Definition of Renaissance Humanism
Renaissance Humanism is the spirit of learning and a renewed confidence in the ability of human beings to determine for themselves truth and falsehood. Francesco Petrarch, the father of Italian Humanism, firmly believed that classical writings were not just relevant to his era but saw moral guidance that could reform humanity and had a crucial role in the development of this humanism.
This intellectual movement is characterized by a renewed interest in the ancient world as well as studies that concentrated not on religion but rather on the nature of what it means to be human.
They used classical texts to alter the thinking of the Middle Ages by breaking the medieval mindset and creating something unique. Renaissance humanism started first in Italy and then spread across Western Europe between the 14th and 16th centuries. Some of the main elements of Renaissance Humanism include the preferment for civic and private virtue, supporting non-religious studies, the importance of an individual’s moral autonomy, and belief in the importance of education. Additionally, this movement was characterized by strong confidence in each person’s moral autonomy and a rejection of scholasticism, a prevalent dogmatic philosophy at the time.
Renaissance humanists sought to understand what it is to be human, how to live a righteous life, and how to engage in society. They looked to the literature and art of antiquity for the solutions to these issues. They promoted nonreligious subjects and highlighted the need of education in preparing people to take on civic responsibilities. Renaissance humanists thought that poets, authors, and artists can guide mankind toward a good future. This results from the renaissance humanists’ appreciation of imagination, analytical thought, and observation.
Humanism in the Arts such as Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling.