Evolution of Man Through the Arts
Man has always wondered about his place in the universe. Lasting from the 1300’s to about the 1700’s, the Renaissance, or the “revival” of Greek and Roman ideas, began in Florence, Italy that transformed Europe. How did the views on the world shift from the “rebirth” of the Greco-Roman culture? The Renaissance changed man’s view of the world because of the importance of life on Earth, people were less dependent on theoretical reasoning, and more detailed art.
In the Renaissance, people began to assess the importance of living life on Earth. From the passage Everyman, and a passage from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, we can see that man has become more optimistic about life when Shakespeare’s Hamlet talks about “the beauty of the world”, referring to man. Man’s view on the world was changed because the Renaissance writer, Shakespeare, wrote uplifting thoughts about man to symbolize how our life on Earth should be acknowledged, and that life should not be just waiting to get to a better world in heaven.
As the Renaissance claimed Italy, mankind began to steer its thoughts away from theoretical reasoning. In the note of the Zodiac Man, it says that it reflects the Middle ages belief that each sign had controlled a part of the human body, and the Vesalius body diagram was created by dissecting corpses to get full intent on how the human body is. There was a giant change between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance because in the Middle Ages, theory dominated most reasoning, but in the Renaissance, man began to prove ideas scientifically allowing an increase in the emphasis of proof, lessening reason from superstitions, the Church, and theory.
Throughout the change of the Middle Ages to the Renaissance, artists created more detailed art. From the Madonna, you can see that baby Jesus is sitting on Mother Mary’s lap, while we can see in Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa that a woman is being captured in a canvas like so in a photograph. From seeing the great contrast between these paintings, man’s view was changed because in the Middle Ages, art focused on the concept (vs. detail), and was mostly created for the message of religion, but in the Renaissance painting evolved to open new thoughts of perspective to man that changed the reason for creating art.
The shift between the Middle Ages and the Renaissance transformed how humans looked upon themselves and the world around them. This question is important because we are witness to man’s evolution of sorts, in his quest to place himself in the world, now using art, science, and literature to do so in a different way.
— written by: S.