Italian Renaissance Humanism

Last Updated on 04/03/2023 by Sophia

Explain the ways in which Italian Renaissance humanism transformed ideas about the individual′s role in society.



Italian Renaissance Humanism

In the age of cultural movement known as Renaissance, between 1350-1550, Italy was never considered a cultural or social unit. However, the notion of Italia existed (Peter,5). During then, the geography of Italy influenced the Italians to be more aggressive on commerce and crafts. Italy, which is known to have produced the world’s best craftsmen in history.  Nevertheless, other fields such as poetry, literature such as the poet Jacopo Sannazzaro and Marco Girolamo Vida, wrote on the birth and life of Jesus Christ. Architecture, among others, became the centralized notion that facilitated advancement in society in the fifteenth century.  The fifteenth-century has also termed the age of invention. This paper focuses on the individual whose ideas were transformed as a result of the Italian Renaissance. 

The language was a vehicle for cultural transmission and a reifying characteristic of a people (Allen, 2). During the nineteenth century, several scholars became the heirs of the many-faceted enlightenment. The ideas of the great project of Denis Diderot (1713-84) and Jean le Rond d’Alembert (1717-83) were noted down in encycopledie. According to (Allen), points out that if at all people could have had an equal sensitivity to the association between words and things, there could be a birth of a universal language. However, (Allen 2005) points out that the difference in climate, character, and temperament made it such that the earth is neither equally sensitive nor subject to the same emotions.  

It was through renaissance humanists’ adoption of classicizing Latin Fredrich Schlegel wrote in 1815. This the period when a good number of poets were lost in their language and nation. In Schlegel’s discussion, he omitted the Latinists and only covered the ones who wrote in vernacular. Schlegel highlighted the fourteenth-century of classical antiquity by Petrarch and others. According to (Allen 22), without the ancient Greeks’ zeal to classicizing Latin, modern Italy would not have had the more outstanding works of the old antiquities.  

Paintings and music were more important since the classical models were not available. Even though there was a lack of concrete exemplars, it did not rule out the imitation based on sources. This marked the birth of Venus by Botticelli’s Calumny. The works of Aristotle and Horace were harnessed to provide the essential criteria for excelling in painting, based on the principles that “as is Painting, so is painting” (Burke, 20). On the other hand, music came later in the sixteenth century and was based on passages in Plato or on classical treaties such as Ptolemy’s Harmonika.

During the mid-Sixteenth century, Italy had a renowned artist Giorgio Vasari. Giorgio showed eminent progress with his three-stage theory since the age of the barbarians. In his work of the first frescoes, significant innovations were noticed, which was painted in the modern manner (Lavorati modernamente). Giorgio made several references to what he termed as Byzantine and Gothic art. This symbolized the revival of innovation in Italian history. In the case of architecture, the Italian had a passion for imitating the Greeks and the Romans. They studied the treatise by a Roman writer named Vitruvius, which consequently lead to the measurement of an ancient building to learn the language of architecture.  They were more fascinated in knowing the architectural field’s smaller details, such as the vocabulary, how to combine different elements.

Ambrogio Traversari was only fourteen when he left his village to become a monk after one year. Ambrogio was a descendant of Romagnol noble who was related to the feudal magnets who ha competed for of Ravenna in the nineteenth century. In 1293, S. Maria delgi was founded, which was more of an urban monastery. The foundation also stipulated that the monks should lead an eremitic life. They were never allowed to leave the grounds of monastery unless a grave issue arises. In the second half of the fourteenth century, there was a revival in religious piety in the wake of the terror of the black death (Stinger and Charles, 2).  Traversari maintained cloistered at S. Maria delgi since 1401 until he was elected as General of the Order in 1431. He then later journeyed to Ferrara to urge the Holy Roman Emperor Sigimund to confirm imperial privileges.


Work Cited

Allen, Michael JB. “The Lost Italian Renaissance: Humanists, Historians, and Latin’s Legacy.” Renaissance Quarterly 58.2 (2005): 576-577.

Burke, Peter. The Italian Renaissance: culture and society in Italy. Princeton University Press, 2014.

Stinger, Charles L. Humanism and the Church Fathers: Ambrogio Traversari (1386-1439) and the Revival of Patristic Theology in the Early Italian Renaissance. SUNY Press, 1977.