In his own words, Walter Pater felt that the Renaissance was
the most interesting period in the history of the mind.
This statement clearly reflects that Pater not only analyzes that period from the mere perspective of artistic expression. As both a philosopher and a writer, Pater tends to explore what motivated such exquisite manifestations of beauty, ideology, and genius. He studies it from a historical, psychological, social, and emotional point of view that leads us to understand the multidimensional world of Renaissance Europe. At the same time, he includes the detail and care that was given to Art as a form of expression, and as a conduit of pure beauty.
Pater tracks the evolution of the Renaissance to as early as the late 13th century, where already there had been signs of change in society. He notices that this period tends to revert to the classic art of the Greeks, but that the style is more in-depth than a mere recreation of artistic expression. He says that the movement is:
not merely the revival of classical antiquity which took place in the fifteenth century . . . but a whole complex movement, of which that revival of classical antiquity was but one element or symptom.
To support this statement, think of the magnificent changes that took place during this time. The greats such as Da Vinci, Bramante, Michaelangelo, Raphael, and Boticelli expressed gave the world their genius. The best novels, paintings, sculptures were produce then. The combination of a reversal to the classical past and a love for nature were equally exemplified by the combination of bucolic art with classical art. Walter Pater agreed that this period was the biggest awakening in human intellect, and perhaps the time when beauty was appreciated in its highest splendor.