Shift To Modernity In The Renaissance Period History Essay

1021 words (4 pages) Essay

1st Jan 1970 History Reference this


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This transition paper will act as a brief summary that covers some of the major events that happened during the shift to modernity in the Renaissance period. Over the course of this paper, one will go over areas that were very influential to the great shift from the Middle-Ages to that of the Renaissance period such as: philosophy, art, religion and more. Upon conclusion of this brief paper, one will gather a greater understanding of transition to the modern age, events and people who helped inspire this shift from the Middle-Ages to the Modern Age.

The period of the Italian Renaissance followed the Middle-Ages, and was risen by the beginning of the philosophy of humanism, which focused on the overall importance of individual achievements that covered a broad range of areas. During this timeframe, there were humanists like Francesco Petrarch, who got his inspiration from the ancient Romans and Greeks by mixing different types of philosophies and the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. Humanist also influenced arts and literature to a point where they sky-rocketed to a new high of great importance. Even though this transition affected Europe, the Renaissance period began in Italy within the city-states. Political officials and the Italian merchants commissioned and supported the great artists of this era, therefore, the products of timeframe ended up growing up within their own walls. Florence was considered to be the most powerful of the city-states. The Papal States, Milan and Vince, each displayed its own distinct character, and this was due to the fact that each had its own forms of governments. Florence can be considered to be the actual origin of the Renaissance and as a powerful trading post, but they retained power from results of the leadership the Medici family provided (Perry, Marvin, Margaret Jacob, et al).

As for the pope, these individuals had great responsibility for ruling Rome and running the Catholic Church. While the northern city-states grew with power, the Papacy had become the seat of a worldwide politician rather than that of a spiritual leader. Quite a few of the Roman Catholic Church leaders eventually fell victim to the vices of preferential treatment and bribery that usually accompanied the powers in these positions. On the other hand, Rome, which was a victim of a declination period that had shattered the ancient city all through the Middle Ages, flourished yet again under the leadership of the papacy during the Renaissance. Milan and Venice had gains of wealth and power, playing huge parts in the attraction of many artists and writers to their own wealthy streets and the politics in Italy (Perry, Marvin, Margaret Jacob, et al).

By far, the most significant attribute during the Renaissance timeframe was the continuous development of the arts, and the integration of fresh styles and techniques. Throughout the early stage of the Renaissance, various painters and sculptors tried different techniques to make the portrayal of perspective better. This new method started to be perfected and was used as a stepping stone for other artist to emulate; however, it seems as if the production and artistic talent eventually came later, in the form of Michelangelo, Raphael, and Leonardo da Vinci, who still are considered to be the best artists of the Renaissance era. There were other new developments that also contributed to the transition to the Modern Age and the invention of printing aided in the increased take on literature as a key as aspect in everyone’s daily life. Obviously, writers such as Niccolo Machiavelli, Pico, and Boccaccio, now, had a great innovation to get their works distributed cheaper and even easier because of the increased demand for printed books (Perry, Marvin, Margaret Jacob, et al).

Unfortunately, this period of great heights could not last forever, and starting with the invasion of the French of Italy in 1494 was overwhelmed by the existence of foreign powers competing for parts of the Italian peninsula. The Renaissance collapsed and the economy restrictions placed on the states in Italy by Charles V, along with the suppression the Roman Catholic Church committed to by responding to the growth of the Reformation movement. They ensured that the strength of the Renaissance was trampled, and Italy stopped being the structure of intellectual, artistic and economic prosperity. Honestly, the greatest impact during the Renaissance period was the Reformation and this would not have happened if the Italian Renaissance did not create a climate of intellectualism and passion that passed throughout Europe, which allowed aged old values to be challenged. The papacy took a downfall into the area of corruption on several occasions, and the sale of indulgences, essentially pardons for sins ended up pushing the reformers over the edge to point where they started protesting. The overall results of this movement shook the foundation of Europe and created a split in Christianity that is currently a strong source of the clash as we know it today (Perry, Marvin, Margaret Jacob, et al).

In summary, the transition from the Middle Ages to the Modern Age was foreshadowed by secularization, political centralization and expansion in the economy. The Catholic Church was weakened by internal conflicts/differences as well as by arguments between the state and the church. The great Middle Age unity of Christianity was eventually devastated by theories of religion that culminated in the Protestant Reformation. In my honest opinion, I see the shift as being good because of the new ideas/technique that were brought to the forefront that made people look at art and literature at a different perspective; however, on the bad side, the reformation movement presented a conflict that is still ongoing today (Perry, Marvin, Margaret Jacob, et al).

Work Cited

Perry, Marvin, Margaret Jacob, et al. Textbook Reviews. Outlines & Highlights for Western Civilization.

Ninth. 1. Boston, MA: Wadsworth Pub Co, 2009. Print.

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