What was the Renaissance

Renaissance is a French word which means rebirth. Scholars and historians believe that Renaissance was a period of cultural awakening for Europe when they were reawakened to an interest in everything classic, whether in art, architecture, thinking, music. Renaissance marked the beginning of modern history. The period from 14th century to 17th century in Europe is called Renaissance.

This period immediately followed the Middle Ages. Europeans were exposed to different cultures in middle ages due to the crusades, wars. The middle ages, which began with the fall of Roman Empire, saw a decline culturally. Now, Renaissance is seen as a revival of learning which seemed to have reached stagnation in middle ages.  People started exploring classical civilizations like Greece and Rome and that influence can be seen from art, architecture and literature of the renaissance era. It was during Renaissance that people brought back classical literature back to Europe from Arab Scholars.

Renaissance is believed to have started in Florence, Italy in 14th century and later spread to rest of Europe. It was also the period of Black Death or Plague which spread rapidly and half of Europe population died. It was the time when people moved from cities to the countryside. Florence, due to its strong economy, thrived well and because of contributions from painters, writers, philosophers, it became a model city.


Renaissance was the time that Europeans started exploring the world and discovered new continents. Prominent Italian cities like Naples, Venice became the trade centers between Europe and Middle East. It was a time when new developments were made in art, culture, philosophy, literature, religion, music, science and many other fields. In the field of art too, paintings from Renaissance period became realistic. Artists moved away from religious topics and started depicting human emotions through art, something which was unimaginable in pervious eras.

Eminent personalities from this period were Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo among others like Copernicus, Galileo Galilei, Isaac Newton and William Shakespeare. Leonardo Da Vinci was a multi faceted personality and was known as Renaissance man. He is remembered as a painter, inventor, poet, musician, teacher, architect, and scientist.

One of the biggest inventions to take place during the Renaissance period was printing press, which made literature and all kind of information accessible to the masses. Before renaissance, books were hand written and were a privilege of few.  Because of the printing press, books could be afforded by the middle class, which ensured literacy for a common man, which changed the whole course of history of mankind. 

Thus, Renaissance could be seen as bridge between ‘the dark’ middle ages and modern era.


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