What were the most important factors that changed from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance?

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Art and literature greatly transformed from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. During the Middle Ages, art was often one-dimensional and lacked depictions of movement. Religion was often incorporated into art, and particularly in the latter part of this era, Gothic elements became common characteristics of architecture. An example of architecture representing this period of time is the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. Literature from this period often focused on Christian themes, such as the struggle between good and evil. Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight are representative examples of literature reflecting these ideals.

By contrast, the art of the Renaissance period focused on depth perception, which made art more fluid. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, and Raphael came to embody the ideals of Renaissance art. Architecture also embraced greater symmetry and proportion; the Sistine Chapel reflects these geometric standards. The invention of the printing press meant that literature could be more readily produced in numerous languages, and drama gained momentum during this era. One of the most influential dramatists and poets emerging from the Renaissance was William Shakespeare.

A growing understanding of scientific principles and the human body meant that those living in the Renaissance enjoyed a better understanding of their world. Both the microscope and the telescope were invented during this era, forever altering humans' perspective of the world in both minute and grand ways. The invention of eyeglasses, flushing toilets, and the mechanical clock all served practical purposes that made daily life more convenient during this period.

Also worth noting is the shift from a community-based mindset during the Middle Ages to a focus on the importance of the individual during the Renaissance. This shift can be seen in political decisions, philosophical principles, and artwork reflective of those respective eras.

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