The Renaissance and Italy's Decline

1592 Words Jun 19th, 2018 7 Pages
The Renaissance and Italy's Decline

Definition: The period in European civilization immediately following the Middle Ages, conventionally held to have been characterized by a surge of interest in classical learning and values. Set in the city-states of Italy in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, the constant uncertainty, both economic and political, and extreme volatility of the historical situation provided the material for new intellectual, cultural, and social experiments that would at their conclusion provide the means of constructing a new European mono-cultural identity, one focused on humanistic studies, science, and the arts. This historical background is surprisingly volatile; while one might assume that
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In Italy the Renaissance proper was preceded by an important "proto-renaissance" in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, which drew inspiration from Franciscan radicalism. St. Francis had rejected the formal Scholasticism of the prevailing Christian theology and gone out among the poor praising the beauties and spiritual value of nature. His example inspired Italian artists and poets to take pleasure in the world around them. The work of the most famous artist of the proto-renaissance period, Giotto (1266/67 or 1276-1337), reveals a new pictorial style that depends on clear, simple structure and great psychological penetration rather than on the flat, linear decorativeness and hierarchical compositions of his predecessors and contemporaries. The great poet Dante lived at about the same time as Giotto, and his poetry shows a similar concern with inward experience and the subtle shades and variations of human nature. Although his Divine Comedy belongs to the Middle Ages in its plan and ideas, its subjective spirit and power of expression look forward to the Renaissance. Petrarch and Boccaccio also belong to this proto-renaissance period, both through their extensive studies of Latin literature and

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