What was the Renaissance and what caused it?
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The Renaissance (from the French word meaning "re-birth") was a cultural movement spanning (depending on which cultural historians you believe) from the 14th to the 17th centuries.
I'm not sure you could say something caused the Renaissance as such, but the "re-birth" which gives the period its name is the re-birth of classical culture, which was rediscovered and re-examined during the period. Artists, writers, sculptors, musicians and architects began to look back to Greek and Roman times, and seek out ideas and inspiration from ancient texts.
The changes in the Renaissance were social and political as well as intellectual, primarily because of an emphasis on secular, rational understanding of the world beginning to displace the previous emphasis on religious or spiritual understanding.
Lastly, it's probably also worth pointing out that some historians question the usefulness of the term 'Renaissance', and ask whether the cultural phenomenon it described ever really occurred.
Well, my history teacher seems to think that there were 'causes'.
That really help me.
who knows and who cares... lol
The Renaissance, a movement which stressed the ideas of the classical world, has been described as ending the medieval era and heralding the start of the modern age. Its causes were many, all deeply interconnected and now historians debate the relative importance of each, as well as when the Renaissance actually began. The mid fourteenth century is a common date for the start, although some commentators go back further. In addition Florence was once identified as the initial home of the Renaissance, but some histories widen this to Italy as a whole. The following are the main factors:
However, more positive currents were also evident. In Italy, Venice and Genoa had grown rich on trade with the Orient, while Florence was a centre of wool, silk and jewellery production, and was home to the fabulous wealth of the art-conscious Medici dynasty.
Prosperity was also coming to Northern Europe, as evidenced by the establishment in Germany of the Hanseatic League of cities. This increasing wealth provided the financial support for a growing number of commissions of large public and private art projects, while the trade routes upon which it was based greatly assisted the spread of ideas and thus contributed to the growth of the movement across the Continent. Allied to this spread of ideas, which incidentally speeded up significantly with the invention of printing, there was an undoubted sense of impatience at the slow progress of change. After a thousand years of cultural and intellectual starvation, Europe (and especially Italy) was anxious for a re-birth.
Weakness of the Church
Paradoxically, the weak position of the Church gave added momentum to the Renaissance. First, it allowed the spread of Humanism - which in bygone eras would have been strongly resisted; second, it prompted later Popes (eg. Pope Julius II, 1503-13) to spend extravagantly on architecture, sculpture and painting in Rome and in the Vatican (eg. see Vatican Museums, notably the Sistine Chapel frescoes) - in order to recapture their lost influence. Their response to the Reformation (c.1520) - known as the Counter Reformation - continued this process to the end of the sixteenth century.
An Age of Exploration
The Renaissance era in art history parallels the onset of the great Western age of discovery, during which appeared a general desire to explore all aspects of nature and the world. European naval explorers discovered new sea routes, new continents and established new colonies. In the same way, European architects, sculptors and painters demonstrated their own desire for new methods and knowledge. According to the Italian painter, architect, and Renaissance commentator Giorgio Vasari (1511-74), it was not merely the growing respect for classical antiquity that drove the Renaissance, but also a growing desire to study and imitate nature.
Okay, you seem so smart but yet you copied it from this site...
It's called copy right when you don't list what site you went on.
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