UPSC IAS Mains: World History- Renaissance in Italy

Renaissance is an important topic for UPSC IAS Mains exam in World History. Here we are giving the important details about Renaissance.

  • The term Renaissance means “revival” or “rebirth”.
  • It also denotes to the noteworthy modifications that took place in Europe during the transition period between the medieval and modern.
  • Growth of science, art, architecture, sculpture, painting, literature, geography and religion were seen in this period.
  • Spirit of humanism and individualism has developed.
  • Religious makeover was signified by the Reformation.
  • These changes that took place in Europe were collectively called “Renaissance”.

Renaissance in Europe UPSC

Renaissance in Italy

  • The birthplace of Renaissance is Italy
  • Italy is the cradle of the Latin language and ancient civilization.
  • The city states in Italy like Venice and Florence patronized literature and art.
  • The renaissance movement was ignited in the city of Florence by the publication of ‘Divine Comedy’ by the poet Dante.
  • This movement then spread to elsewhere in Europe and reached its zenith in the 16th century.

Revival of Classical Literature

  • The most significant contribution of the Renaissance was the resurrection and studying of ancient Latin and Greek literature.
  • The pioneering scholar was Petrarch (1304 –1374). He collected and compiled the works of Aristotle and Plato.
  • His student Boccaccio also promoted classical learning.
  • Many Greek scholars who came from Constantinople spread the ancient Greek literature in Florence.
  • Pope Nicholas V founded the Vatican Library in the 15th century.
  • Erasmus edited the New Testament in the Greek language.

Role of the printing press

  • The invention of the printing press by John Gutenberg had influenced the Renaissance literature.
  • The first book published by John Gutenberg was The Bible.
  • William Caxton was the first to set up a printing press in England.
  • Later many printing presses were set up throughout Europe
  • These Printing Presses provided a motivation to the Renaissance movement.

Renaissance Literature

  • Geoffrey Chaucer is known as the father of English literature
  • He wrote the Canterbury Tales in English.
  • Machiavelli wrote History of Florence and The Prince.
  • Cervantes authored the famous Don Quixote.
  • Utopia was written by Sir Thomas Moore in Latin.
  • The Elizabethan era marked the commencement of the English Renaissance.
  • The period also seen the rise of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Edmund Spenser, Sydney and Ben Johnson etc.
  • Montaigne against the authority and the dictatorship of the past and made the title “the first modern man”.
  • Martin Luther translated the Bible in the German language.

Renaissance of Art

  • Paintings and art in the Middle Ages were dominated by Christianity but in  the Renaissance period love of nature and the human body provided muses to this domain.
  • Leonardo da Vinci known as the “Renaissance Man”.
  • His famous works of art were the ‘Last Supper’ and ‘Mona Lisa’.
  • Michelangelo was both a sculptor and painter.
  • Some consider his painting “Last Judgement” as one of the best in the world.

Renaissance of Sculpture

  • Lorenzo Ghiberti (1378-1455) was the most important renaissance sculpture.
  • He created the famous doors at the Baptistery of Florence.
  • Michelangelo made the statue of David in Florence.
  • Donatello molded the statue of St. Mark at Venice and St. George in Florence.

Development of Science

  • Francis Bacon is regarded as the father of modern science.
  • The heliocentric theory was given by Nicolaus Copernicus.
  • Sir Isaac Newton established that the movements of all celestial bodies were controlled by gravitation.
  • Laws of planetary motion were stated by Johannes Kepler.
  • Galileo Galilei invented the telescope brought new evidence to support the Copernican theory.
  • Cordus made ether from alcohol and sulphuric acid.
  • Carbon dioxide was discovered by Helmont.
  • Vesalius wrote a treatise on human anatomy.

Results of the Renaissance

  • The Renaissance was deemed the symbol of the commencement of the modern age.
  • The spirit of inquiry has developed among people.
  • The subsequent scientific inventions created significant changes in the life of humanity.
  • The invention of the Mariner’s Compass led to several Geographical discoveries.

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