The Spread of the Renaissance Essay

Published: 2020-04-22 15:06:56
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What do Da Vinci, Petrarch, Alberti, Erasmus and Shakespeare have in common? More than just being from Europe, these great men of arts and literature all flourished during the Medieval Ages. They are all product of the renaissance period and greatly enriched the development of philosophy and humanism during this period right after the Dark Ages. Renaissance, which literally means rebirth in French, was a cultural movement in Europe. This era took place mainly in Italy then later spread throughout Europe from 14th to 17th centuries. Generally, it was characterized by the revival of learning based on classical sources in the fields of philosophy, religion, politics, literature, arts and science.

The primary subject of renaissance was humanism. People believed in the active search for knowledge instead of accepting what already existed (Renaissance, 2007). It was the time when the ancient Greek and Roman literature were rediscovered and relearned. The recovery was headed by Giovanni Boccaccio and Francesco Petrarch. Instead of writing in Latin, which was the lingua franca of the church and the elite during that era, these writers wrote in Italian. This paved the way for other writers succeeding them to follow their beginning. These writers wrote epic poems all in Italian.

In Italy, the spread of public knowledge in religious and secular understanding was due to the establishments of public libraries and translation of classical Latin works into vernaculars. One significant work was that of Niccolo Machiavelli, The Prince, which gave light to a study of modern politics.

The spread of Renaissance in other parts of Europe came in the mid-15th to 16th century. It was exported to France by King Charles the VIII after he invaded Italy. The exportation included Italian artists like Leonardo Da Vinci, Francois Rebelais, Pierre de Ronsard and Michael de Mantaigne. Da Vinci, on one hand, has built for France spectacular palaces. He was renowned for his great works like Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, two artistic renditions that has transpired through ages. He had become one of the famous icons of the Renaissance.

The wave also reached Poland, Hungary, Portugal, Spain and Germany though the centers of this movement came to be France and England. In England, more than simply the expansion of the arts, Renaissance also impacted the religious practices and beliefs. The period is closely related to the Protestant Reformation that divided the powerful Roman Catholic Church.

The reformation led by Martin Luther brought forth the creation of other religious movements ” Calvinism, Presbyterianism, Anabaptism and Anglicanism. On the other hand, writers like William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, John Milton and Edmund Spencer gave life the English literature. Shakespeare has already become the greatest embodiment of classical English literature.

The Renaissance Age truly gave birth to new understanding of previously acclaimed knowledge of the arts. Furthermore, it has paved a way for more knowledge and ideas to flourish. Not only that the Italians are the masters that provided inspiration (Defining the Renaissance, 2007) but it had come to give justice to the arts of other countries. Though it was mainly focused in Europe, the effect, impact and influence of the era has traversed many continents, races and generations. The movements, products, inventions and ideologies that were created during that era are still regarded until this present to be the exemplary and catalyst for the current movements. The Modern era has been greatly influenced by this period of history.


Renaissance. (2007). Research Machines. Retrieved September 17, 2007 from

Defining the Renaissance (2007). Looking at the Renaissance. Retrieved September 17, 2007 from

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