. Print

Martines, Lauro. Power and Imagination: City-states in Renaissance Italy. New York: Knopf, 1979. Print.

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