What are the important characteristics of the Renaissance?

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Renaissance is often referred to as the "rebirth" of classical Greek and Roman culture in Europe.  It had its roots in Italy and followed the Middle, or Dark, Ages after the fall of the western Roman Empire in 476 AD.  While the Middle Ages focused on religion and authority, the Renaissance was much more humanistic period.  While there wasn't an immediate abandonment of religion, the glory and power of man was much more evident in the Renaissance.

People began to seek answers to scientific questions and life in places other than the Bible leading to many scientific discoveries and explorations that would irrevocably change the world.  Artists often looked to Greek and Roman culture for their inspiration and often superimposed those cultural traits into Renaissance works that involved Christian themes.  Above all, while the Middle Ages could be referred to as the age of God, the Renaissance had its focus squarely on the achievements and abilities of man.